Restart in the fall

“Autumn is performing a revue outside the hospital window. Sunshine against a park bench. Small breezes in the trees. Thick scarves. Autumn leaves that float softly through the air. I want to be out there. Be my usual me. It’s been a week since the surgery. Nothing as a whole, but an eon of time right now. As if autumn is passing me by. I’m stuck in here. Will it take another week? Two? Nobody knows.

I’m shaking constantly. The whole body is rebelling against medicines and the invasion of it. Have no energy left. Were we wrong? Was all this just a stupid idea? It’s hard to get distance from everything when you’re in the middle of it. The days before. Now that it is done. What to expect in the future. “It’s important that you focus on something else,” the doctors say. Don’t shut myself in. 

The autumn tree outside the window becomes my focal point. I see it age day by day. Pretend to feel the crisp autumn air in my lungs. Listen to Anders’s words in my heart. That we made the right decision. That we would have regretted if we had not done the surgery. I trust in those words. They calm me. He just repeats what I have said.

If the tree out there can let go of all its leaves, so can I. Let go of the control. Stand bare and skinless for the coming winter. Await my time. It’s all gonna be just fine. This is just a short moment in eons of time.”


Autumn has always been my favourite season. A rebirth. As if after a long warm summer I can finally breathe and look up and ahead. A time of clear perspectives and a new drive. But also serenity and thoughtfulness. A much needed break from everything that is shorthold and stressful, to embrace the familiar. Unwind. Peel off. Prepare for the oncoming.

The fall of 2012 was the start to a one big preparation. Up until September 15, most of everything had revolved around the operation. The four meter high wall in a long obstacle course. From there, there were tiny little ditches to cross. Slow de-escalations of medicines. Clear goals for when some of them would be completely excluded. Uterine and blood flow checks that went from weekly to monthly…

Coming home to a warm and embedded apartment was a nice step into the familiar. Something firm and reliable in the overthrow. (Putting on your shoes when going home felt literally like being on land again after a long time at sea.) Walk barefoot on a creaky wooden floor. Light lots of scented candles. Take a long hot shower. All over sudden, all the anxiety disappeared. And the sharp scent of antiseptic. Shaving your legs has never felt so liberating. It is hard to feel like a vibrant woman wearing only a shabby hospital gown and knee-long compression stocking with shaggy legs underneath.

I had a big need to cook in the beginning (not so fond of it usually). A tremendous craving for familiar flavours. Longed for rich stews and creamy pasta sauces. The shaking of the legs made it difficult to remain still. So I kept me busy tidying out and cleaning every inch of the home. (As good as possible with bent back and sore stomach.) Tried to get in place. The psychologist of the team once said that I “restored the fluff in the brain”. Soon enough, the shaking faded. To return again when I got pregnant. The shaking in my legs has become a significant expression of when my body is extremely stressed.

The soul played several tricks on me, autumn 2012. As if I was in the middle of some kind of catharsis. For instance, I had difficulty being outdoors and among large crowds. Looked over my shoulder once and twice before crossing the street, well aware of all the dangers. Physically and mentally I carried a precious cargo. I who normally get caught up in every hospital series, had to turn off every time there was a surgical procedure on the TV. When the movie Avatar went one night, I couldn’t watch it. Panicked a little because the main character was strapped into an incubator-like box. (Also, that he was chairbound was too synonymous with my own unreliable legs.) Strange it was. 

Slowly along the autumn, however, I returned to normal. On the other side of the cleansing. Like the season, my soul changed one tiny shade at a time. Prepared itself. Colors got a wider spectrum. Smells and flavours got an additional ingredient. Reassurance.

This autumn I’m going through something similar. A heavy blanket of weariness, compounded by feelings such as inadequacy and frustration (becoming a parent has been the toughest challenge of my life – for several reasons) has been lifted and the struggle to get to know your child and your new self have matured into a confidence and optimism. It’ll be fine. We are a family now. We find our own way.

(Speaking of reboot, I’m looking for new exciting freelance assignments. Feel free to tip me if you know anyone who needs a Swedish writer or virtual assistant ;))

If someone had told my younger self that it would be long before I became a mother and that the road to it would be a long tangled trail, I probably would have been very unhappy. Now I wouldn’t want it any other way. Today, in addition to a time of recovery, autumn is also a stamp of everything wonderful that has happened to me and our family. In the autumn, we think about the day my husband and I once became a couple, and the day we got married. In the autumn, we notice the day my mother and I were operated on and remember the disappointed embryo transfer the year after. In the autumn we celebrate our son’s birthday.

And that I became a mother (almost) in the autumn of age has become a sign of how much I love autumn.

“Mom, why do the trees lose their leaves?”
“They are preparing for what’s coming”

Things that bloom again. Another thing I’ve come to appreciate as I’ve gotten older.

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Mother of Life

2013. In the starting of the new womb life

”Sometimes I think I can feel it. Not so much physical. More spiritual. In the sense that I feel it lives inside me. Like talking to me. It immediately told me that something was wrong when I got sick after the surgery. I hardly got used to being at home before I was back in the hospital. Now it’s different. Now it says “I am fine in here. I’m ready for my purpose. We can do wonders, you and I.”

Mom calls it our uterus. The organ that once was hers and who shaped me and my two younger sisters. My first home. Now it’s my uterus. I didn’t know it then, in the early 2013, but the same uterus would also give life to my two children. Having been useless for a woman for over 20 years, it could be given to another woman – her daughter – and be reused to create a fourth and fifth child. One womb – three generations.

On the outside, there is not so much difference. Apart from a scar on the stomach, I look and behave as I did before the transplant. On the inside it is a profound difference. I’ve got my fertility back, the one who was brutally taken away from me 10 years ago. I’m like other women – again. With the same opportunity and chance of having children. A family of my own. I want to shout it out loud from the roof top. But I keep it quiet to myself. As a secret. Just me and my womb who know. We have our own language. Our own alliance.

I have tried to imagine what she looks like. The uterus. Mother of life. The anatomical images do not really make her justice. For me, she is more of a big warm heart that gives the rest of the body a spiritual peace and harmony. Places that were hibernated, thoughts and feelings that were buried – everything is brought back to life again. By this heart. Symbolically, our son was born with a heart in his forehead. A stork bite that fades over time but which will always have a great significance for us.

(In swedish, the word for ”uterus” is ”livmoder”. Directly translated it means ”lifemother”. Many years ago, before transplantation became real, I wrote an article about my story. The editor of the magazine gave it the title Mother of Life. I liked that expression. Carried it with me and wrote it several years later in my diary.)

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