Body Consent - If Not, It's Trauma
Updated: Apr 12, 2022
How I was spoken to and treated during pregnancy and birth contributed to my mental health problems.
In Italy the gynaecologist would insert his fingers in my vagina without explaining why he needed to do that. Or even preparing me for what he was about to do.
When pregnant people touching my belly without even asking.
Choices during birth around how to be touched and the midwife for the birth of my first ignoring my needs of what I wanted or needed.
Many of us women have been conditioned to believe…
‘My body isn’t mine.’
‘It doesn’t belong to me.'
This is the transmission we get from a young age.
‘Give grandma a kiss, you don’t want to upset her.’
‘Sit on Uncle Keith’s lap for the photo.’
‘He’s pulling your hair because he fancies you.’
Any protests met with ‘you’re being selfish’, ‘don’t hurt his/her feelings’…
It’s no wonder that women grow up believing that their body isn’t their own.
They are sexually assaulted and believe it must be their fault. They feel coerced into doing sexual acts they don’t really want to for fear of losing the relationship.
For years I allowed people to treat my body how they wanted for fear of upsetting them, because I thought ‘they knew best’, because I was worried I might lose their love…
In ignoring my internal ‘no’ it brought me shame, embarrassment, increased my lack of self-worth… I self-abandoned.
Learning about boundaries and knowing that healing starts with stating them - your body so your rules.
You have the right to set the boundary and say ‘no’.
You deserve to be treated with respect and listened to.
If you find resistance from another person around this, it says more about them and how they see themselves and those around them. Their inability to accept your ‘no’ has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with you. Whether it’s a random person on the street, a medical professional, a partner…
So when I was called for my cervical screening I went with a new found confidence. I went with the approach that if the nurse didn’t use invitational language that I would let her know when *I* was ready. Fortunately on this occasion the nurse was great. Respectful. But this time my nervous system and I had been prepared and ready to take control of the situation if we needed to. To guide the nurse in what would happen to me and when.
I decide what happens to MY body.
And only I can say ‘NO’.
Have you learnt to say ‘no’?
Do you have good boundaries when it comes to your body?
How much healing have you done on boundaries and consent around your body?
So what to do next?
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If you struggle with consent over your body and want to feel empowered to say 'no', then send me an email to book your free discovery call at firstname.lastname@example.org.