In a HUSH exclusive, we spoke to Paula Ralph, a health, vitality, and mBIT coach, who, after a 30-year career as a pharmacist, realised that while she was helping people maintain their health, it was only a small part of their overall wellness. She now coaches individuals in a wide range of issues from health challenges to purpose, coping with stress, to feeling ‘off’, from decision making to depression.

With an avid interest in gynaecological trauma and procedure, Paula is helping HUSH tackle the issue of male sexual dominance and has helped address how gynaecological procedure can affect the temple that is the female body.

“When woman are held in high regard and all ‘parts’ of that woman are treated as a queen would be, she is more likely to flourish. The modern impression of sex is of harsh treatment and that it is for the man to finish his business with little concern for the woman. Game Of Thrones has not done women any favours (I am half way through series 2 and am not impressed so far, as to the purpose of women).  But that is my opinion!

We are a system of being human and all parts of that system impact the rest of the system. 

 

Suppressing a woman sexually stifles the confidence and vitality of that woman and leaves her feeling the lesser of the sexes. 

Many women see submission as their role, maybe as an unconscious way to access protection from their man, whilst some women gain empowerment.

 

Gynae trauma affects a woman at her core self; her vitality, her creativity with others, a feeling of loss of her usual self and often loss of dignity and power.  The pelvic centre, holding the organs, has neural connections that are involved with regulating and directing desire, pleasure, drive, urges of life, reproduction and nurture.

 

Sexuality has characteristics of biology, emotion, social, psychological and spiritual aspects and some experts see sexuality as the central source of human personality.

 

Dr Christiane Northrup, M.D, says that the ovaries are the seat of power, creation and creativity. 

 

Trauma to those organs or removal even, is able to strip the woman of her zest and vitality. However, these modern times expect that these organs are simply there for the purpose of making babies and assisting the woman to menopause, after which they are not of use.  But the mental and emotional contribution that this whole area has for a woman is beginning to be understood and taken seriously.

 

If a hysterectomy is simply taking out a used and troublesome part why do so many women struggle in their recovery? 

How come there are forums and groups where women reach out for advice as they battle with a feeling of loss, identity change and an impacted life?

‘I am 16 months post op and feel that I am finally making way’

‘I am delighted to have no problems with bleeding and pain anymore.  But why do I feel so sad?’

‘I feel like I am grieving for something I don’t even know what it is’

 

When a woman has a gynaecological procedure, it is so much more than a mechanical investigation or removal of an organ.

 

For a start, being human means that we are a whole system of mind and body.  A human being is a whole system and anyone trained in systems theory will tell you that if a part of that system is altered, broken or even fixed, the whole system will change.

 

How does your body influence your mind? Your emotion influence your body? Your mind influence your body? The answer is, in lots of ways that you may not have realised.

 

Every cell and organ is involved in a system and, like any system, if a part of that is not working so well, then the whole system breaks down. It gets more tangled, because the cells and organs are not just simply things.  They are deeply part of and influencing your own psyche and vice versa.  You are your own system.

 

Understanding this will lead to you being in control, of having power, in how your body and mind responds to how you are being healthy, how you are being unhealthy, how you are having a great day or even a rotten one.  You can have emotions and beliefs that colour your experiences for good or bad. And you can create within your physiological body, the conditions that make you feel like the world is a dreadful place; posture, where you look, how deeply or quickly you breathe. Pain, for example, can make you feel alone, grumpy, sad, afraid, small, and hopeless. Using the mind/body connection theory, you can change the response you have to it so that you are not so mentally or emotionally affected. The physiology of pain changes.

 

The organs that sit in the pelvis of a woman hold the essence of being a woman and the essence of sexuality.  This is intricately linked with identity and personality.

 

When a woman comes to me for coaching before a hysterectomy or similar procedure, we look at the physical aspect of the procedure and then get down to the emotional aspect of what the womb means to that woman, as it greatly impacts who that woman is.

 

You see there is much wisdom to be held in those organs.  The ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix and vagina that have been doing the job of confirming regularly, the womanly aspects of creation of further life. And there is a lifetime of thinking towards those organs that may not have been too encouraging, consciously or unconsciously.

 

The sexual intelligence that is held in the pelvis is directly linked to the colour and vibrancy of life.  Not only does it have a ‘function of reproduction, but that area is intimately involved in directing desire, interest and attraction for pleasure, bliss and ecstasy. But, all of these words are not only reserved for sexual excitement.  They apply to how the woman experiences her life; the vitality, vigour and co-creativity.

 

So how is the vibrancy of life influenced by the neurons of the pelvis?

 

Naomi Wolf in her book Vagina writes, ‘It is not so surprising that when the neural pathways from the brain to the vagina are damaged, one feels that life has less meaning; truly, the well-treated vagina is a medium that releases, in the female brain, what can be called, without exaggeration, the chemical components of the meaning of life itself’ 

 

So is it any surprise that sexuality has aspects that impact the biology, emotion, social, psychological and spiritual realms? 

 

Is it any surprise that after a hysterectomy, oophorectomy (and even orchidectomy in men – they have a centre of sexuality as well!) the patient commonly feels that a personality change has occurred? Those people write on forums and pages saying that they have lost their zest for life.  They don’t feel like getting out there as they have no energy or vigour.  They feel sad most of the time.  They are different now and no longer have a sense of humour.  And these comments are written 12, 14, 16 months after the operation.  It is apparent that simply removing an organ of sexuality has the possibility of a vastly greater impact on the woman.

 

So how do I prepare my clients for what could be a life changing operation,  where they are under the impression that it is only a part that is no longer useful, but maybe that kind of thinking doesn’t fit well with them?

 

Take Megan (not her real name).  Megan was booked in for a complete hysterectomy.  She was looking forward to being rid of the problem that had plagued her for years.  ‘Better out than in.’  She came to me for coaching because she ‘didn’t have time’ for reported complications after the procedure, needing to get back to her family and work as soon as possible. Nobody at work knew she had been having issues as she had been covering up the pain and ‘inconveniences’ and she was loathe to go to her manager and ask for extended time off for a womanly issue.  Her team was about to start a new project and she didn’t know how to ask them to slow down and wait for her.  She didn’t have time for a prolonged recovery back to health. Time was money and time was dignity.  She was stronger than that!

 

During the session we explored her feelings about what her pelvic organs were for and what they meant to her.  She realised how she had spent her life being vexed by the annoying monthly periods and was now utterly tired of the pain, bloating and irregular bleeding experienced.  But she also realised that because she had a uterus, ovaries and cervix, she was able to conceive and bear two amazing children and that she was a woman with womanly thinking, capable of nurture and creation.

 

That changed everything.

 

The gratitude Megan felt for having that special female skill and ability gave her a completely new perspective on her pelvic area.  Where she came in to my office annoyed, irritated and hating the trouble caused by those female organs (she wished she was a man), she now experienced a turn around of opinion.  She realised the possibility of a wisdom within her that she hadn’t been listening to. She likened it to a child trying to speak to her and she not taking any notice.

 

Megan suddenly felt that there was something that she was missing.  Upon further exploration we looked for what her centre of being female was trying to bring her attention to.  She had a deep insight into how she was driving her life – with power and force, just like she always had.  And that she needed to practise nurture towards herself. 

 

Megan suddenly felt an experience of deep gratitude for her whole self – of love.  This took her by surprise as she was used to driving projects forward, be they work or family and taking this softer approach to herself was one that she realised was vital to her going forward in a healthy way.  She realised that she had denied herself many things up until now, feeling an almost masculine drive to push forward – but why? 

 

Having received these insights we worked with her to pass the wisdom of those pelvic organs, about to be removed, to the rest of the body.  This works on the premise that the body is actually a system and if a part of that system is changed or removed, the whole system is affected. Sharing the ‘information’ with the other cells of her body meant that the wisdom would not be lost. And the other cells, organs and parts of her were able to say farewell to those organs as well – this was something she came up with herself.

 

Megan left feeling calm and confident for her operation, confident that her body would be able to continue with the now shared information of the part that was about to be removed, confident that she had a more complete understanding and that her body would respond physically with no complications and recover rapidly .  ‘I’ve got this’ was how she felt.

 

Megan felt fully recovered two months after the operation.  She didn’t experience blood loss and neither did she get any post-operative infections, and she was delighted to not need to go back into surgery for complications.  She was able to actively participate at work within the four weeks.

 

She said that she was feeling very ‘complete’ and had a feeling that energetically, she was physically complete.  She also had the distinct feeling of loving her body and who she was.  It was almost like she had been introduced to herself – her essence, and she felt stronger in taking care of herself, taking a more gentle and nurturing approach to her work and family.”

 

 

So, HUSH Magazine encourage ALL THE WOMEN out there to LOVE YOUR BODY! No matter what it goes through, protecting it and cherishing it are the most important things you can do; Megan’s story proves self-love conquers all.

 

If you have been affected by this story, or want to share your experiences with us, message us on Instagram @hush_mag or our Facebook @HUSHzine.

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