The Weeping, Wandering Uterus

Holy Hormones Journal:  How would any woman feel if the process of menstruation was described this way -the lining in the uterus “… is cast away, leaving behind a ragged wreck of tissue, torn glands, ruptured vessels, jagged edges of stroma, and masses of blood corpuscles, which it would seem hardly possible to heal satisfactorily without the aid of surgical treatment.”

wandering uterusJust like Holly Grigg-Spall states in her book: Sweetening the Pill – ‘femaleness is considered and mental illness’ andovary character and menstruation a pathological disorder that needs to be treated.  This mental stability was thought to be due to the ‘wandering uterus’.  The pathological disorder is due to a weeping uterus’. No wonder women have hysterectomies. Get the weeping, wandering
thing out – so I can be happy!

I think it is time that women’s endocrine health be re-written to obliterate the myths that have kept us shamed about our bodies…. and to get the uterus smiling again.  Oops that is right – my co-author and I have written this book!  These myths are the reason why.

Yager has done an excellent job in lifting the veil to show how the sacred act of menstruation has been distorted by  myths meant to demean and reduce women’s wombs to baby factories and to make it the responsibility of women to keep the factory running. If the womb was empty it signified a failure of patriotism – and if  an “egg was lost—destroyed, dried up, passed away—so too is the nation.”

 

Weeping of a Disappointed Womb

Modern medical textbooks still describe menstrual bleeding with the language of pathology:
While men “produce” sperm, women “shed” eggs.

Themes in mythology about the female reproductive system

The Atlantic
Sarah Yager
October 2, 2013
In 1968, eight years after the FDA approved the birth control pill and one year after it was legalized for unmarried women, the publishing house of

(Living, Loving, and Marrying, 1968)

(Living, Loving, and Marrying, 1968)

the LDS church released Living, Loving, and Marrying, an instructional handbook for youth of the faith. In a chapter titled “What Every Young Girl Should Know,” Lindsay R. Curtis, M.D., an OB-GYN and Mormon missionary, illustrated an egg’s journey from the ovaries with a series of pen-and-ink cartoons. If the egg is fertilized, one cartoon shows, she will wear lipstick and a veil as she meets her sperm groom in the Fallopian tube.

But no honeymoon in the uterus awaits the unfertilized egg. She will tumble from the body alone, her eyes wide with terror, reaching back with her small egg hands toward the chute that ejected her. A caption explains:
If the egg that is given off by the ovary is not fertilized, it merely passes on through the uterus, out the vagina, and is lost. The outer cells lining the uterus are then discarded for the month along with blood that is released as they tear themselves away from the wall. This is called “menstrual flow.” It is said that menstruation is the “weeping of a disappointed womb,” when pregnancy does not occur.
Curtis, who co-authored the book with a family counselor named Wayne J. Anderson, knew something about wombs. He was the first OB/GYN resident at the University of Utah, and led the women’s surgical section at Walter Reed hospital; he would go on to produce a nationally syndicated medical-advice column, “For Women Only,” and popular titles including Sensible Sex and Pregnant and Lovin’ It. Wombs, he surely knew, have no tear ducts. But while at odds with the latest medical wisdom, the portrayal of menstruation as malfunction was well timed.
Living, Loving, and Marrying arrived in bookstores against the tides of social change. Divorce rates were rising as states started to loosen the legal grounds for dissolution, making way for the next decade’s crop of no-fault laws. Women were gaining access to contraception and opportunities in the workplace. Birth rates were dropping. Curtis and Anderson dedicated their book to those couples who “seriously set about this business of ‘making our marriage work.’” And if marriage was a business, the reproductive system was its factory floor.
PG

Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.