Like blood for chocolate

Bramhall Square
By CAITLIN SHETTERLY  |  January 31, 2007

If you told me a year ago that I would be back on the birth-control pill, I would have said no way. I even published an article in this newspaper last May about what I felt to be the dangers of the pill. But things happen and suddenly you can be taking something you thought was poison to take care of another problem, which can only be fixed with the poison. The world is a difficult place.

Last fall the doctors found a cyst on one of my ovaries and last week it was diagnosed as something called a “chocolate” or endometrial cyst, meaning it’s filled with old blood. Gack! Who named them “chocolate” cysts, I want to know? Some sadist who figured women like chocolate, so this will make it easier to swallow?

The explanation? I haven’t had babies. Or as one doctor said, “women’s bodies are meant to be nursing and having babies, they aren’t evolved to where we are working longer until we start a family.” I read in books that endometriosis is called the White Career Woman’s Disease. I’m guilty, then, according to this theory, for being both career-driven and white.

The treatments are three-fold. First, the birth control pill, a/k/a a tablet of pregnant-horse urine, to trick my body into thinking it’s pregnant so that the Golem inside me stops growing and maybe even shrinks. Next up, and highly recommended by everyone: get pregnant. My friend Stallion even counted from my wedding date to figure out what sign baby I’d have if I got pregnant immediately. But there’s a hitch: I might have a hard time getting pregnant. I’ve already — according to all the books — waited a little long. In which case they’ll have to go in and take this thing off, or as a particularly sensitive doctor pointed out just after she had thrust her hand up my ass to feel the cyst from that end, “that’s why nature gave us two, so one can go.” I don’t mean to be like a guy here, but what??? Losing one of my ovaries??

I’ve never been baby-crazy, even remotely. Sometimes I wish I were more baby-crazy — that I knew for sure I wanted to have a child. I can barely parent my dog or my inner eight-year-old. My mother tells me she knew she wanted babies so she was more focused on that than anything else. My parents are now divorced. My Aunty M. timed her wedding date around her ovulation. All my friends seem to be having babies — I’ve had to buy three baby gifts just in the last four months. And yet.

Somehow I can’t quite picture it: myself with babies. I seem to be having enough issues already as I meld my life to incorporate a trusting partnership and all the needs such a relationship has, plus taking care of a big energetic dog, a cat, a home and everything that goes into this mini-family, and still have some semblance of a career. Add babies to that? Could I even do it? Would I be any good at it?

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Related: Letters to the Portland Editor, May 12, 2006:, The Pill + Me, What’s wrong with healthcare in Maine?, More more >
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Health and Fitness, Medicine, Sexual and Reproductive Health,  More more >
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