On Mother’s Day, Lena Dunham reached out to those who may be struggling on the holiday through Instagram. Using an image from before she has her hysterectomy in 2018, Dunham describes her own struggles with not being able to have children. 

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This is a picture of me the night before I had my hysterectomy. I was putting on a brave face/sassy tongue (and a teensy blue pony to boot.) My uterus wasn’t gone yet- in fact, it was torturing me every chance it got- but I was already grieving. That grief was all consuming and it continues, but it also transforms. When it comes to fertility grief, some make peace with a different future (or perhaps they never wanted those rascal children anyhow and societal pressure is at play in their response to losing their fertility.) For others, like myself, who always wanted to be moms, it can take time to realize how many ways there are to make a family- and one of these “non-traditional” methods is probably perfect for me. #MothersDay is a beautiful and necessary celebration of what mothers give, but it can also summon a tidal wave of grief for those who have lost their own mother figure or their ability to be a mother in the way they’d always dreamed. This feels like a fitting end to this week on my page, where we’ve been exploring grief in all forms. So for those who aren’t necessarily welcoming Mother’s Day, I see you, I love you and wherever you are today- resentful, lonely, nostalgic, resigned or maybe even joyful- you are already #wellenough

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In her post she read, “it can take time to realize how many ways there are to make a family- and one of these “non-traditional” methods is probably perfect for me. #MothersDay is a beautiful and necessary celebration of what mothers give, but it can also summon a tidal wave of grief for those who have lost their own mother figure or their ability to be a mother in the way they’d always dreamed.”

In 2018, Dunham decided to undergo a hysterectomy, the removal of the uterus and cervix, after years of struggling with endometriosis. Dunham has previously expressed that this decision to have a hysterectomy was difficult, but she decided to go through with it after trying many different types of therapy, including massage and acupuncture, and having numerous surgeries. 

In a story for Vogue in 2018, Dunham said, “In addition to endometrial disease, an odd hump-like protrusion and a septum running down the middle, I have retrograde bleeding, a.k.a. my period running in reverse so that my stomach is full of blood. My ovary has settled in on the muscles around the sacral nerves in my back that allow us to walk. Let’s please not even talk about my uterine lining. The only beautiful detail is that the organ – which is meant to be shaped like a light bulb – was shaped like a heart.” 

Even though Dunham has had this surgery, she is still determined to be a mother. She wrote in Vogue, “I may have felt choiceless before, but I know I have choices now,’ she said.‘Adoption is a thrilling truth I’ll pursue with all my might.”