What's Not There

Three years ago, I gave birth to my twin boys. It should have been a momentous occasion, one that I look back fondly on but it wasn’t. The boys were delivered at 36 weeks, weighed 4lbs each and other than being small, were fine. I don’t remember much about their birth or the first three months of their life. After they were born and I was in the recovery room, my heart stopped. I was hemorrhaging from a tear that was left unfixed after being sewed up. After what my doctor would later call “heroic surgery”,  an emergency hysterectomy and yet another third surgery to stop further bleeding, here I am. A medical miracle. Something to celebrate at least. Now I was lucky and not just to be alive, I was lucky that it was only a partial one. I was left with an ovary and my uterus is only partly gone.  What they don’t tell you after having a hysterectomy is the toll it takes on you and on your family.

I had quite a few  close friends, female friends who came to visit me in the hospital and after that I don’t have anymore. A lot of it has to do with they didn’t know what to say and they couldn’t understand why I was upset or angry. I had my kids, I had my life, what more did I want? What they didn’t understand was I wanted the option. I had no control over that part of my life anymore. I was depressed, angry and taking care of three babies. I never felt more alone and left behind in my life. Everywhere I went I saw pregnant women, happy and beaming like all was right with the world and I’m walking around Walmart with a rain cloud over my head.

In truth, it wasn’t their fault. They didn’t know what to say to me to make it better. They moved on with their lives and had babies and left me out of it, like I was contagious. My misfortune would taint them somehow and they would be in the same boat with me. I was a jinx.  I can’t blame them. I wouldn’t have known what to say to me either. How do you really make someone feel better after all that?

Three years later, I’d like to say everything is great. In some ways it is. I met a man whom I love and loves me despite my enormous scar on my abdomen and despite not being able to have anymore children. They say your scars make you who you are, they change you completely. The day my boys were born, the old me never woke up. For the longest time I was stranger in a body that was only somewhat familiar. Now I feel like the two are starting to meet in the middle. I’ll never be the person I was before, only now, I’m ok with it.


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