The Fall-Out After a Hysterectomy {what I want others to know}

One purpose for my blog is to share my experience with other women who are going through a hysterectomy or facing infertility.  I’ve had multiple conversations with women who have undergone a hysterectomy and while some women were like “Good Riddance!”, this is not the case for the majority of ones that I’ve spoken to.  Even though my hysterectomy occurred before I could really conceptualize the impact of it, I still had overwhelming thoughts about what had happened.  Not only was I confused by them, I couldn’t even appreciate or understood why confusion existed.

Although having a hysterectomy may be required at times and has become a bit more simple of a surgery, the emotional experience can be very difficult to navigate.  I want to help others going through a hysterectomy by sharing a few of the thoughts that I have experienced in my life.  (Please note that not everyone may feel this way)

  • “I am not female anymore.”  Believe it or not, this is a thought that can occur once someone has a hysterectomy.  The question of “What am I?” may cross a woman’s mind.
  • “I am no longer attractive to my mate.”  Yep.  Women DO struggle with this after a hysterectomy.  I used to believe that other girls/women put off a sexier or more womanly vibe that I possessed and that guys could tell; like men could tell that I was infertile. Seem crazy to me now, but it was a truth in my life that I had to overcome.  I compensated for it; sometimes, with bad decisions and other times with the “I don’t care about any of it” attitude.
  • “I must have done something wrong.”  Shame. Guilt.  Unworthy.  Although ridiculous in many ways, these words can describe the feelings that come about after undergoing a hysterectomy.  Infertility has a way of shouting this to us as well.
  • “I am broken.”  Despair upon despair.  Damaged goods.  It is hard to put a word that truly gives the meaning of what women go through after a hysterectomy.  Broken seems just about right.

Often, women do not want to talk about their feelings because they are embarrassed to feel the way they do or fear they might be misunderstood.  This seems to be especially true for younger women who are faced with the onslaught of friends complaining about periods and announcing pregnancies.  Infertility is one thing but when you throw in a hysterectomy, the game changes.

For most people, these doubts and feelings will not make sense.  For many others, though, there is great emotional fall-out after a hysterectomy, and, it is one that is surprising in nature.

If you have had a hysterectomy and are struggling, please know that what you are experiencing is normal.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Allow yourself time to grieve, and know that there are others who have had shared your emotions time and again.

Featured Post – Inspire a Fire website!

Recently, I wrote a submission to the Inspire a Fire website editor in hopes of it being accepted for publication.  I want to share my story in many ways in hopes of inspiring people who are struggling with infertility, and also to bring glory to God.  My submission was accepted, and you can read it by going to the website: www.inspireafire.com or by clicking on this link:  My heartbreak, His expression

Thanks to all who read and I hope you feel inspired today!

Blessings!

Caroline

New Year’s Road

Taken with my iphone as I rode my bike in a 150 mile ride.

This past year was one full of discovery for me.  Through blogging, I have been reminded that everyone truly has a story to tell.  We are all story-tellers in our own ways.  Art, in its purest form, also speaks volumes of insight and revelations about the world we are living in.  Some speak through poetic ramblings and short-stories.  For others, the lens of a camera captures images that their eyes first took notice of.  Each photograph tells a story.  Writing really has become my therapeutic release, my story-teller, my window to the world, my humbling remembrance of how blessed I am, and an extension of the yearning to live out my faith in Christ.

I continue to learn that  parenting is an art form.  Like most artists, parents don’t just figure it out with one stroke of a brush.  Mistakes are made, and often, we are our own worst critics,  Parenting is also something that love and passion is poured into.  I have yet to meet an artist who is not passionate about his or her masterpieces.  Children are the masterpiece that we are always working on, and for that, I am grateful for “do-overs”, grace, and the simplistic forgiveness of children.

Throughout this year,I have been made keenly aware of the tightrope we all walk when it comes to protecting children in our own backyards, and around the world.  Not to sound cliché, but they really are our greatest resource for the future.  Through this blog, I have been able to express my deepest desires for my children, and for others as well.  I have also been able to connect to the child I once was.

I began this road of writing because I felt I had a story to tell.  I felt I needed to speak of infertility.  I knew there were others out there suffering from the sadness that comes when the desire for children is not fulfilled.  I also felt that my story of barrenness includes the incredible journey that is adoptive parenting.  I may stray from time to time from the topic of infertility with the posts I write, but it is never too far from my thoughts and my heart.  I am deeply compassionate about others who continue to search for answers, and who live daily with the unfulfilled longing for children.  I hope my words will encourage each of them to believe in joyful beginnings and happy endings.

I am not sure what the Lord has in store for the road I will walk in 2013.  Will I be inspired to venture into other areas of writing?  Will there be heartbreak and heart-joy in this next year?  Will some doors open while others shut?  There is no way to tell what is destined to happen, but my faith in the Script-Writer of our lives is greater than the unknowns of the future.

May this New Year’s Road lead you all to delightful discoveries, faith-building experiences, and life-affirming moments that bless your sojourn in the world.

Food For Thought Award

the-food-for-thought-award

Thank you to Teresa at http://catholibertarian.com for nominating me for the Food For Thought Award a few weeks ago.  I’m sorry that I missed the 8:00 pm deadline for passing it on though…

Here are the seven Scripture verses that seem to speak to me the most:

  1. Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  This verse is one that I believe all Christians should cling on to.  We know our only hope is in the Lord.  We know His will for our lives far outweighs what the world desires for us.
  2. Isaiah 54:10 – Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.  I just love how this verse declares that the Lord will NEVER forsake us.  There is nothing that will take away His love for us.  I also love that it speaks of His love being full of compassion and never-failing.
  3. Romans 5:2-5 – Through him we have also obtained  access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the  glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that  suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character  produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been  poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to  us.  This verse is what I have on my About Me page.  Years ago I may not have rejoiced in my suffering of being barren.  I see now though that the endurance, character, and hope built by suffering are all part of who I am in the Lord.
  4. Psalm 23- The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  I sang this Psalm just a year after my near-death illness when I was eleven.  The words are ones that have been seared into my memory since that time.  I even wrote a post about it – valley of death, Mercy of Life
  5. Psalm 139:13-16 – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  I actually favor the entire Psalm 139!  This part though speaks to me of the incredible and brilliant design that the Lord has for all of us.
  6. Luke 12:7- Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  The very God who created the Universe loves us. Our worth to Him is far greater than we will ever comprehend.  
  7. John 3:16-  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  If one does not believe this verse to be true, then one does not believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

As part of the award, I am to link seven blogs that I enjoy!  Here they are!

  1. Greenlightlady
  2. Wordsmith’s Desk
  3. Infertility Awakening
  4. Simplicity Lane
  5. trbcCoffee Break
  6. Wayne Augden
  7. Unshakable Hope

Here are the instructions if you choose to participate!

  1. Post the award on your blog.
  2. Thank the one who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  3. Share seven of your favorite Bible passages. For extra points (Perhaps our Father in heaven will award them.), explain why each these seven passages is a favorite. Done
  4. Nominate seven other bloggers you admire and enjoy! Why seven? In the Bible, seven symbolizes completeness.
  5. Inform each person that you have nominated them.  Will pass on by tomorrow at 8pm.

Thanks again to Teresa for the nomination!  It is greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to Andrew for writing a post about me, my adoption story, and my blog.  You can check it out here.

While you are at it, take a stroll around his blog!  

Barren to Blessed (meaning behind the name)

The first night I started this blog, I had no idea really what the heck I was doing.  I just felt the urge to write.  It started when I began to journal about my hysterectomy a few years ago.  I guess I held so much in over the past 25+ years that once I started writing, there was not an end in sight.  I do not want to stop.  Writing is therapeutic, and each time I write, I learn from it.  I am pretty sure most bloggers can relate to this.

I know I am not the best writer and often make grammatical mistakes, but writing is not about perfection anyway (at least in my opinion).  Writing, like life, has moments of grit, sorrow, heroism, and laughter.  Writing has given voice to the imperfections of my life and to the yearning to be understood in the world.  Writing releases the words my heart wants to say.

I have to be honest, I really did not spend a lot of time coming up with my blog name.  Growing up knowing I would not be able to have biological children caused me to think of my barren self as being cursed.  I do not mean cursed in the witch-crafty, voodoo kind of way necessarily; although I wondered that from time to time soon after it happened. For whatever reason I felt that I was intentionally blocked from having a “normal” life.  Of course, now that I am an adult, I do not know of anyone who has had a “normal” life.

Adding children to my life has given me a taste of living a life outside of my own.  Parenting children continues to bring meaning and sense to life and the things that have happened.  But, the meaning behind my blog name is more than just about the children.  I walked a long and difficult road to see the Lord for who He is in my life.  I was void (barren) of listening to His will, reading His word, and leaning on His hope.  I did not see a purpose for what happened.  I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel…until I saw the Light that is Him.

The Lord was calling me back to Him long before I even gave a thought about becoming a foster/adoptive parent.  My blog name obviously represents the blessings that come from children.  If my life ended up without children, there would have been sadness of course.  I know that.  However, I also know that life in Christ is a life worth living and for that I am truly blessed.

Thank You

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to Learning My Path Towards God for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  I appreciate it very much!  The blog is an honest and insightful portrayal of one’s walk towards God.  It is a great blog and I highly recommend that you check it out.  Thank you again for acknowledging my blog!

I am going to skip out on nominating blogs (I know…I’m not playing by the rules).  Instead I want to say that it is an encouragement to see so many people sharing their lives through the written word.  I have been amused by the stories of parents trying to navigate the world of toddlers and/or teenagers.  I have been reminded of my own blessed life when reading stories of those who are literally starving.  I have been challenged to do more when reading blogs from missionaries who are across the world or in their own backyards.  My eyes have been delighted by amazing works of photography.  I have shared in the pain when reading how infertility is affecting so many.  I have been presented with issues to ponder and refine in my own walk with the Lord.  I have also been reminded of the greatness of our Heavenly Father.

Thank you to all who write their lives out and share their talents.

May God bless each of you!

Words of My Heart

Wow.  I can’t believe that I started this blog one month ago.  I also can’t believe I waited so long to start blogging.  This month has been a phenomenal time of discovery, writing, thinking, writing, praying, writing, connecting, and of course writing.  Throughout this month I have been able to share a bit of my journey here on Earth, as well as, learn about others.  I sort of think of myself now as part of a community of women and families who have been challenged by infertility and/or ones who are in the process of stepping outside of themselves so that they can be families for foster children.

I have found myself wondering if my experience growing up would have been totally different had I been given the opportunity to share my feelings about infertility with others who could relate.  Just knowing that there were others out there experiencing a small portion of what I was dealing with would have made a huge impact in my life.  Of course, I was a young girl so the level of relatability would have been different from adults going through it.  I don’t know for sure if I would have taken the opportunity due to being an adolescent, but still, I really wished there would have been blogs around, or the Internet for that matter.

I kept my “story” inside my heart and mind for the past 29 years since my hysterectomy.  I really did not speak the words of my heart very often.  Sure, I have shared parts with close friends, family, and my husband.  I have even been asked to give my testimony to various groups, but, writing pieces of it out has brought life to my thoughts kept buried for so many years.  It has also given me a sense of gratitude for where I am now.

I read other women’s blogs about their struggles and what they are currently going through with trying to have a family.  They are discovering the road to becoming parents has taken sharp turns or completely come to a dead end.  I hear their pain in their words.  I feel it in my heart.  I wish I could assure them that some aspects of infertility may affect them for the rest of their lives, but it does not make up their whole lives.

I had to learn growing up that there was more to me than not having children, and there was more to being a woman than having children.  My children do not define me.  Pregnancy would not make me anymore female.  This was a battle I struggled with for so long that my heart aches for women going through it.  Infertility, although it has felt like it at times, is not my whole life.

I won’t lie.  I’m so thankful for my pain of barrenness being something in the past.  I’m incredibly blessed to be at this place of peace and contentment.  Yet, I never want to forget the molding, sharpening, and refining that my experience has done for me.  I remember what it was like to walk around wondering if I would ever feel normal.  There were times I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders or that I had to figure out what I was going to do about what happened to me.  I found though that the more I tried to figure it all out, the worse I felt about my circumstance.

I could not control what happened.  I could not even control what was going to happen in the future.  I could choose to grasp onto the hope that something good was bound to come from all of this.  I also began to realize that I needed to rely more on my faith in a loving Heavenly Father than the persuasions and suggestions of the world.  No one could ever really tell me how to manage it even if they tried.  So, I kept it all in.  I spoke very little of it.

Realizing that I am exactly who God created me to be is the most profound feeling of love and contentment.  I think back when I was a young girl who had been dealt a very difficult hand in life, and am amazed now at the sense of purpose I have found in it.  I am not an expert in the entire experience of infertility, but I am an expert in my own.  All of us going through the heartache of trying to have a family to call our own have varying stories of loss, hope, despair, and joy that intertwine through out our walks.  Even though the set of details might differ, the ability to relate and empathize with others has been wonderful and so needed in my life.  Bless you for the encouraging words several of you have said to me, and especially for taking the time to read the words of my heart.