Warning- embedded tweets contain the word c*nt and possibly NSFW content

A year ago this month I sat in a gynaecology office and asked for a hysterectomy. Despite the half a decade of pain, the excruciating periods, that most birth control had only made it worse and that I didn’t want children naturally I was shot down. I was too young at 27 and although I didn’t want children now, I might when I meet the right man. What about his (fictional) feelings? Sound familiar?

After that piece came out a long battle ensued, I was given Zolodex injections to shut off my reproductive system and finally after a long battle with doctors, my body and the menopause I can happily say that as of 18th April

If you follow me on Twitter you will know that hardly a few hours go by without me sharing something. I tweet so much that a couple of weeks ago I woke to panicked messages from my best friends, the reason? I hadn’t tweeted in 17 hours. I’ve also been very open about my whole reproductive system saga online, from failed birth control to medical menopause. So I wanted to be just as overshare-y with this.

Obviously I knew that I wouldn’t be able to tweet during the actual procedure, but I could share all the information I was receiving from doctors and my changing emotions. And knowing my terrible tweeting style, some bad jokes too. And of course it meant I had an excuse to ask for a photo of my uterus. I picked the hashtag #uterexit and was all set.

And so after what felt like an eternity, the day came.

Me and my trusty teddy Humphrey got all settled in

I saw the registrars and found out everything I needed to know

I was told I would have a bit of a wait as it was the biggest op, luckily my Prime Minister provided me with entertainment

Afternoon came and still we waited

Until finally

And then, well I don’t really know what happened next. I was taken down, it all went fuzzy, I dreamed about Subway sandwiches and next thing I knew I was back in a bed.

I was kept in hospital overnight, and honestly this was probably the toughest part, I was on a lot of drugs but when they wore off it was so severe. I was also starving after my operation but for some reason wasn’t catheterised. So I was ramming biscuits in my face then throwing them back up every time I had to stand to go to the bathroom.

Luckily the hashtag came in handy for my terrible late night pain-somnia banter

I decided to carry the live tweeting on into the next few days, to inform friends of recovery and keep myself occupied

Finally I got the best news

The hashtag was a great way of keeping everything together. My friends astonished me with their amazing gifts and typical pettiness

It also became a space for me to discuss the things I never expected and vent.

because I wasn’t allowed to do a lot it was a great outlet for frustrations

Overall live tweeting my hysterectomy was an amazing experience. It gave me a focus during the bad times, an outlet for frustration, a support network and generally just somewhere to overshare and discuss.

My biggest concern beforehand was that I would get abuse and trolls because I was a woman daring to take charge of and talk about her own body. What I didn’t expect was the outpouring of love and solidarity that came instead. Immediately after my operation I had many conversations with people who’d had bad experiences with reproductive health and their feelings were brushed under the carpet because of their age.

By live tweeting something that we’re told to keep quiet about (lest we disgust the menfolk!) I started a conversation and allowed other uterus owners to talk about their concerns and horror stories too. I’ve seen this happen quiet a lot online, I’m always astounded by the positive reaction I receive when I talk about reproductive health. But it’s only because it’s sadly not talked about enough, so I want to give these people permission, tell them I’m here for them and they will get through it.

I hope that by reading my journey people are motivated to get the help they need, to not be trodden down my professionals not believing them and fighting for what they want. Be that a different birth control, sterilisation or like me a hysterectomy.

Oh and that photo of my uterus? Yeah I got it (be warned actual uterus!)

Ask Me About My Uterus

Essays, interviews, and research about reproduction health, menstruation, endometriosis, PCOS, PMDD, menopause, miscarriage, identity, infertility and more.

Rachel Charlton-Dailey

Written by

Angry feminist writer type. Journalism student. One woman pockets revolution. Bi, disabled, nerd.

Ask Me About My Uterus

Essays, interviews, and research about reproduction health, menstruation, endometriosis, PCOS, PMDD, menopause, miscarriage, identity, infertility and more.

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