Avoiding the Void by Venessa Bowers

On December 14, 2012 – at the same time the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut occurred, I was in surgery. In September, my doctor told me that it was critical that I have a radical hysterectomy and that it needed to happen as soon as possible. Like most women, my hustle would not allow it to happen as fast as my doctor wanted it to happen so I simply had to “pencil him in” and think about it.


It took me a while to fully understand that I was consciously and unconsciously avoiding this procedure. Not because it would hurt or because I was afraid, but because of the void that would be left in place of my malfunctioning uterus. It was a void I did not want to have in my life. Forget that for more than a year I suffered unrelenting physical pain. Forget that that I had to have a surgery in August to try to alleviate said pain. Forget that my hormones were raging off the chart and in turns I would scream like my hair was on fire and then cry about the fact that there was only one bag of potato chips at the store – I do not eat potato chips, so who the hell cares? Rationally, none of this makes any sense. But it did to me because of the void.


The word void is equivalent to words like barren, empty, meaningless, purposeless, blankness worthlessness. And for a woman who does not have children – magnify those words by 1000. Women are supposed to have kids. Isn’t that why we are on the planet? Well, deciding to not have children in order to focus on my career was one thing – it was all “kiss-my-ass-feminist” and it was cool. Not having a child because my body did not work was about a failure. It was about me failing as a woman. I would never be a mother.


The first time I said those words it hit me full in the face – the grief dropped me to my knees. I screamed and cried and tried to remember why my career had been so much more important than a family. And then I remembered – it was not more important than a family. I work with children all day every day. They have become a part of my family because of the intimacy we share in their healing process. If I had children of my own, someone would suffer – my kids at work or my kids at home. I could not do the work I do with traumatized kids and come home to my own and try to be “normal” – whatever the hell that is. I could not explain to my own child why I work 18 hour days. I could not explain why my child would feel like those other kids and their problems were more important. As I did this processing I realized that there is no void – there is a space in my physical body and now there is a space in my spiritual body too. The space is filling with the lives of children who need me.


I am no longer in pain. I am no longer feeling incredibly crazy with rapidly changing hormones.

There is a purpose to my life. There are children in my life. There is love in my life. Saying goodbye to my uterus and all of its sickness is like saying goodbye to the part of me that has on some level always hated who I was. (Don’t judge that statement, we all know women fight with themselves about what they hate about themselves). When it was gone, the pressure of society to be the “good working woman/mother” was gone – it did not matter anymore because it was not possible. It was freedom.


Today, I am working on filling the space with peace and joy. With love of myself. With acceptance of who I am and what I can contribute to this planet. And the best part? No more tampons!


Bright Blessings




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