Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women’s Pain

Artist Talk

Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women’s Pain

Book reading and signing with Abby Norman [Rescheduled from 03.21]

In the fall of 2010, during her sophomore year of college, then 19-year-old Abby Norman was repeatedly hospitalized in excruciating pain. Over the next several months her strong dancer’s body dropped 40 pounds and grey hair sprouted from her temples. The many doctors she saw insisted it was all in her head. Unable to get out of bed, much less attend class, she lost her dance scholarship, dropped out, returned to her home state of Maine with barely a penny to her name, and embarked on what would become a years-long journey to discover what was wrong with her. It wasn’t until she took matters into her own hands—securing a job in a nearby hospital and educating herself over lunchtime reading in the medical library—that she found an accurate diagnosis of endometriosis. In ASK ME ABOUT MY UTERUS: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women’s Pain (Nation Books), Norman writes a searing, bold, and inspiring memoir that weaves together medical research from the past and present to show that women’s bodies have long been the battleground of a never-ending war for power, control, medical knowledge, and truth. 

Her experiences led her to become an advocate for patients, and her work (when she’s well enough to travel) includes educating health care professionals. Many doctors have responded to her presentations with ashen faces after realizing they had done to patients what was done to her.

ASK ME ABOUT MY UTERUS is by turns humorous, infuriating, and triumphant—a gripping medical mystery and an inspiring story of the power of perseverance and empowerment. With a science writer’s fierce commitment to truth and a profound literary sensibility, Norman puts her own trials into a broader historical and political context to refute the belief that being a woman is a preexisting condition. 

ABBY NORMAN is a science writer, a senior science editor at Futurism, and host of a daily podcast on Her work has been featured in The Rumpus, The Independent, Paste Magazine, Medium, Atlas Obscura, Seventeen, Quartz, Cosmopolitan, and Lady Science/The New Inquiry. She lives in Camden, Maine.

Presented with support from Planned Parenthood of Northern New Englandthe Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund, and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance

May 2, 2018
6:30 PM
SPACE Gallery
538 Congress St.
Portland, ME 04101
Sponsored by