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    • Jessica3 months ago

      Reading this has stirred something visceral that I can't quite pinpoint.

      Inheritance is a striking title for this piece.

      “You have been given a gift,” many people have told me, but they do not go on to specify what this gift is. Is it the gift of not knowing my grandmothers? Of losing my aunt? Of possibly passing on a pathogenic genetic variant to my children? Of potentially getting to live a long life while row after row of women in my family tree did not?

      I would like to say we are not defined by our organs, but we kind of are: the organs we have, the organs our parents and grandparents had, the organs we lost.

      We all have circumstances in our lives that we prefer to have never endured, and would never wish upon anyone else... they can be incredibly lonely to navigate. What are intended as words of comfort from others simply reach our ears as empty sounds.

      The irony is not lost on me that, as I am losing my uterus, my fallopian tubes, my ovaries, and (soon) my breasts, my daughter is becoming fertile — which I now see is a type of power. The potential to be a mother, I mean. You don’t actually have to become a mother. It’s just the ability to birth a child, to create a human being inside of you, whether you carry out that act of creation or not. The opposite feels like invisibility, which — I know, I know — would have happened to me eventually.

      I want to go back in time and raise my children again. I promise I would do a better job. I would love them in stereotypical ways and let them lie beside me in bed, and I would stare at them for days and days, watching them grow by millimeters before my eyes. I would be patient and full of love, and I would be on antidepressants from the very beginning so that I could be patient and full of love. If given the choice between writing and my children, I would pick my children. I used to type on the keyboard, working on my unhappy stories, while my daughter slept in my arms. Other mothers had tried to warn me that being a mother to an infant or toddler — that physical, concentrated form of mothering — lasts only a few years, so I should pay attention. I didn’t believe them at first. And then my children were grown.

      My son’s pain from those nights still clings to the ceiling in his room. “No, it doesn’t,” says my therapist, dismissing such a notion as typical mother’s guilt. But it is more than that. It is my wanting desperately to go back in time so I can rebirth my children and hold them and not let anyone else hold them, and have them wrap their arms around me and hold me, hold my body, my previously godlike body that once could call forth life. They would hold me with their kind little arms, and maybe I would stop time for a while, or forever.

      The spirited energy of children is accompanied by the freedom that comes with not yet knowing what else resides in the world. I think of all the space my mother has held for me when I felt overwhelmed as a child, when I was unsure of how to handle difficulty in uncharted territories. I can barely grasp the wide range of emotions she must have felt raising me and seeing me tread all moments of joy, pride, sadness, anger, and overwhelm.

      • Karenz
        Scribe
        3 months ago

        I knew this personal essay would be worth the read because The Sun is such a remarkable publication. I just hadn’t realized HOW an excruciating read it would be. I have to think that women would read this differently because it’s all our female organs that this woman has had removed. All her emotions are so intense on the page. It’s like we’re a Sister or best friend going on the doctor’s appointments with her. Navigating any cancer is bad enough but how merciless when you feel like it’s taking your identity as a woman with it. The only organ I’ve had removed was my gall bladder. This is profound. It’s a level of suffering emotionally that I haven’t imagined till now.

      • Pegeen
        Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
        3 months ago

        Jessica, this is one of the most powerful pieces I have read on Readup. Dear God this was intense! I remember going for biopsies because of unexplained bleeding. The female gynecologist sat across from me behind her big old desk and said it was probably just a broken blood vessel. I asked what if it isn’t? She said then probably uterine cancer. I felt my heart sink and dread spread throughout my entire body. She smiled and said, if you are going to get cancer, uterine is a good one. She said it’s easy to remove my uterus, that rarely the cancer spreads beyond it. I remember leaving her office thinking how on earth can she dismiss my uterus so easily? This is where my children lived for 9 months, their home, their place of safety. I loved my uterus and I knew I would miss it. And now I sit here and read this. How on earth can a woman go through this? Heartbreaking. My uterus is still with me, the doctor isn’t!

        • Jessica3 months ago

          Pegeen, thanks so much for sharing your story. I cannot imagine the dread you must have felt at the gynecologist's that day. It sounds devastating.

          She smiled and said, if you are going to get cancer, uterine is a good one. She said it’s easy to remove my uterus, that rarely the cancer spreads beyond it. I remember leaving her office thinking how on earth can she dismiss my uterus so easily? This is where my children lived for 9 months, their home, their place of safety.

          Those must have been difficult words to hear... the contradicting emotions of relief and grief to know that uterine cancer is controllable by removal, yet knowing that uterus removal would mean losing a home that once belonged to your children.

    • jeff
      ScoutScribe
      3 months ago

      Good lord this was a heavy read. Highly recommended. I feel like people who write about such painful personal experiences are doing an immense service for others who might be going through something similar. Huge respect for that.

    • Pegeen
      Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
      3 months ago

      It’s a 10 - a ten that is so difficult to read - painful in a way that’s hard not to read. This is a practice I’ve developed over the years - to lean in and really feel what someone else’s world is like. This is a world I can’t imagine, yet this author brought it in so close and personal I felt every word. If you need perspective, a good reason to give thanks because you don’t feel like you have a reason for it, this may change your mind.