I remember the first time I felt my son move. Despite the morning sickness, despite the stick confirming his presence, the flutters of life inside my womb sent a wave of peace over me that only a mother knows.

These children consumed my body, in every way, and my life. They used me as their vessel, abused me as their womb, and emerged into the world making me whole and leaving their mark inside this weary frame.

I remain in awe at what the female body can do, and what it endures. I still have no idea how I survived two very difficult pregnancies. It was hell, it was pain.

There are no ways to logically explain my femaleness. After two hellish pregnancies my body still aches for more. I long to feel that flutter. My breasts still swell when a baby cries. My maternal amnesia has pushed aside the bad, and wants desperately for that moment when a hand is placed on my swelling belly and I feel as if I have a higher purpose.

I have never felt more important than when pregnant. More useful. More fulfilled.

I’m not a content person. I always want more and I seek out change like it’s the air I breathe. But while pregnant I was calm. My purpose and path were clear and my mind at rest.

I miss that feeling. I ache for it.

And when each child arrived, the sense of accomplishment and love was so all-consuming and fulfilling I knew my place in the world.

In a few weeks, I will surrender any hope of that feeling again. I will relinquish what I feel is the very essence of me. The one thing that has grounded me. The one thing that has made me feel sane in my otherwise insane mind.

I have no choice but to give up what I feel is my womanhood. And become some sort of soulless body who calls herself female but knows the description is only half right.

I won’t speak in recent history, years from now, when my daughter gets her first menstrual cycle. I won’t ever wonder if the tenderness in my bosom could be new life in my womb.

I fear I will wander, I will want, I will search, I will ache. I will lose hope of contentment.

My comfort and key to mental survival lies in the good this body has already done. I have to focus on what my core has accomplished. And it really is my core.

My husband has been a rock since my first hospital stay. Ready to slay dragons at my whim and keeping me mentally strong. My children need me now, more than ever. And living for them is above and beyond living for what could have been. I have the most amazing family and love and light around me that expressing my fear and emotion over this seem like a slight to their being. It’s not.

For every pang of want there is the reality of the love that surrounds me. For every twinge of more there is the gratitude for the health of these two children and my steadfast partner in life, their father. There is also the hope that they understand their mother, and he understands that his wife, has always demanded more from life, too much from life, and this has brought chaos and joy into their worlds.

My babies

I am coming to terms with this infection that has ravaged my insides so that nothing remains. I am readying myself for another surgery where more of me is taken. It’s just…this time the surgeon won’t be taking simple organs and tissue. This time my soul, my heart, my core are being pulled from me. What I believe makes me…me. The woman. The mother.

I know my view on this will change over time. I know my emotions are raw and piercing, which is why I’m writing them down. I will be whole when this is over, and I will find a way to shift my heart and mind to wrap itself around what I thought was true. What I thought made up ‘me’ and what is important in this whole mess of medical drama we’ve been living through.

But in the meantime I will mourn.


  1. Oh, honey. I’m so sorry. I wish this could be different for you.

  2. Oh Erin, I’m so sorry. ­čÖü

    I want to rush and tell you that you’re not losing what makes you a mother – YOU: your heart, your soul, your knowledge, your wisdom, your love makes you a mom – in a small attempt at making you feel “better,” but I have no room to speak as I’ve never gone through anything like this.

    You’re all in my thoughts. <3
    .-= Chibi Jeebs┬┤s last blog ..Meal planning my way for @velabronx =-.

  3. I’m sorry.
    .-= Sherry Carr-Smith┬┤s last blog ..Its Okay if I Crash- I Have More Lives =-.

  4. A good description of what makes us human or at least that human condition. My thoughts and prayers are with you Erin.

  5. I have been through a similar experience the past several months. Infection ravaging my abdomen, taking with it fallopian tubes and appendix; cysts on ovaries; and discovery of malformed uterus. (Two laparotomies, thank you very much.)

    Though it was by choice first and circumstance second, I will never have children. And something inside me hurts terribly. Not all the time, but I find myself wincing at pregnancy announcements. Are women supposed to hurt this bad when their time is over, no matter what the circumstance?
    .-= Rachel┬┤s last blog ..Oh- here I go with politics againÔÇŽ =-.

  6. Hold on tight, Erin. You’re doing what you must to remain the core and the rock and the light in your family’s life.
    .-= Diane Cordell┬┤s last blog ..Social Sig for Me =-.

  7. My thoughts are with you.
    .-= Karianna┬┤s last blog ..Have a Ducky Day =-.

  8. Oh, honey. I’m so sorry you’re having such a hard time with this. I can’t really address the emotional angle of it (I was THRILLED to get my hysterectomy and KNEW I was done having babies), but physically speaking I don’t feel any different without a uterus. Everything uh…still works…if you know what I mean (there are scary stats on that), and I’ve really enjoyed being free of the debilitating pain and bleeding. Hopefully you’re as pleased with your physical recovery as I was and it helps you come to terms with all of this. xox

  9. I know this is so very hard for you, Erin … I feel your pain and I’m so eternally sorry that your heart and your mind are being smashed into this vise grip of change your body is being required to go through. I’m sorry, honey. Very, very sorry. I hurt for you and with you … and I know, despite all that hurt, this hard moment will pass and you WILL in time feel whole again and build content with a new feeling & definition. (and I know you know this, logically, too … it’s just that “the now” rather sucks. *hugs*)

    *sending you oh so much love*
    .-= Sprite┬┤s last blog ..Almost Out of the Woods =-.

  10. Wishing you well and a speedy recovery from surgery.

    Your doctors will be taking your organs, but they would never be able to remove what make you, you. Or that which makes you a mother, a woman. That lies deep inside your heart.

  11. I wish I had some inspiring words for you, but I feel like everything just sounds too trite. I hope you find peace soon. Hold on to your beautiful family and know that they will love you wholeheartedly no matter what.

    You are a strong, beautiful woman, Erin.

    Take care.
    — Sara
    .-= Sara┬┤s last blog ..YouÔÇÖre playing you nowÔÇŽ =-.

  12. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Hopefully, some day down the road, this pain will be a distant memory. Your family rocks. Get well and enjoy.

  13. My mother had to have a hysterectomy at the very tender age of 22 – just six months after I was born. Growing up, I remember the scar on her belly. I remember, too, talking about menstrual cycles and pregnancy and not fully grasping how profound her sense of loss must have been. She died in 1991 but from 1972 until 1991 she was, in every possible sense of the word, a woman. She was a mother in the most profound ways. I respect your grief and mourn for you and the loss of these organs that bring such pain and the greatest of joys, but hopefully, at some point, you will see yourself through your daughter’s eyes especially and know that how wonderfully feminine and womanly you were for her. Sending good thoughts your way…..
    .-= KeertanaA┬┤s last blog ..FO! =-.

  14. I am so sorry, Erin.

    My uterus was taken 5 years ago due to cancer. It was an extremely difficult thing to process, as I so wanted another baby with the love of my life. I cried, I mourned, I gave away baby stuff. It felt like I was losing my womanhood, my purpose. Eventually, you will adapt, but for now, here are love and hugs, use them as you see fit…

  15. I love you so very much, and I admire you more than I think you realize, mostly because I tend to admire you from afar, and silently. You’re a strong woman, inspiring to others, and that has nothing to do with anything that can ever be taken from you. I’m mourning with you, though, because I know it will take time to really feel that.
    .-= Lara┬┤s last blog ..Happy 39th Birthday! Again =-.

  16. While I only know you from your 140 characters or less on twitter, I found myself on your site today for the first time and deeply moved by your sad words. Your vivaciousness, intelligence, soulfulness and heart fly off the page and fill my little office. You’re one of those women who can inspire many. You’ll be alright, I imagine you always are but through your writing I can actually feel your pain so I’m going to light a candle and mourn with you from East Hampton, NY.
    Warmest regards,

  17. I am so very sorry. I have no words other than those five, but they are sent with the deepest sincerity and sorrow for your loss. May you feel peace and love.

  18. *hugs*

    I don’t know what it is like to go through what you are going through, but I remember how I mourned when the decision was made to tie my tubes when my youngest was born. My body was a wreck and will not tolerate another pregnancy. I am still mourning. But it is easier as the years go by.

    I am glad you are able to write about this. So many just don’t understand and think it is no big deal. But it is for some of us.

  19. “My maternal amnesia has pushed aside the bad, and wants desperately for that moment when a hand is placed on my swelling belly and I feel as if I have a higher purpose.” That’s beautiful.

    You are doing a hard thing. And you are and will be most definitely a woman.

    .-= Holly at Tropic of Mom┬┤s last blog ..Caterpillars- metamorphosis- butterflies! =-.

  20. I know this is about you, not me, but this strikes at me in a way that makes me say “ouch.”
    “And become some sort of soulless body who calls herself female but knows the description is only half right.”
    .-= Suebob┬┤s last blog ..Dressing offensively =-.

  21. Yes, you will be whole. This is beautifully honest. And touching. I don’t even really know what to say..

  22. No magic words, but know that I know EXACTLY what you mean about those feelings of worth and being fulfilled and I’m sorry you have to go through this. I would mourn, too. Hugs and easy healing both mentally and physically for your next surgery.
    .-= pgoodness┬┤s last blog ..More random thoughts &amp lessons learned =-.

  23. txvoodoo says:

    Oh sweetie. I wish I could wave a wand and fix it. But know that this does NOT decrease your womanhood – nor, in fact, decrease you at ALL. And that your life and health are worth far more than 1 organ in your body, especially to those who love and care for you.

  24. Erin,
    I’m so sorry to hear how hard this is for you…you body has been through a lot and hopefully this will be the key to its healing. While you may never feel that flutter again – you can still be the mother to your children, their friends and any other kids that cross your path. Good luck with your surgery…
    .-= Nicki┬┤s last blog ..nicki2377- @LynetteChapman Happy Birthday! Better late than never- right LOL =-.

  25. Sue- we have an ongoing joke in our house about the cat. Trust me…this is going somewhere.

    Anyway, when he came home from being ‘fixed’ Aaron referred to him as ‘his little girl.’

    I feel like losing my female parts makes me less female.

  26. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’m sure it isn’t made any easier when you’ve not been feeling 100% physically. I hope the surgery goes well, your recovery is speedy and that your heart heals too!
    .-= Twenty Four At Heart┬┤s last blog ..My Past =-.

  27. I typed something out and it just seemed wrong. So. I’m just going to say that I am thinking about you and hope that things go as well as they can in this situation.
    .-= Heather┬┤s last blog ..What a difference 8 years make =-.

  28. Bethany Primrose says:

    You are in no way, shape or form any less of a woman. At all. You don’t have to have a uterus or ovaries to be a woman.

    My best friend in the world was born ‘Justin’. Over the past ten years, I have watched her transform into ‘Summer’. Summer is the most beautiful woman, inside and out, that I have ever known. Summer never had a uterus and never will, no matter how many hormones she takes or surgeries she has. She has always been my best girlfriend, and it never, ever crosses my mind that when Summer was born, she was a little boy in blue.

    It doesn’t take a uterus to make you a woman… it only takes a woman’s heart to make you one.

  29. kristeneileen says:

    I understand why you feel like this is some kind of robbery of your womanhood, but I want you to know that I believe you will be every bit the amazing woman you are today once this is over – and better, even, since all this will be behind you. You are not your organs (although I am pleased you have replaced them – one SHOULD have stuffed proxy organs!), and the whole of who you are is greater than the sum of your parts. It IS.

    Sending love,

  30. I know from experience about the premature loss of body parts that make us women — I also know you know the truth about what really matters. That doesn’t make it any easier, but hopefully it helps that so many others see you as brave and beautiful—the woman you really are.
    .-= darryle┬┤s last blog ..YouÔÇÖve got a friend =-.

  31. Reading this made my heart ache for you. Echoing what everyone else said.

  32. I’ve been trying to think of what to write here in an attempt to help you feel better but everything I’ve thought of so far is just wrong. Just know that to those who love you, most especially your husband and your children, you are a loving, nurturing, life-giving, amazing woman. Because you are and you always will be, no matter what. It’s in your heart and in your soul. I hope you find peace.
    .-= Lynn @ Walking With Scissors┬┤s last blog ..Freak Magnet =-.

  33. Erin, I’m so sorry.

    I think that we, intentionally or not, are tied to our fertility, for better or for worse. I had a few weepy moments when I realized that I’d never be “cycling” with my girls; that my hysterectomy took place before Sissy even got her first period (which, judging by her hormonal outbursts isn’t that long in my future).

    What is better, however, six weeks out, is that five years of pain and suffering are over. While it was frustrating being a single mom and recovering from surgery, the kids and I are able to do way more now. I take them more places. The other day we went on an adventure that took us on a two-mile round-trip walk while the van was being serviced that we’d never have done before surgery.

    I may not be able to have any more kids, and I may not have any cause to walk down the Tampax aisle at Target anymore, but I feel like a better mom now that I’m not feeling as awful, which helps a ton.

    I wish the same for you. Sto lat.

  34. Erin,
    I am so sorry for this loss. I can’t even begin to imagine the emotions you must be having now and will be after. I hope and pray for comfort during this time for you. I also will pray that your children are at peace with the next hospitalization. That they will know that you will be coming back home. I am so glad that you have such a loving and kind husband to be by your side through these difficult months.
    I’m going to Michigan next month. Anything you want me to get to mail to you? I would be more than happy to do that, well unless it’s a case of Vernor’s =) E-mail me if you want anything, I mean it.
    Big hugs,

  35. Dear Erin,

    You are a true inspiration to us all. Our prayers and thoughts are with you and your family!

  36. Erin,
    This is breathtaking…
    Haunting, beautiful, poignant.
    I wish you lots of luck and love in this journey.

  37. Oh so wonderfully put! All the best to you Q of S, for your surgery and speedy recovery.

  38. I know this is an emotional subject for you and I am reacting to it intellectually, but I can’t stop thinking about it.

    It seems almost like you have an inner fundamentalist preacher telling you – women = wombs = babies. Maybe that feeling is deeper than I give credence to – it’s one of those animal things that can’t easily be shaken or rationalized away.
    .-= Suebob┬┤s last blog ..Dressing offensively =-.

  39. I’m sorry to hear that. But I hope you know that you’ve already got two wonderful kids, who are going to grow up and set the world on fire. And they have you to thank for that.
    .-= Megan┬┤s last blog ..mig14- @mserven The Oilers get heckled by their fans all the time =-.

  40. I am sorry. You are grieving, as you should.
    But believe that what comes after (my kids are 19 and 27) will be no less wonderful. You’ll be no less. It’s all wonderful.

    I promise.


  41. Dearest Erin:

    What moving words from your heart and soul that brought tears to my eyes. I wish you all the best for a speedy recovery for your body and for your heavy heart. Thank you for sharing these very personal insights so we can mourn along with you for things we may have lost along the way.

    As others have said, taking your lady parts do not take the soul of what makes us a woman, but I can relate having gone through menopause early, I understand the anger of not being able to become pregnant if I choose. It is the loss of choice that hurts so much too.

    But, we have the children that we do have and they are our blessings. You have your rock of a husband for support and again, another blessing. Your ability to grow “old” with them depended on this invasion of your body, not fair, but leaving them too soon, even worse.

    I have found it is true that time does heal all wounds and I wish that the love and laughter of your family surrounding you during this hard time, will speed this process and transform this pain into a distant memory of a bad dream.
    With love and great respect,
    .-= Marla Schulman┬┤s last blog ..Giving It Away For Free =-.

  42. I have an impulse to fill the space with something to try and fix this, but I think the mourning deserves its passage, so I sit, aching for you and honoring all that has been and will come.
    .-= amanda┬┤s last blog ..Sinew of Time =-.

  43. As to your husband’s referring to a neutered male cat as a “girl,” and without offense to the Adam’s rib people; let me say politely and without fear of contradiction: being female is much, much more than just male sans “guy” parts.

    Even the cat in question (or any cat) knows better than that!

  44. And we’ll mourn with you – as only a blogging family can. Much love and positive energy your way.
    .-= Lara┬┤s last blog ..sliding- part II =-.

  45. I wish you didn’t have to lose half your organs in one summer. You’ve been through so much this just seems to add insult to injury. I understand your mourning your womb doesn’t take anything away from your love for Hala and Jack.

    I never felt the same way about pregnancy that you describe — your description is beautiful and interesting to me. As someone who has a roving mind and a constant desire for change, I understand where you are coming from. I am constantly refocusing my laser beam drill sergeant of a head to keep it from turning on me and asking me not to eat again. I think you have a lot of higher purposes, and only one of them is as mother. The world needs a lot from you, Erin. You’ll find your new project.
    .-= Rita Arens┬┤s last blog ..I Knew It Had to Come in Handy Sometime =-.

  46. First- am very sorry. When a friend had a hysterectomy she gifted us with her left over sanitary napkins decorated with ribbons. Felt that was the right attitude. Sorry again

  47. Oh honey… just read this now. I’m so sorry. I do get it. It’s weird how we associate ourselves with that small lump of flesh that tortures us from menarche on.

    Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not a hard transition. Imagine what a man would go through if you told him he just needed ‘routine surgery to remove his testicles.’ Then laugh and remember that this, too, is part of being a strong woman – finding your place in the universe when it changes.

    .-= Lucretia Pruitt┬┤s last blog ..YouÔÇÖre Doing It Right ÔÇô vol 2 =-.

  48. Oh Erin, it’s so important to have your health back; I have seen you on Twitter in emergency rooms for the last three or four years, and that can’t be good for anyone in your family, least of all you. A womb does not make a woman. That’s a cliche, and perhaps a bill of goods sold by a largely male aristocracy. Being a woman is an entire constellation of attributes, and you sell yourself short to even suspect you will be less of a woman without your uterus. And if you need support, send that @aaronvest my way and I will re-educate him:-)
    .-= francine hardaway┬┤s last blog ..The End of News =-.

  49. you are surrounded by a community that loves you and is here for you. I am part of that community and please, if you need to vent, I’m always here to listen.

    Sending lots of love.

  50. The measure of a woman is not what is flesh and bone, but what is heart and soul. You Erin have an abundance of both, and on the scale of women who make a difference, you rank very high. The doctors take nothing from your womanhood, they only take away that which would have YOU taken away. I know how hard it is to sit back and long for more, and to know that in many ways, your body has betrayed you. But you are strong and intense, the physical pain will pass, and the years will help dampen the aching. There will be absolutely NO questions left in your mind about womanhood, when you are healthy and watch your children graduate from high school or college, or the first time you hold your future grandchildren. Hang in there Erin – a lot of us are praying for your health and peace of mind <3
    .-= PirateWench┬┤s last blog ..Boehner Boehner Boehner -sigh =-.

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