Two weeks ago, I had my uterus ripped out of me. Ok, it wasn't ripped out. It was surgically removed by a talented surgeon with the greatest of care and precision. But it was the day after the last presidential debate and Donald Trump's colorful partial-birth abortion description was fresh in my mind. (Partial-birth abortion isn't an actual thing, just so you know). My therapist and hysterectomy blogs (which actually are a thing) say I'm suppose to feel some kind of something about this transition from fertile, child-bearing woman to barren, dried-up woman but I don't. All I feel is relief. Thank god that cranky bitch of uterus is out of me.
I estimate, by building a somewhat detailed spreadsheet, that I've had 435 menstrual cycles since I first got my period at 14. (A coming of age horror story about getting my period while remote camping in Colorado without access to water or a CVS.) Using that same spreadsheet, I calculated that I've been bleeding out of my "wherever," to quote Trump, 2,612 of my 16,060 days on this earth. Roughly 16% of my life I've been bleeding, cramping, bloated and a little emotionally unstable.
Menstruation can be added to the long list of things that hold women back. If medicine didn't suffer from structural sexism, better solutions for managing its negative side effects may have been developed by now. But it's hard not to marvel at all women do feeling mild to moderately shitty 16% of their days and to wonder about the possibilities if they didn't.