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our own authority

A while ago, I saw something that bothered me. It was a billboard for a local hospital. It read—“two weeks after a hysterectomy” with the hospital’s name—it was advertising some new surgery technique. The problem I had with this was the image. The woman in the advertisement was carrying an older child on her back, who weighed approximately 40-50 pounds in my estimation.

Now I have had several major surgeries, not a hysterectomy, but surgery none-the-less. And I have known many women who have had a hysterectomy and I know they were not ready to vacuum, let alone carry a 40-pound anything on their back within two weeks time. I also don’t know of any doctors who recommend carrying much for a lot longer than two weeks.

The point I am getting to is this…why are we promoting as a society an expectation of all women who have a hysterectomy that they will be up and about, swinging a small child around on their back? One thing that takes away my harmony is when I feel like I am being told that I need to live up to some expectation that isn’t realistic for me, my body, my family, my whatever.

This was a personal lesson I learned—to take responsibility for what I am feeling and take care of myself, not letting anyone or anything be my own authority. I know my body best and I can say that walking a mile to the post office after a laparoscopy and major abominable repair wasn’t in my best interest, but I was told “you should be able to do it”. I did it because I believed their judgment over mine. I ended up extending my recovery by several days because I didn’t follow what my own body was telling me—“lay down on the couch, take it easy, sleep, rest, relax, take time off, take care of me”. The messages are there for all of us, and hopefully we learn to listen to them.

What is your body telling you? Are you chronically sick in your current relationship? Are you pushing yourself because something is ‘telling’ you to? Are you listening to someone’s assessment instead of your own body?

My experience happened almost 20 years ago. I can say if I were told something like that now, I would be my own authority. I would first listen to my body, then I would check in with the rest of me and stay home on the couch. The mail can wait.