While looking through the social media I saw a post from a fellow sister in wellness, Jocelyn Gordon, who wrote the very sentence that inspired and reinvigorated the work that I do. The above statement, and title, is a reminder to put the power back in our own hands. The revolution of knowing the resources, ancestral practices, and the expressive arts tools, that best serve us are here and are now.
I learned this the hard way. When I went through the initial process of getting the diagnosis of having Fibroids I was not cared for in the way that I should have. The defining moment of how I chose to take the lead in my own health was when I had my first gynaecologist consultation. When I asked why does this happen in a woman’s body? The answer; there is no definitive known cause, however, it is pretty common in black women. I asked; why is it that? She again said she did not know, but not to worry because it is so common, and then proceeded to tell me I have two options: drugs or surgery. WHAT!!!!!!!!!?????????
At that time I was scared. I did not know what to do. I wanted hope, comfort or to be put at ease. I was told you’re black, it happens. There nothing really you can do to prevent it, and the options that were presented to me at the time neither I wanted to do. I did not want to have drugs in my body that would alter the natural rhythms of my menstrual cycle, sexuality, intuition, digestion, emotions and creativity. The thought of surgery terrified me. My first doctor that I encountered really did not make me feel at ease about the possibility at all. So I left that office that day feeling oppressed, low and hopeless. Are these really my only options? Is this really how women are treated? I understand that there are amazing people in the medical field that truly care about the people they serve. However, on a whole, there needs to be a deeper reflection and action of the ways women are treated and the options that are put forth, especially when it comes to intimate matters of womb and vaginal health.
The question of “WHY!” Why is this so prevalent in women of colour?
This is what I came up with. The foundation of gynaecology as we know it was created on the gross human rights violation and experimentation on black women's bodies. The “Father” of gynaecology James Marion Sim practiced, experimented treatments and surgical procedures on black women's bodies without anesthesia. Just let that sink in for a moment. If you have had a child or have had any abdominal surgery you understand the procedures are extensive. The Recovery is quite intense in the lengths of 3 weeks to 4 months (sometimes more when healing from pregnancy). The procedures are very involved not only are you opening up an area where your vital organs are held, your digestion is compromised, your layers of abdominal muscles have to be cut into, your intestines have to be shifted; just to get to your uterus!
Now, imagine this procedure in progress, in your womb, and you are fully awake! Without anesthesia!
Black women’s bodies were used as inhumane objects, constant rape, unequal healthcare, deep psychological and emotional trauma. This is what black women during the time of slavery had to go through. Once the procedures were perfected it was then performed on non-coloured women. If you also go generations back, women of colour were living in survival mode. Their lives were about working hard, providing for the family and staying alive. Women of colour were continually being oppressed mentally, spiritually and physically. There was no ‘self-care’. There was no, I’ am going to go after my dream’. There was no ‘sexual sovereignty’. Their power was continuously stripped, stomped on and taken away. Stress, tension, unworthiness and fear was imprinted in the womb.
What we know with ancestral lineage healing is that when we heal ourselves right now, in this moment, we in conjunction heal 7 generations back and 7 generations forward. Despite the fact women are independent and working, and there have been some changes/improvements socially, economically and politically for all; when we become aware, we start to understand that even though this is 2020, we are still unpacking the trauma for the past.
7 generations forward and 7 generations back. We are still dismantling centuries of hurt, pain and trauma.
Do you understand it is like a slap in the face when people say get over it and move on? It's like ripping off a band-aid of a wound that is trying to heal and then you stomp on it.
SELF CARE IS A FORM OF ACTIVISM because we unshackle the chains that has been placed upon having the access of resources to heal and take care of ourselves. Every culture has their history of oppression and survival. When I dug deep into the question of WHY it began the revolution within me to seek out the resources and the knowledge that has been denied from women. Women have been burned at the stake for sharing the knowledge of plants, herbal medicine, honouring the blood that exits our bodies every month and owning the power of our sexuality. We have been chastised and belittled when we speak up with common sense and intelligence. We have been held down and told the knowledge from our ancestors does not matter because it came from a woman. The absolute right that we have as women is to have the tools and resources to be in partnership of our own healing and care!
1: the doctrine or practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving political or other goals, sometimes by demonstrations, protest etc (dictionary.com)
2: a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue (merriam-webster dictionary)
3: the use of direct and noticeable action to achieve a result, usually a political or social one (cambridge dictionary)
4: the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change (oxford dictionary)
An activist brings a frequency of being radical, a disturbance, or an “in your face”, it stirs up the emotions of being uncomfortable. For some, activism has the intention to shake you out of complacency., this is not that kind of activism I am referring to. This is innate knowing, it is getting the education and it is standing up for what is your birthright, by simply taking your power back out of others hands and putting it back into your own.
To be intimately connected with your womb is your divine right!
To know and use the healing resources combined with working with people that you choose to be on your health team is your divine right!
To understand and trust the internal wisdom from your womb, intuition and connection to spirit in you is not to be denied. It is to be nourished!
Here are 10 resources that we can practice right now to embody the knowing of our feminine sovereign bodies:
1. Track your menstrual cycle: notice your blood, how many days do you bleed during your cycle, your blood is a barometer of what is going on in your body. This is also a tool for conscious conception- know about the different phases of your cervical fluid, understand what birth control actual does to the body so you can make an informed choice, if that is what you want
2. Know what foods and herbs support your body and your womb.
3. Establish a dialogue with your womb/your body: This may seem a little ‘out there’, but we have that capability to receive the wisdom from our wombs, however, it requires deep listening
4. Sacred sexuality: get to know your body, use your voice to communicate what you like and don’t like. Appreciate your body right now. If you don’t know how start a dialogue of how you can pour more love into your body, self pleasure.
5. Self Love: it is more than just saying I love you to yourself, it honouring your boundaries, your body, self expression, worthiness, respect, confidence, belief
6. Connect to the Divine: through meditation, stillness, prayer, womb wisdom, intuition.
7. Womb body care: Vaginal steams and castor oil packs, womb massage, pelvic health care.
8. Connect to nature: not just to go for a walk at the park, eat more fruits and vegetables, add some plants into your home, cultivate a garden or have potted plant outside your home, craft teas, elixirs, expand your knowledge in plant medicine, drink more water, sit/lie down/stand barefoot on the earth.
9. Track your levels of stress: Stress effects the tension and relaxation in your womb. It also effects the hormone production in the body.
10. Through various healing modalities start to unpack experiences that have shaped where you are now, and which need to be cleared, addressed and healed (start with booking a 1:1 session with The Goddess Moves)
The more we take care of our bodies, minds, and souls, the greater we shift from a place of LOVE to birth a new paradigm.*
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This article was originally published in the Vol. 3, 2020, “Into the Blissful Dark” issue of Birth of a Woman Magazine. That issue may be found here.