CW: this post will discuss surgery, menstrual pain, and dysphoria
On February 6th, I had a total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingectomy. Through three incisions in my belly, my surgeon cut away my uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes, removing them and leaving my ovaries. Surgery was the culmination of nearly a year of heath care decisions and attempts to manage my increasingly painful, long, and frequent periods, after deciding two decades of irregular periods was more than enough.
In the lead-up to surgery, I prepared myself as best I could, which included making sure I had plenty of comfy, warm clothes for weeks of limited mobility and abdominal pain. My doctor suggested a full six week recovery period, and it took that long for me to feel ready (mentally and physically) to work, though I was out and about and fulfilling some of my duties within my department after about two weeks. While I made sure to have at least one big, loose flannel nightgown on hand, I also wanted to make myself something that would allow me to be a little dramatic.
I had in mind all the drama of a period film heroine, recovering from a chill or broken heart. Think Marianne Dashwood wrapped up in shawls, tended to by Colonel Brandon, or Jane Bennett caught in a rain shower on her way to Netherfield. Except, you know, way gayer.
I very roughly used this tutorial based on a 17th-century shift. I made it up using white cotton voile from Fabric Wholesale Direct, which was lovely and fine, though not quite as soft at first as ideal. It makes a decent budget alternative to more-expensive batiste or handkerchief cotton or linen, though! For maximum drama, I made the front and back sections the full 60″ width and the sleeves half of the width. After hemming around the neckline, I gathered the full opening with two gathering stitches, adjusting until it draped ever-so-artfully over my shoulders.
For a finishing touch, I embellished over the gathers at the neck and wrists with some woven cotton ribbon from Ingebretson’s, an adorable Nordic craft and food shop a few blocks from me. They don’t have the one I used online, but has some equally lovely options!
Four months out, I’m still on the mend. I have some remaining numbness and pain in my lower abdomen, and still have PMS and ovulation symptoms, though nothing like what I did have. But it was absolutely the best choice for me, and recovery was made nicer with a lovely gown to swan about in.