When I arrived on the island of Mersea in Essex county last summer I barely knew I had a womb space. Sure, I was traveling there to learn womb massage and, I mean, three years prior I'd birthed twin humans out of said womb space ... so obviously my ignorance of it didn't preclude its presence... but, like most women, I had NO idea the power it held or why it mattered. Looking back, one could say it was my very womb space that led me there. At that time, even just the label "womb space" made me cringe. Why couldn't we just call it a uterus? the super-scientist in me reasoned. Oh... but a womb would prove to be SO MUCH MORE. It was a lesson I would begin learning on that mystical, magical island in England, and then would carry across the globe with me all the way to mystical, magical Mayan land here on the Mexican Riviera. It's a lesson that would change my life. And I promise you, Womb-owners everywhere, that the same lesson will undoubtedly change yours, too.
So, here's the WOMB Science:
Etymology: from Middle English wombe, wambe, from Old English womb, wamb (“belly, stomach; bowels; heart; womb; hollow”), from Proto-West Germanic *wambu, from Proto-Germanic *wambō (“belly, stomach, abdomen”).
- the name of the organ that biologically female mammals have for growing fetuses before birth. For our purposes, it means the same as "uterus", but most women would agree that womb feels so much more soft, gentle - less clinical and scientific.
Your womb space sits two fingers above your pubic bone and about 3 fingers down from your belly button. Your bladder sits in front of it and the rectum and sacrum behind it.
The average womb is 3"x2"x1" in size, with a non-menstruating volume of 1-2oz and it doubles in mass to 2-4oz during menstruation. Womb positioning in the pelvis is referred to as verted - tipped forward or back. Anteverted (meaning, slightly tipped forward) is normal positioning. If you experience brown / dirty blood during your menstrual cycle, this is a result of the pooling of old blood in a flexed (hunched over) womb space. Wombs can be flexed and verted. If the womb is flexed and/or verted forward it puts pressure on the bladder resulting in bladder issues including frequent urges to urinate.
In most women, the womb sits tipped slightly back (retroverted/retroflexed) which impacts bowel movements, can cause nerve and back pain, pain in the backs of the legs.
Any womb too far forward or too far back is the result of tightness and contraction in the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor - the supporting "hammock" that's meant to keep the womb space in its correct place. This tightness can also be exacerbated by scar tissue and the accumulation of toxic waste. Any of these (surprisingly common) conditions will most often lead to pain throughout the pelvis - experienced by women as painful periods and uncomfortable intercourse.
NEWSFLASH! PAINFUL PERIODS ARE NOT NORMAL. PAINFUL SEX IS NOT NORMAL.
A misaligned womb can also alter the neutral position of the cervix (often playing a role in infertility - sperm don't know where to go!)
The number one contributing factor to tightness, contraction, and discomfort in the pelvis? Stress. Yup. There it is. This flurry of deeply uncomfortable physical symptoms, and the precursors to much more serious chronic reproductive complications and concerns, are the result of decades of tightness and tension caused by permanent fight--flight-freeze responses in the body.
(spoiler: this is why womb massage works! it creates space and relieves structural tension and contraction in the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic bowl, allowing natural movement, repositioning, and increased blood flow - meaning oxygen and nutrients!) - to the womb, ovaries, and fallopian tubes)
And here's the Womb-Mind-Body Connection:
Wondering what women respond to with stress in their pelvis?
Sadly, the better question might be - "What do women NOT respond to with stress in their pelvis?"
Birth imprints. Limbic imprints about being born a girl and a girl's role in this world vs. a boy's. Early family messaging around what girls are "allowed" to wear, or "allowed" to do. When a tomboy little girl is forced to wear a frilly dress for school picture day, she experiences stress. When a little girl is told she can't play with her brother's Legos because they're "boy toys", she experiences stress. When a little girl is abused. When a girl is bullied for how her body looks. When she's caught touching herself and shamed for it.
When she's taught her (insert name of fluffy vagina-alternative here) is a no-no part that's dirty, shameful, and not meant to be seen or explored.
When she gets her first menstrual period and isn't prepared, educated, or celebrated for it.
When her early menstrual cycles are irregular and she's medicated in response. When her parents fight and she witnesses abuse against her mother.
When she hears unkind stories about her "crazy grandmother" or the great grandmother who was institutionalized.
When she experiences stress or trauma around her first sexual interaction. When she's abused in a relationship.
When she's objectified at school or work.
When she's harassed on public transport.
When she's treated without warmth, kindness, or dignity at OB/GYN appointments.
When she's advised to infiltrate her innermost space with man-made metal and toxic plastics and synthetic-hormone-impregnated IUDs in order to prevent pregnancy.
When a tone-deaf romantic partner tells her that he doesn't like how her body looks / smells/ acts. When she's pressured to orgasm.
When she's told she's taking too long.
When she experiences social pressure to conceive.
When she battles infertility and is led to believe it's her fault she can't get pregnant.
When she experiences traumatic birth.
As a woman's emotional body perceives threat, her brain responds with a cascade of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) to ready the physical body to fight or flee. The physical discharge or fight/flight doesn't normally happen and the trauma-triggered chemistry is absorbed in the body: the extensively innervated sacrum, coccyx, the glutes, inner thighs, diaphragm, solar plex, abdomen, womb space.
.... there's certainly no lack of stressors around the feminine. (and the uber-scientific man-made diagrams don't make getting to know this part of our body warm or inviting in the least).
Our pelvic bowl spends our entire life protecting our femininity both physically and energetically. We must protect ourselves from abusers, harassers, attackers. We brace for impact against partners we shouldn't be sleeping with - ones we regret not saying no to. We carry the recoil of unplanned penetration, unplanned ejaculation, unplanned pregnancy. Women, being the biological receivers of sex, have carried millenia of trauma of forced entry, forced pregnancy, forced relationships, forced service. But let's dial back to a pre-partiarchal world - a pagan time of ancient medicine and matriarchal cultures: the evolution of Egyptian medicine from prehistoric, followed by Chinese, Babylonian, and Indian. These medicines honoured energy, wellness, nutrition, movements, and the natural rhythms of connection to the earth.
Energetically, the womb is linked to our second (sacral) chakra. It's the woman's most powerful energy center, the seat of our creativity, creation, pleasure, passion, self-worth.
When patriarchy needed to hijack the reigns from matriarchal / "pagan" life, the womb space became taboo. Monogamy was invented. Women's sexuality was vilified, silenced, and shamed. Women were systematically, meticulously disconnected from their womb, yoni, and pleasure over time as it became increasingly taboo. Powerful women and strong female archetypes were written out of childrens' stories. Religion erased The Goddess. History was re-written in a way to celebrate men and women were re-written as their sweet, soft, gentle, subdued and obedient 'slaves' - the makers of their babies and their food. We even traded our own last names when our 'ownership' was transferred from one man (our father) to another (our spouse). It seems our wombs were shoved under the rug of the negotiation table as well. So, why the womb?
Because it's time to take back our sacred Selves from the shadows we were shoved into.
It's time to re-draw the scientific diagrams and reclaim our womb space.
It's time to unapologetically own our pleasure and our feminine birthrights to emotion, nature, psychic energy, intuition, and community.
Reclaimed women are impossible to control. They are impossible to sell to by telling them they're 'too fat', 'too wrinkly', or 'too pale'.
Reclaimed women are impossible to abuse as they know their worth and won't settle for anything less than the mystery, magic, and power they know they deserve. Reclaimed women are connected - to the Universe, to Spirit, to Mother Earth, to each other, to themselves. When a woman takes back her womb space, first physically and then energetically - she stands in the core of her power and becomes primally, wildly unfuxkwithable.
When she takes back her womb space, she shines a light upon the shadows of generations of abuse, trauma, and grief she carries from her mother's lineage. She heals herself, all the women before her, and all the women that have yet to come.
When she takes back her womb she reclaims her pleasure, her sexuality, her unapologetic pursuit of what makes her feel awake, alive, and radically in control. When a woman reclaims her womb, she awakens the Goddess that's laid dormant inside of her, waiting to arise. Whole. Authentic. Empowered. Aligned.
So... why the womb?
Because it's the seat of where stardust turns to molecules, and the Universe enters for LIFE TO BEGIN.
If you're ready to reclaim your womb space once and for all, I invite you to experience the ritual of womb massage either with me here in the Mayan Riviera or with a practitioner nearby. If you're already a wellness coach/practitioner/professional and feel called to offering womb healing and reclamation as part of your therapies, I invite you to be professionally trained and accredited in womb + fertility massage, shadow therapy, and Yoni Reclamation Therapy as part of a Feminine Re-Embodiment Therapist diploma and certification. Training is available in large-group, small-group, and 1:1 retreat format. Please feel free to get in touch.