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I'm sorry... my babies

by occymay

This is a monologue about a young woman who made the decision to remove her womb after being diagnosed with cervical cancer, 6 years prior. She is sat in her home she shares with her boyfriend, holding a mug of coffee while she stares absentmindedly into the distance (The audience).

I remember the moment the doctor told me I had cervical cancer; my first thought was I’m going to die. Then they told me it hadn’t spread too much, they told me I could have my womb removed, among other options. It was the best option for my condition so I immediately said yes. I didn’t want to die. It was human survival instincts kicking in I told myself. I told myself this over and over as the Doctor outlined the risks and merits, the before and after. Running up to the surgery I didn’t let myself think about what I was doing, about what I would lose. It was a kind of self-denial that was what the therapist told. 2 weeks later and my womb was gone. When I woke and the drugs finally wore off I noticed the feeling that something was missing. I was 21 at the time, had my whole life ahead of me, but had never thought about the long term. Never seeing past tomorrow.

Now, aged 26, I regret my decision. There had been other options. They would have been more difficult, less chance of success but I would still have a womb. Still have the ability to have a child. The ability to create such a precious being that they became your world. I had seen it, seen my friends create families of their own. They loved their children with such burning passion that it made my heart arch that I would never feel the same. I think about what they would look like, how many I would have, if they were a boy or a girl. Single, twin, triplet! They would be beautiful, two girls, one boy. The boy would have my blue eyes but his father black hair and he would be sporty. The girls would be twins, identical, with ginger hair and freckles and delightful blue eyes. (She smiles, though it slowly fades) The thought makes me happy for a moment until I realised… I killed them. I wiped them from existence I moment I decided to remove my womb. I killed my babies, killed them! (She sobs, quiet muttering to her non-existent children) I’m sorry, so sorry.

My therapist tells me I need to move on, come to term with my lost otherwise I won’t get better. My therapist tells me this every time but I just… I can’t. 

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95 Reviews

Points: 31
Reviews: 95

Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:41 pm
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BeTheChange wrote a review...

This has some grammatical errors (run ons, one or two tense-switches, etc.), but overall, it made me feel all the feels! It's very realistic, showing both the good and bad sides of the woman's decision. I think the stage directions should be in italics.

Four out of five stars. A heartbreaking read that would be even better if edited. :)

occymay says...

Thank you! I'll have a re-read of it.

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1125 Reviews

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Reviews: 1125

Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:53 pm
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StellaThomas wrote a review...

Hey occymay, Stella here!

So this is the first time I think I've read a monologue on YWS. I think they're an amazing medium. I still remember clearly the first time I heard the dancing monologue in Dancing at Lughnasa during a school production, and how powerful it was even when just performed by a seventeen year old. So, I've read through this imagining a woman on stage, the way she might move around and move her hands and say words and phrases. I would suggest that to that effect, you could consider adding in stage direction as well, especially to help us understand how you want it to come across.

Now, the main reason why I decided to review this piece is, regrettably, because of my medical background (I'm a newly qualified doctor :)). I'm by no means a gynaecologist, but I do remember a thing or two about cervical cancer and what we've learnt about it. The fact that she's 21 is surprising to me, as it normally happens later in life, but I'd like to know how they picked up on it - was she having bleeding? Weight loss? Or had she just gone for her smears and they'd discovered a malignancy? It would help add to the beginning of the story for me, and the impact - was this a diagnosis she thought could be possible and was fearful of, or did she take a routine trip to the doctor and get called a couple of days later asking her to come back in to receive the bad news?

Next, and most importantly to me, is the question of her treatment options. Now if it's advanced cervical cancer, they will do a hysterectomy. Advanced cervical cancer is notoriously dangerous so they might also give her radiotherapy or chemotherapy before or after the surgery. But then you have the question of: do they leave her ovaries behind? Geographically, ovaries are kind of far away from the cervix, so if it hasn't metastasised/spread beyond the cervix, they might leave them. This is because you don't want a 21 year old to go into menopause. But not every cervical cancer is advanced - in fact, thanks to screening, most is early stage (in fact most gets taken away before it even becomes cancer), in which case they can do a cone biopsy. This just involves taking away the bottom of the cervix, and leaving the womb intact. So the fact that she'd have a hysterectomy at all is surprising to me -- and if she has one, I want to know, and I think it would enrich the story, about her ovaries.

Which brings me to my next point - fertility options. These days, the majority of women in this kind of horrible situation will be given the choice to freeze their eggs. She's 21, she might not want kids then but - and gynaecologists are absolutely aware of this - she might change her mind, as happens in the monologue. And egg freezing is offered to the majority of women undergoing cancer treatment at that age.

Basically, I just felt that the piece lacked that depth that full research will give it, and I'd love to see a more developed version with all these more complicated choices which are what happen in the real world included in her thought process.

The last thing I'd say is regarding your last line - I felt like it was weak. I don't know if this is part of a larger piece, but you want your last line to be memorable, and to evoke the whole piece. I just didn't feel that from this, I felt you were just trying to close the monologue as quickly as possible - which is a purpose that it serves, but I think you can do better.

Hope I helped, drop me a note if you need anything!

-Stella x

occymay says...

Thank you for your advice. I did do a little research and saw that with advanced cervical cancer they normally take out the ovaries as well and I didn't realize freezing the eggs was a thing. If I was to set this during a time when medicine wasn't as advanced, would that be all right? It's just that I like the way this monologue goes and if I do what you suggest it will completely change. Also, I was told in the previous review that this monologue was already an info dump so I'm worried about adding more information :/

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117 Reviews

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Reviews: 117

Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:46 pm
Astronomer wrote a review...

Hello there, Occymay!
This is Moonwatcher here with a review! ^-^

Now, I understand this is a monologue, and since the story is about a mother who had to have her womb removed and thoughts must be rushing throughout her head, but I feel as if the monologue is still a little bit bland/disorganized. I think that you could summarize the narrator's thoughts on the situation a little bit better, and while you're at it, use more vivid/descriptive words, to be less bland.

Although this is a character's thoughts, it doesn't feel so much like a monologue. The narrator is giving information to the reader that normally wouldn't be given inside one's head, and feels more of an info-dump than thoughts. I'm not sure if the narrator is intentionally breaking the fourth wall in a way (I mean, the thoughts aren't too direct to the audience, but I feel as if they subtly are giving the audience information), but if not, it could be delivered a little bit better.

Since there is an audience, and this is labeled as theater, this has the potential to be more than just a monologue, but a full out performance (a skit, I guess you could say?). That way you could maybe expand on the narrator's thoughts a little bit more, and the information giving could be presented better.

I hope my review helped you out, and have a great day! ^-^

occymay says...

Thank you for your advice. It's very difficult when it comes to monologue to keep the written version as interesting as it could. They are meant to be performed and the interest is more in the way the actor performs it. But obviously the writing is also important and I'll try to improve that.

"The rules of capitalization are so unfair to the words in the middle of a sentence."
— John Green, Paper Towns