My grandmother tells me that when you’re pregnant, your children, and the eggs of your grandchildren are grown within you. The future of the future. When I’m pregnant, I’m pretty sure I won’t want to think about eggs. But if I do, I’ll ask the great-great grandmother of those eggs within me, my grandmother, how she did it. How did she keep her uterus healthy long enough to make eggs from eggs?
The uterus’ in my family are weird things. They’re angry, and stubborn, and they are really terrible at the whole I’m-an-ecosystem-waiting-to-be-implanted-in thing. Personally, I think it’s because they just try too hard. Usually, for the women in my family, they do just fine until we turn about 14 and then for some reason (maybe they’re bored) they start to “share.” The little things always grew quite a lining, but after a few years they seem to decide that other organs need linings too, why not? “How would that not improve things?” They think. So bowels get linings and abdominal walls get linings and hey, why not the outside of the uterus? They’re like overzealous redecorators. They have 70s shag, and it starts on the floor and goes up the walls, the outside of the house, and then across the lawn to the neighbors.
Now, no one minds a little shag carpeting as a fad, or just to bring back some memories (who are we kidding-it’s terrible: collects dust, holds in dirt, and wears easily) but NO ONE deserves an abdomen full of the 70s. That hurts. That hurts a whole fucking lot. This carpeting fiasco also seems to anger other body parts. Bowels, for example, decide that if the uterus is doing it’s job too well, they might as well work less, why not? Slackers. Ovaries, as you know, can get jealous, so for my grandmother and I, they decide to hurt when they ovulate, and if that doesn’t cause enough of a ruckus, they have even on occasion decided to explode an egg or two, which I can say from personal experience, is great fun (if you like emergency rooms and pointing to the far end of the pain scale). Now fallopian tubes, they’re the nervous ones. Their job is to gather the eggs from the ovaries and bring them to the uterus, and it’s difficult for them, stuck here in the middle of this fight. They have one job, transport, and they want to do it well. So, they confer, and after great debate decide to draw straws, and then the one with the short straw fills itself with fluid. Just in protest. This makes for a great visual (on the ultrasounds undoubtably needed) but does not make for effective transportation. The muscles, though, they’re major assholes (though they wouldn’t admit it). They’re a lot of them, and for my family, they’re tight. They’re tight and they’re short, and they really like stretching. (As in, if you don’t stretch them every day, they won’t do shit, like literally they will have trouble stretching enough to shit.) Some of them are small, and some of them are large, and some of them hide in places that are extremely hard to stretch. Did I mention the uterus is a muscle? And oh does it like to stretch (with babies).
All these parts, they’re vying for attention. Like roosters in the morning. Like children all the time. Like an overfull pot of boiling water on the stove, (because you forgot the noodles take up space too). Some of the parts are screaming, because other parts are screaming, and some are screaming because they’re scared. One though, screams because it wants something, it wants to share everything about it, with everyone else, before it runs out of time, because it will. For the women in my family, a uterus thinks it has one job, to hold the eggs made from eggs. And every time it fails, it energetically rips up the carpet and starts again. Generously, it shares everything it’s been making, but shag carpet, stains.
As far as problems go, this one isn’t solution free. Some can get used to bad carpet, others redecorate, and if all else fails, a select, yet arguably wise few, put the whole house in the dumpster. My cousins tread steadily on, with uterus’ held in tightly, secreted away, their uterus’ sometimes happy, often prone to temper, but generally ignored. My mother’s uterus gave up fighting her because that’s the kind of person my mom is, and after 20 years, and two successful humans made, her uterus, felt better, and calmed the fuck down. My grandmother, she has no uterus. And as for me, I agree with my grandmother. I don’t want mine, either. It doesn’t feel like it belongs, and it never asked to be there. But it is. Why does it have to keep failing, even when I don’t need it to do it’s job at all? It’s not going to be successful until I want it to be, but it’s persistent, resilient, and stubborn.
My uterus, it picks fights. It makes my body angry. It hurts. Maybe it’s because my eggs were made in an angry uterus inside an angry uterus. Maybe also, it’s trying to speak up for itself. Maybe it, like me, wants to be able to do more than create humans and cause pain. Maybe it wants to contract, not get rid of something it’s made, but to feel good, to feel alive. Maybe it just gets confused about what it means to feel pain and what it means to feel pleasure. Maybe it just wants to make a home that’s a little bit better so that the eggs it grows, and the eggs grown inside those grown eggs, will be better. You see, for the women in my family, the uterus is it’s own advocate, but it doesn’t advocate because it wants to make our lives better. It advocates for itself, because it knows that it’s job is important, so important that it says “HI!” Every damn day, with emphasis, to everyone around it. It is strong, and resilient, and persistent, and stubborn, because the women in my family, that’s what we are. We want more, we want to do our jobs well, so well that others will want to share in our lives, in everything we have to offer. Occasionally though, we need reminders, that we’re not just here for the pain. We’re here for the pleasure. We’re here to begin again, because through over 400 cycles of failures, the one right one, it’s worth it. The right one, will hold the future of the future, which is who I was, inside my grandmother’s uterus, and what I hope I will someday hold within me.
Megan Amling is a World Literatures student at The Ohio State University, where her current area of research is brain injury in young adult literature. Most of her days are spent with her 94-year-old roommate and a book. When she isn’t reminiscing and reading, she enjoys jazz, cupcakes, geraniums, and writing creative stories about family, sex, and healthcare, although not always in that order.