Struggling with menstrual pain and fertility issues 14 years ago, Amy turned to an unexpected source for wisdom. Now, she helps others do the same.
“You hate being a woman.”
This is what my “womb” answered back to me when I dared to connect with it and pose the question, “Why am I experiencing such debilitating menstrual pain?”
At the time (2004), talking to body parts was a rather outrageous concept to me. It had been suggested to me by a chiropractor who practiced Network Spinal Analysis - an approach to treatment focused on releasing stored tension in the body through light touch. I had never given a second thought to my menstrual health, birth control choices, or future fertility, except to pop pills and curse my body every time my period came around.
But lying in bed one day, with stabbing cramps that were bringing me to the brink of vomiting and tears, I was desperate.
I posed the question, not really anticipating an answer.
Except that I got one. Immediately.
“You hate being a woman.”
I reflexively became defensive. “No I don’t!” I insisted. And then, I paused. I allowed myself to feel the truth of it. I hated being a woman.
I had never overtly been made to feel that I was any less for being a woman by those who loved or cared for me. And yet, I had absorbed the misogyny of our culture. I had noted how the men around me were more “successful”, had more “power” and certainly had more control over themselves and others.
I dismissed the emotionality of the women in my life as weakness. I instead aligned myself with the masculine.
I focused on achievement, control of my emotions, and productivity.
And so perhaps it should have come as no surprise that my fertility was a mess. I had been trying to conceive for almost a year, and not only had I not become pregnant, but my cycles were irregular, my cramps were debilitating, and I didn’t have a clue what to do about it.
Fortunately the shift took care of itself through my willingness to align myself with my body’s wisdom. Later that month, after my “you hate being a woman” epiphany, I became pregnant. In that moment of awareness I had allowed myself to shed years of self-hatred and shame.
While I will continue to spend the rest of my life unworking the insidious impacts of misogyny, that month I embraced my femininity enough to allow space for new life to take hold within me.
That moment marked a dramatic shift in my life. In embracing the feminine I embraced the wisdom of women. I hired a midwife and had a profoundly beautiful home birth experience.
A scare with my post-partum birth control led me to further wise women and the discovery of natural birth control. Within a year I had registered in a training to learn how to teach the Justisse Method. Two years later I found myself running a business devoted to women’s reproductive and sexual health with my blood sister and best friend, Kim. I went on to learn the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Massage, which provided me with a tool for helping women connect with their wombs. Gradually I eased into the world of shamanism, where I developed even further skills for helping women connect to their inner wisdom.
And yet, despite my personal experiences and my trainings, I regularly forget to draw on this powerful tool. It is easy for me to get caught up in the practicalities of teaching menstrual cycle charting to my clients – notations, supplement recommendations and lifestyle suggestions. I feel a need to draw on my trainings, my “book knowledge” and my “expertise” in guiding clients.
It’s only when I’m at a total loss that I am reminded to seek the wisdom of the womb. It is then that I ask my clients to converse with their bodies.
We’re rarely disappointed. Far from being a dictator who tells us how to proceed, the womb is ever full of patience, understanding and creative solutions. Whether it was a client struggling to make a difficult decision (such as in the case of an abortion or hysterectomy) or struggling to come to terms with their body (in the case of infertility, gender identity issues, or chronic pain), I have been moved to tears by the wisdom offered to my clients by their own bodies.
Dialoguing with the womb has continually showed a way forward where the path was unclear or frightening.
If you feel called to explore this for yourself, you can try a simple yet powerful exercise. Pick up two different coloured pens and write a dialogue with the womb. Use one colour for “your” voice and one for your womb’s voice. What does it have to say? What pearls of wisdom are there to be received?
I’d love to hear what emerges for you. Drop me a line to share your own womb wisdom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want more support or guidance for your womb journey? Book an appointment to speak to me about how I can support you.
Kim & Amy Sedgwick love to discuss sex, periods, and all the other things we’re not supposed to talk about. The co-founders of Red Tent Sisters, they’ve been featured in every major Canadian news outlet and have become a trusted resource for people seeking natural (effective!) birth control, a more joyful sex life, and an empowered journey to motherhood.