My six year old told me that her New Years resolution was to try more new things and be braver. I’m taking her lead by diving into vulnerability to share a personal story with you.
For the last half of my 39th year I was living with a massive fibroid pressed up against my uterus, pressing in my kidneys, and wreaking havoc on all my systems. This particular fibroid was thirteen inches and pushed my belly out into a hard, round mound resembling a pregnancy about four months along. Friends began asking me excitedly if I was expecting, leading to many awkward conversations and a general dislike of being out in public.
My doctor suggested that the safest and best course of action would be a hysterectomy. I was about to turn forty and my plan of being forty and fabulous, and embracing my womanhood suddenly became a panic of choices being taken away, my body no longer being mine, and a feeling that a chapter of my life was being sealed too soon.
I have two incredible daughters and my husband and I decided a while ago that we were done with children. I know how lucky we are to have succeeded so easily with childbirth. I had committed my forties to be my decade of ME. Focusing on my physical wellness and building up my coaching business. All these dreams and plans which had seemed so exciting suddenly were overshadowed by the fact that I no longer had choice. I realized that despite all our conversations, the option of more children had always still been on the table and the discussion was always up for reopening.
The fibroid grew and the pregnancy mound suddenly began creating pregnancy side effects. Acid reflux, peeing every 20 minutes, walking like a duck with a bowling ball between its legs. I became emotional, tired, and depressed. I took a pregnancy test even though I knew 100% that I wasn’t pregnant. When it was negative, I cried. I felt that i had lost something fundamental to who I am. Logically, I know better than to equate reproduction with identity. I have far too many extraordinary friends who can’t conceive or choose not to. This feeling was illogical. Erratic.
It was a total and complete pity party and I was in deep.
After going through a whirlwind of emotions and a full cycle of grieving my loss of options, I woke up one morning and made the conscious choice to embrace the new reality of my life. I meditated on the fact that while a chapter may have closed for me physically, so many opportunities are now made possible.
My forties can really be about ME. My children are in school. I don’t have a little one at home. I have time to pursue more clients, take more yoga classes, explore CrossFit. I can read more. And if we want more children in the future, there are options available for that as well.
I’ve spent the first few weeks of 2018 in recovery from my surgery, which went very well. My mom was here, which gave me some special time to connect with her over binging episodes of This is Us, and allowing her to take care of me in a way no one has in decades.
Though my body is tired and recovering, the fibroid symptoms are gone and i feel stronger and healthier than I have in months. My children have learned to be more independent while supporting my recovery. My community of friends have stepped up and supported me in ways that made me feel grateful and overwhelmed by love and sisterhood.
I tell my clients to look for opportunity and the light of possibility in every twist and turn that life throws at them. I have been humbled in my own journey of grief, anxiety and acceptance of my new reality and my new body.
I am thankful that the universe has forced me to slow down and focus on my own needs. I am amazed by my body’s strength and ability to heal. I am curious about what possibilities have now opened up for me. I am grateful for the opportunity to be vulnerable and share my story. It feels like this new chapter of my life has begun with courage and that propels me forward to embrace whatever may come next.