In a previous article Your pregnancy and loss are YOUR experience, not your debt, we talked about expectations related to fertility that were set for and by women throughout history and across cultures. And, while it is an incredible female-specific ability and biological gift to conceive and give birth, the issue of fertility has undeniably created an immense and undue social and mental pressure on all women of child-bearing age.
Getting your period, having your breasts come in, seeing your hips take a more curvy form, hearing your voice change from girl to lady, are not only assessed as puberty changes but also steps towards fertile womanhood.
In countless and slightly differing ways, our beauty and desirability are based on physical characteristics that signify our youth AND fertility.
And, because of this, we, as a society throughout history, have also equated the value of our sex as women with the ability to find a mate and bear his children. Being able to fulfill those two “duties” are to be considered hallmark proof of our worth as women.
This faulty framework of proving femininity with fertility has been the crux of the matter of self-esteem and body image perception for millions of women around the world who suffer with infertility issues.
As if the grief of losing a child and feeling betrayed by one’s own body and expectations is not enough, women who experience miscarriage or termination due to foetal anomaly also confront a suddenly distorted perception of their own femininity and self-worth. This can put strain on their self-esteem and relationships, and possibly pose a crisis when it comes to their own identity as women.
As someone who works with women through their trauma and grief after a pregnancy loss during fertility treatment, I have worked through countless and diverse profound explorations and rediscovery of one’s sense of femininity and identity.
Feelings of disconnection, inadequacy and insecurity, and fear of intimacy can easily overwhelm someone who has gone through pregnancy loss. Processing through these feelings and reacquainting with beliefs and perceptions about femininity is an important part of healing and reconnecting with one’s sexuality after miscarriage.
Women who deal with fertility issues should be supported and helped to understand that their worth as women is not proportional to their ability to carry a child. We need to empower women, pregnant or not, to understand that femininity is not defined within the bounds of fertility and youth. That conceiving a child is not a “privileged obligation” or an imperative or calling of one’s female nature. It can be perceived as a gift, but it is also a choice within the freedom of a woman who is already complete in her femininity to begin with.
You may be one of the women I have been speaking about. And I hope you do not find shame in realising it, if ever. I want you to know that support and help is available for you to process these conflicting feelings that you might be going through after your pregnancy loss. As someone who has experienced difficulties during fertility treatment myself, I want to connect with you as a woman and as a therapist to help you process your thoughts on your identity as a woman and your relationship with your body after pregnancy loss.
Book a consultation with me and let’s work together through your difficulties, and begin your journey of recovering from the psychological trauma and fatigue brought on by your fertility journey. Feel free to send me a message, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.