“W” is for Womb
My first exposure to the connection between the womb and mood was when my mother was pregnant with my youngest brother. My sister had been born twenty-two months prior. For the first year or so, my sister would easily cry and was only comforted by our mother. She didn’t want to be bothered with anyone other than Mama.
When Mama told me, a twelve-year old, that she was expecting another child, she added, “I’m not going to cry the whole time with this one.” Mama and I never discussed it, but I concluded that my sister’s crying had something to do with my mother’s mood while pregnant. I filed this away, not knowing that I would need that info again some twelve years later.
At the age of 24, I was expecting a child for the first time. With only Mama’s words and no formal research, I made it my business to be as healthy as I could be both physically and emotionally. When my body threatened to evict its temporary tenant in the first trimester, I kicked up my vigilance for a peaceful lifestyle even more.
Craving balance and authenticity while avoiding any feelings of isolation, I continued my studies at FAMU, cultivated relationships with girlfriends (or friendgirls as they said in Florida at the time), and stayed in touch with loved ones back home. The driven pursuit of happiness and growth that began during my pregnancy continued for years to come. Yet, my next real encounter with thoughts about my womb didn’t happen for another 17 years (See that story here).
Around 2017, during conversations with Candace, I learned of how C-section and hysterectomies do more than address the immediate problem. Candace shared that she had learned that there are positive benefits for babies born vaginally. Researchers now link certain short-term and long-term health problems for children of cesarean birth.
Recalling Candace’s problems with allergies as a child I wondered if there was a connection to the emergency C-section we endured at her birth. Still contemplating this information, the conversation switches to what doctors have learned about performing hysterectomies. Namely, the health risks associated with forced menopause. These aliments, some lending to the advancement of aging, include:
- heart disease
- loss of sexual desire, arousal, sensation and uterine orgasm
- weight gain
- bone, joint and muscle pain and immobility
- painful intercourse, vaginal damage
- displacement of bladder, bowel, and other pelvic organs
- urinary tract infections, frequency, incontinence
- chronic constipation and digestive disorders
- debilitating fatigue
- loss of stamina
- altered body odor
- loss of short-term memory
- drastic changes to how emotions are experienced and expressed
“W” is for Wonderful
Around the time my daughter began her womb healing journey, I did my own deep dive into the wonders and benefits of the womb. Other than being the star player in housing an unborn child, the womb is thought of the center of power for women. Was I now not powerful since I didn’t have a womb?
Before the guilt of choosing to remove my womb could cause a downward spiral of emotions, I learned about the “energetic womb.” It was comforting to know that although I no longer had a physical uterus, I still had a womb… a central place of power and creativity. Like every muscular organ in our body, the uterus too has an energetic pattern and memory.
The easiest way to explain the energetic womb post hysterectomy is to think of the space that once housed the physical uterus as still holding the memories and emotions connected to the now removed organ. Something like the phantom sensations of an amputee; the power, creativity, death and life and sacred space of the uterus continues to be experienced post hysterectomy.
Even with wounding that includes: 46 hours of labor (including fetal distress), an emergency cesarean birth, miscarriage, and hysterectomy… the womb’s presence and capacity continue! Once we make peace with our emotions and what is happening to our bodies physically; we remain open to the great possibilities the womb offers.
“W” is for Wholeness
For some women who have experienced miscarriage or abortion and who later become pregnant, there is this juxtaposition of knowing there is new life growing where death once occurred. For many, doing the healing work of moving from grief and loss to acceptance and celebration allowed them to view their pregnancy as a wonderful thing and not a scary thing.
How any given woman heals is personal and specific to her needs. Each must find a way to grieve the losses and celebrate their life-giving abilities. Many speak of how they first changed the way in which they spoke to and about themselves and their womb. Post hysterectomy, women have combatted depression by understanding their femininity, creativity, and uniqueness is still very much a part of who they are.
Here are some other ways to experience wholeness and healing after a womb trauma:
- Change your self-talk and beef-up your self-care practices. Be intentional on loving and appreciating you, your abilities, your dreams and your goals. Self-love is merely loving who you are and who you are becoming.
- Practice mindfulness. Remain present to your emotions and thoughts without judging or evaluating them. Acknowledge any sadness or regret you may feel about the trauma/wounding you’ve experienced without condemning yourself or your choices.
- Engage in some form of movement. Dance, stretching, Tai Chi, chair exercises, and walking all provide opportunities for us to connect with our powerful bodies. Find something you enjoy and will do consistently.
- Research and adopt the practice of vaginal steaming. Whether you believe the reported benefits of vaginal steaming or not, implementing a practice that focuses on the health of the vaginal canal is a step in the right direction to correct any emotional disconnect you may have between you and your womb.
- Forgive! Forgiveness is NOT about anyone other than you. To forgive simply means to take back the power the person or situation attempted to steal from you. Forgiveness is not about letting anyone or anything off the hook. Forgiveness is you ridding yourself of any guilt or shame associated with the wounding so that you can embrace a stronger, healthier you!
Accepting ourselves as wonderful and whole is not a one-time thing… It’s a process! A woman’s feminine power is not wrapped up in the ability to have children or a monthly cycle. Our capacity is multi-dimensional and as much mental as it is physical. When we fight to see ourselves as whole and complete, we become our own advocate for a healthier self-image. Always remember…
“W” is for Wonderful. “W” is for Whole. “W” is for Woman.