My Womb and Me
My Womb and Me
By Mayella Almazan
As a Mexican woman raised in a large extended family, I was never far away from pregnant women, women who had just given birth and women wanting to get pregnant (not always succesfully, may I add).
Pregnancy and labour were not unusual topics of table talk at family gatherings, however, the real interesting conversations came later, when all women withdrew to the kitchen after the meal. Away from the men, the talk turned to deeper ever so much more interesting issues for a 6-year-old: infertility, painful periods, hysterectomies, miscarriages, a huge world of emotions and things that united all of the women in my family through pain and loss but also through love.
My Grandma -and later on when she passed away my aunties and my Mum too- always had a herbal tea blend to share to ease menstrual cramps, a sobada (massage) to offer to the grieving cousin or niece, so on the whole I can say even as I child I was acutely aware of wombs. Eventually, my own period arrived as a calm, easy going affair. Nothing worth paying too much attention to. All was perfect until I left my homeland, that is.
I started to be painfully aware of my womb during my periods soon after I moved to London to study a Master´s degree. By chance, after a birthday call to the eldest of my Aunties I mentioned it to her and she told me she was not suprised. “The cold of homesickness has got into your womb, child”, she told me.
I had heard of “the cold” being a very bad thing to get anywhere inside your body many a times at home. She then went on to add, “nothing like a bit of flowers in some steam to warm you up, take you back to your centre again, bring you back home. Oh, and you mustn´t forget the oregano.” She was talking about the “bajos”, an ancient Mayan practice whereby a herbal mix is prepared and infused to steam our reproductive organs through our vagina (picture of herbal blend attached). I did as I was told and things soon not only went back to normal but the aroma of the oregano during the steam session REALLY took me back to the Mexican fields up the mountains where it grows wild.
This was the first time that I became aware of the fact that WOMBS are not just places for holding and carrying babies (although they are of course that too! ), but also places where we can store grief and homesickness. As a therapist now, I see clearly how storing all of these in our womb can at times mean trouble for some.
Since those days, I have made it my mission to guide women who have not been as lucky as me growing up in the family I did to discover the treasure of information, joy, pleasure and power contained within our womb. To be aware of their wombs, not because of cancer, or because of the fact that there is a baby in there (or there is not), or because of dis-ease, but simply because our womb is our centre. Because our womb is our home. And who doesn´t love going home ?
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