This Is How Childhood Sexual Abuse Affected My Fertility

This Is How Childhood Sexual Abuse Affected My Fertility 

I was so incredibly fortunate to meet some amazing women during my Doula training. Most of  these women were mothers, and they all shared stories about they conceived their babies and the births that followed. As a woman who hasn’t had a child yet, I sat and listened in awe. I shared with the women the work that I do and why I feel it’s so important to focus on preconception health. During one of the snack breaks I chatted warmly with one of the girls and she said this to me:

 “It seems like you already think you’re going to have problems getting pregnant.”

Those words hit me like a ton of bricks. I swallowed the knot in my throat and said... “You’re right, you are absolutely right.” I didn’t have time to ask her what made her think that about me because we had to get back to work, but it wouldn't take long for me to figure it out.

As we were beginning to close out our day our trainer opened the discussion about working with women who were survivors of sexual abuse and rape. The knot in my throat came back. This time much larger than it was before. I couldn't speak, and all of a sudden I found myself struggling to keep the tears back. I couldn't lose it here, not in the middle of training. Not in front of strangers.

I had just experienced my first trigger.

In nineteen years this had never happened to me before. The reality of it all set in for me,  I had never thought that the sexual abuse that happened to me when I was six years old by two total strangers; could possibly affect my birth later on in life.

When I got home that evening I thought about what the girl said to me.

"Was it obvious that I was a bit insecure about my fertility despite having zero indication that anything is physically wrong with me? Does my intense passion for the kind of work that I do happen to come off that way?" The questions mostly came from my ego but the answer washed over me in a huge wave of emotion.

I doubted my ability to conceive because someone had violated me.

I did not  trust my body or myself.

I’ve been to therapy to address what happened to me when I was such a child and through the years it has brought me to a place where I was able to forgive the people that hurt me. I no longer saw myself as victim of sexual abuse. I began to see myself as an overcomer. But what I never saw was how much the abuse disconnected me from my body.

When I got home from training I ordered a book that was suggested by the trainer. It’s called "When Survivor’s Give Birth” by Penny Simkin. Reading that book made me realize how many times someone else had taken away my power by touching me in a way I didn't want and left me completely disconnected from myself.

I needed to regain my power.

I had to learn how to trust my body, and my body's ability to conceive BEFORE I tried to get pregnant.

Nearly one in five women in the United States has been sexually assaulted at some point in her life. I have to believe this somehow has also impacted our ability to conceive, and it's something we don't really talk about. Yes, there are so many possible contributing factors in our environment; but I truly believe this really does make a difference physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually on our fertility.   And while I wish there were some type of magic pill for this that you could swallow and you instantly learn to trust your body again, there's not. There is only time. There's lots of self care. There is therapy, if you need it. And there is learning to reconnect with your body and learning to trust it again by making and keeping promises to yourself.

Promise to nourish your body with the best food.

Promise to nurture your body with unconditional love and self care.

Promise to honor your body as a safe place.

Promise to believe in your body with total confidence, believing that it can and will do what it was CREATED to.

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