by M, 44, Australia
Self-love is something I have been deepening both my understanding and practice of since becoming a client and student of Universal Medicine about 6 years ago. What I became aware of, particularly through having Esoteric Breast Massages (EBMs), was that one thing stands in the way of self love – self-loathing. I had no trouble recognising this in me for I have been my own worst critic, constantly judging myself, putting myself down, and it has taken time to gently identify and heal the many little (and some big) pockets of self-loathing that have been held in my body.
Recently, I had felt myself feeling somewhat frustrated though, that there was still self-loathing in my body as clearly revealed in a couple of EBM sessions. Following an EBM a couple of months ago, I made a choice to simply be open to whatever needed to be felt… and what came up was quite unexpected.
It turned out I had been holding something against myself that happened nearly 30 years ago when I was a teenager.
I got pregnant when I was 15 and was so scared that I didn’t tell anyone, not even a friend – or did anything about it until about 3 months in. As I write this I get a sense of the anxiousness and fear that I lived with for that period, and how I isolated myself.
There was never any other choice for me than to have an abortion, but because I waited so long it meant that the only way was to induce labour. Of course I had to tell my parents, and I’ll always appreciate their support through what I’m sure was a quite traumatic time for them as well. So I spent a few days in a hospital about an hour from where I lived so that no one would know what was happening. I can recall being in a room on my own in the maternity ward; the only people I saw were the doctors, nurses and my parents when they came in. There was a real sense of being hidden away, of being some kind of shameful secret. From memory I was there about two days before contractions started and I gave birth. My only clear memory after that was throwing up, and then being whisked off for a Dilatation and Curettage. I was a scared 16 year old pretending that everything would be OK, and that I could handle it.
This event was never spoken about again at home, nor did I tell any of my friends at the time. I have shared this with friends as the years have passed, but typically during discussions where other women have revealed they have had abortions as well, and the general theme of these discussions has been that it’s not unusual, it’s an acceptable way to deal with a problem and it’s not the end of the world. None of these discussions ever ventured into how did any of us actually feel at the time.
At the time I certainly didn’t let myself feel all, if any, of these feelings – yet what I came to realise recently was that they were all still in my body but they had been hidden by a fairly large package of self-loathing. As I started to allow myself to feel, the most obvious feelings were a sense of anger and hatred towards myself for the bad choices I’d made. How could I have so readily had sex at such a young age? Look how a reckless choice to get drunk and have sex led to this ‘mess’. I should mention that I’d been sexually active for a couple of years before getting pregnant. During a recent esoteric ovary massage I was able to feel even more underneath the hatred and realised that I had judged myself as sinful, dirty, promiscuous and that getting pregnant was for me some sort of punishment for my behaviour, as well as confirmation that I was all of these things.
At the time, however, my mind simply constructed a story around this episode in my life that made it just an unfortunate blip in my otherwise ‘good’ middle-class life, a problem dealt with so to speak, time to move on. I’ve come to realise that what happened as the years passed was that I kept constructing other layers to the story, ones of judgement and self-loathing that focussed on the fact that my reckless choice one drunken night led to this ‘mess’, that I had been responsible for a death – what would my karma be for this? When I became a mother I added another layer of self-loathing, a pattern of guilt stemming from the abortion that led me to overcompensate as a parent and then further beat myself up when I perceived I did something wrong.
I’ve also come to realise that the package of judgement and self-loathing acted as a kind of guard, a way to keep people out. How can I form true relationships with others if I keep a part of myself hidden away, from myself and from others? So that sense of isolation I felt as a teenager has also followed me for many years.
I have been astounded by the way one’s mind can override the truth that is in the body by constructing a different version of events, one that we could easily take with us our whole lives if we so choose; compared to one that stops us from opening to the possibility of self-love and the deeper love that is within us all.
I have now let myself feel the true feelings around the time of the pregnancy and abortion and have been able to accept that the choice I made one night was not sinful or dirty or shameful but simply that of a young girl trying to figure out her place in the world, to find some sense of love and belonging through sex.
For me, my choice to be open to feeling the self-loathing, which started after the abortion, has now cleared it – it no longer has any hold on me and I am revelling in a new level of joy, love and openness in my body. As an added bonus I’ve noticed I have stopped reaching for sugar – I feel no need for it anymore.