In this paper, we explore how younger women in Norway construct their embodiment and sense of self after hysterectomy. To do this, we conducted in-depth interviews with eight ethnic Norwegian women aged between 25 and 43 who had undergone hysterectomy. In line with a broad phenomenological approach to illness, the study was designed to explore the trajectories of the women’s illness with a specific focus on concrete human experience and identity claims from a subjective point of view. In analysing the stories, we encountered feelings of suffering due to the loss of the uterus as well as profound side-effects, such as menopause. However, we also found evidence of relief from being treated for heavy bleeding and serious illness. In order to accentuate the individual voices in these illness stories, we chose a case-oriented analysis in line with Radley and Chamberlain (2001) and Riessman (2008). From this, two main seemingly contradictory storylines stood out: They have removed what made me a woman versus Without a uterus, I feel more like a woman. We also identified heteronormativity as an unstated issue in both these storylines and in the research data as a whole. Acknowledging diversity in the way women experience hysterectomy is important for a better understanding of the ways in which hysterectomy may affect women as humans as well as for developing more cultural competent healthcare services for this group.
This item's license is: Attribution 4.0 International