To Name or Not Name?

To name or not to name your stoma, now that is a question. There are two schools of thoughts on this topic. I am of the first one and named it within a couple of days of first becoming an ostomate and not only did I name it but I changed it to the opposite sex. While some believe that naming anatomy parts is ridiculous. I am of the opinion that if you want to name it, name it. If you don't want to, don't, that is your choice. I will, however, tell you why I named mine as I believe there could be some good mental health practices behind it.

I originally named my stoma Squishy, as in from one of Dory's quotes in Finding Nemo, but over the years and four stoma's, it got shortened to Squish or sometimes Squish 4.0. 


If you have read my story, you will know I, like many, had a hard time dealing with the stigma of having a bag let alone the actual stoma itself. What my story doesn't tell you is that I am not always the most patient person especially after a month in the hospital and enduring pain levels I never believed to be possible. Long story short stomal therapy nurses are in short supply and overworked, so instead of waiting for my turn to have the bag changed, after being shown once I decided I've got this shit and endeavoured my first ever solo bag change high as a kite on ketamine and morphine. As many of you would know that's an interesting combination at the best of times. It was one of those laugh or cry situations, I think Finding Nemo had been on the TV a couple of nights earlier and as he started to move it reminded me of a jellyfish hence the name. 

Once I named him my mind set changed and I really did have this shit! 

Throughout the ages, the link between naming an object and having power over it is a common concept found across many religions, cultures and even fairytales. Let's take Rumpelstiltskin for example, the lead character must learn his name to free herself from the grip he has on her. So by finding Squish's name, I took his power to control me away and he became something separate from myself. There were still many a night I spent crying and begging him to behave in the early years and while it never took away the discomfort or pain. I could shout and rage at him without the feeling I was yelling or abusing myself. Side note: I'm not sure why I refer to him as male but I always have, it may have subconsciously had something to do with a misguided ex-partner wishing me dead on the eve of my surgery, a very long story not worth rehashing. 

On the other hand, if you'll allow me to misquote Shakespeare "A Stoma by any other name would smell as sweet." Which could put forth the belief that to change somethings name changes nothing. Either way, I know it's a stoma and that I have an ileostomy but giving him a name helped me cope better. I would love to see your comment below as I am curious to find out who has named their stoma? What you named it? Do you think it helps you deal with it better? Did you change the sex reference or is that just me? If you didn't name it, any particular reason why?


  1. Insideout Ostomy Life
    May 7, 2017

    For another perspective check out the great blog below from Rachel from Rocking2Stomas. She also has a lot of other fantastic blogs raising Urostomy awareness.

  2. Natalie
    May 29, 2017

    A great read! I named mine Stanley. My 8 and 5 year old have really taken to the name. I think it’s easier and more relaxed, rather than calling it by medical terminology for them. It was really interesting to discuss this on The IBD & Ostomy Support Show last week and find out people’s reasons for naming or not naming their stomas. Also, some of the names were hilariously brilliant! Xx

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