Ricki Lake, women’s health advocate and filmmaker, pens a letter to her ovaries.
When I first learned about you, dear ovaries, I was really young. I guess I was 7 or 8 when I discovered the “Where Did I Come From?” book, by Peter Mayle and Arthur Robins. It soon became one of my favorite books. The illustrations were so fun! I just loved that book. I was so fascinated by how our bodies work.
I got my period kinda late, didn’t I? I was 14. It was weird for me, because my younger sister had gotten her period when she 9, so she’d had it for years before mine even started. But since then I have felt so thankful to you, and so lucky, that I haven’t ever suffered with any major period problems. You’ve always kept my period so regular, pain-free, and easy for me.
I just turned 47 and my periods still arrive right on time every month. It’s amazing how you work like clockwork! I even feel like, if I wanted a baby now, I could sooo do a Halle Berry and just have one! Since I started cycle tracking with an app, I’ve marveled over how well my body works for me. Thank you for giving me a period that’s always just 3 to 4 days long and totally manageable.
I know that a lot of my friends are going through perimenopause now and their periods have almost stopped. One of my friends didn’t get her period for like four months…I can’t say I’m looking forward to that day, the day my cycle stops, although I guess you ovaries might like the break! Thanks to you I have never seen my period as a pain in the ass. Every time I’m like, wow! I’m a woman! It’s amazing to me that my body is still so youthful. I still feel really fertile.
My period, my dear ovaries, you are a blessing to me. I know so many friends of mine struggle with infertility or PCOS or migraines. I hope to have my period, to know you’re still working with me, for as long as I can.
I used to be able to feel when you were ovulating! It was like a little cramp or a tingle. It was very subtle, but I still knew when you were doing your thing. These days I just notice ovulation makes me feel more horny! I know what you’re up to with that! 😉
Thank you for putting up with the years of me going on and off the birth control pill. I switched brands so many times, I can’t even remember, and still you managed to stay strong. You always bounced back! I got pregnant with my boys both times exactly when I wanted to, with zero complications. I’ve never had a miscarriage. I’m very grateful to my ovaries, my body, for that.
I tried the Diva Cup last month, for now I just can’t get down with it, though. I guess I had trouble with tampons for a few years at first too. I’m learning. I’m learning so much these days. I used to think you could get pregnant for way longer in a cycle than you actually can. I had no idea the damage that could be done with hormonal contraceptives.
“The Business of Being Born” was a movie I wish I had been able to see when I was starting my family. With “Sweetening the Pill,” I wish I had access to this kind of information when I got my first period. I hope this project will help women learn more about their options. I’m looking to explore options, expand education and choice. It’s a privilege to do these kind of projects. Sure, they’re provocative and controversial, but I know my intention is to educate and empower, for women to be able to make the right choice for themselves, without judgement. Doing it for ovaries everywhere!
Giving birth at home, that experience, helped me to trust my body. I had so many head-trip issues, with being sexually abused as a child, with being obese and overweight for much of my life, with basically hating my body. My birth experience was like this rite of passage that healed me in so many ways. I was able to see my body as this miracle that could grow and nourish a baby and birth this perfect little being. That experience, being so connected to that process, well, life-changing is not strong enough a description. It transformed me, my career, it became my life’s work. And of course, for all that, originally, I have you, my ovaries, to thank!
Today, I can’t say that I am fully, completely there with embracing and loving my body for the way that it is. But, the older I get, the more I focus on being strong and feeling pain free, rather than looking a certain way or hitting a certain number on the scale. I see other people struggling with health issues and I am very grateful my body is as youthful as it is. Even though, yes, I am 20 to 25 pounds overweight, I get to do everything I want to do. I am a vital, sexual, happy being. I am full of gratitude to my body for that.
This article was originally published on The Daysy Planet.
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