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FEATURE - June 2016 - Santa Fe
Learning Through the Stages of the Ageless Womb
By Jen Antill
In our culture, we are taught that our wombs become dried up and lifeless with age. We are taught that with our deteriorating fertility, our wombs fail to thrive and are no longer useful. We are taught that as women, so much of our sexual identity and appeal is tied up in our ability to conceive and reproduce. We are taught to unconsciously identify with the ways in which our wombs define us: childless, with child, mother of two, infertile and so on. There are so many labels that we take on from our culture, our peers and ones that we even give to ourselves. We use these labels to define our capabilities and successes as women— we even tend to compare ourselves to others based on the success or failures of our wombs.
Our wombs offer us gifts at many different moments in our lives, full of vast and varying messages. It is up to us to decide if we want to decipher these messages. The womb sometimes speaks in ways that we would not expect her to. She may use the language of disease or discomfort to communicate with us; she may use the language of sensation or emotion; she may use the language of image or creativity. There are endless ways that our womb can offer us the opportunity for connection.
The journey of our womb does not need to be defined solely by the process of conception, pregnancy or the reproductive cycle. While this is a vibrant and powerful part of what our womb is capable of, it is not everything. The womb is capable of many different seasons and cycles and there is medicine in every womb season from menses, to menopause and beyond.
When we remove the conditions of what a “good womb” and a “bad womb” looks and feels like, we give ourselves the freedom to let our wombs change and shift as they need to. In a sense, we can adopt a “womb acceptance” model, where the changes in our wombs are thoroughly considered, deeply thought about and responded to in a holistic way.
In each stage of life, the womb may call us to a new way of responding and working with her. And in each stage, there is wisdom and learning to be found. Let’s take a look at the basic stages in a woman’s life and how each stage can call us to a different relationship with our womb. All stages can be uniquely valid and inspiring. We can learn to find balance with our womb at any age. Even if we no longer have a physical womb, we can still tap in to the gifts of the energy our womb has left behind.
Stage 1: The Maiden
In this stage of our lives, our wombs are finding their way—they are finding their footing in the world—they may be new to the menstruation process and the feeling of a blooming sexuality. In this stage, nurturing the womb by way of emotional release, diet and information is essential. The womb may need guidance and support along her maturation process. The womb may want and need access to accurate education and information, or the womb may need outlets to express, ask questions, scream and rant. The womb may need time to grow in to what she really wants to create and be. If the womb does not receive enough nourishment at this stage in her life, she can shut down and remove herself from life altogether. If the womb learns that she is not safe during this first stage, she may learn hide her creativity indefinitely. In this stage, the womb needs to feel safe, loved, cared for and supported. The womb needs the resources and guidance to be able to find her true balance.
Stage 2: The Mother
In this stage of our lives, we may or may not be an actual mother. We may still be finding our way with what we truly want to create. In this stage, the womb has created patterns that she is comfortable with. They may be helpful, or they may be harmful patterns. These may be patterns that keep us stuck or move us forward. In this stage, we learn how to take care of our wombs or how to stay in survival mode—we choose to shut the messages of the feminine out, or we let them in. In this stage, we can be preoccupied with many other things like our careers, money, children, spouses and more. We may not give ourselves the time we need to tend to ourselves—we may stay busy and stressed. Our wombs may be calling to us to reconnect with them. We have the opportunity to mother ourselves first and foremost amidst the busy lives we may have chosen.
Stage 3: The Crone
In this stage, it seems that we must listen to our wombs. In this stage, we make the choice and we become clear: are we going to give ourselves what we truly need? Is it finally time to make sure that we feel safe and nurtured in our feminine center? Are we going to fully embody the wisdom that we have the power to access? In this stage, we may finally feel free to claim our power. We may feel that we have learned through experience what power means. We may feel that we can share our knowledge and power with other young women who are just beginning their journey.
Whatever stage you may find yourself in, there is no doubt that at any age, the womb has valuable teachings for us. The womb holds an energy that does not age. She will never grow tired of sharing her information and wisdom with us. We can have a lifelong, active and intriguing relationship with her if we are abundantly open to it.
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Jen Antill works as a reproductive health therapist in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Jen works to help women realign their wombs and heal reproductive issues by way of Mayan Abdominal Massage; an external massage technique that helps to reposition and bring blood flow to the uterus and other organs. Jen also offers reproductive counseling and online classes that are available to people all over the world. Jen holds a degree in Holistic Midiwfery, Massage Therapy and Shamanic Counseling, and incorporates all three knowledge systems throughout her work. To read more about Jen and her work, you can visit her blog and website at www.ripetolife.com.