Lena Dunham revealed that she recently had a hysterectomy at age 31 in a deeply personal essay for Vogue published on Wednesday.
The “Girls” star has battled with endometriosis for the past decade and the hysterectomy marked her ninth surgery to tackle the condition, which causes tissue that ordinarily grows inside the uterus to grow outside it.
“Because I had to work so hard to have my pain acknowledged, there was no time to feel fear or grief. To say goodbye,” Dunham said. “I made a choice that never was a choice for me, yet mourning feels like a luxury I don’t have. I weep, big stupid sobs, alone in the bathtub or in the area where, in a terribly cliche turn, I have started crafting.”
Growing up, Dunham said she “never had a single doubt about having children” and even pretended to be pregnant when she was younger by stuffing her shirt with laundry. “Girls” wrapped in April with an episode focused entirely on Hannah’s early parenting days after Dunham wore a prosthetic belly for the last season.
However, in August, “the pain [of endometriosis] becomes unbearable. I am delirious with it, and the doctors can’t really explain.
“With pain like this, I will never be able to be anyone’s mother. Even if I could get pregnant, there’s nothing I can offer,” she said.
Having undergone the surgery, Dunham is hopeful about the future. “Soon I’ll start exploring whether my ovaries, which remain someplace inside me in that vast cavern of organs and scar tissue, have eggs,” she said. “Adoption is a thrilling truth I’ll pursue with all my might.
“But I wanted that stomach. I wanted to know what nine months of complete togetherness could feel like. I was meant for the job, but I didn’t pass the interview,” she wrote. “And that’s OK. It really is. I might not believe it now, but I will soon enough. And all that will be left is my story and my scars, which are already faded enough that they’re hard to find,” Dunham concluded.
Read the full essay here.