I told my therapist for the first time about my memory flashes and my stomach still hasn’t unknotted. I hate this feeling.
It’s so uncomfortable.
I’ve always been terrified of becoming pregnant. Since before I can remember, definitely before I started ovulating, before any reasonable person would even know what pregnant is.
I remember doing bizarre things like balancing a ruler between my hip bones over my stomach. Because I thought that meant I couldn’t be pregnant. Right? If there’s no space for a baby inside of my body then it would reassure me just a little bit that there wasn’t one growing in there.
I would push on my stomach with my fist, sometimes even doubling over. I was very determined. I’ve often heard that stubbornness runs in our family. I remember obsessively doing crunches and sit-ups. It is so bizarre to finally connect these disparate experiences that felt so far away from me.
I remember one time in particular at the house of a relative: I found this molded metal work-out aid that you could use to do sit-ups with and I was fascinated by it. That night, after everyone went to bed, I remember going to find it and using it as silently as I could until I couldn’t do any more sit-ups. Then when my stomach muscles ached later (because of course they would) I remember being frightened and panicked that my stomach pains meant I was pregnant. My poor little child brain!
One of my parents told me that they figured I was just uneasy about pregnancy because someone had scared me with some story and I just needed to know how pregnancy really happened. And, get this, I remember the first part of this conversation. I remember sitting down with this parent and the earnest look on their face and I remember the topic being mentioned but my memory snaps out right after that. Blank.
They tell me that after they explained the process of impregnation to me (which was supposed to calm me) I lost my sh*t. I yelled and screamed and panicked. This was a sign that really made them suspicious but because they were in the midst of their own abuse, they were slow to put the pieces together and even slower at figuring out how to escape.
I’ve had severe pains in my core from my ovaries since (I think) before I started my period. I don’t think my parents or any medical professional wanted to admit that it was ovary pain when it could just be stomach pain. So I remember taking medicine for ulcers when I was ten. I think I had both. I had it all in spades.
The more symptoms that they would force back down into my subconscious, the more my mind would try to push back elsewhere. And I was trained to be constantly ashamed that I was such a Problem for my family’s image. It is so ridiculous it’s even a bit comical now but at the time the feelings of shame were crushing and cold. But that’s how he wanted me: frozen and ashamed. Blaming myself. I can’t even think of a word bad enough for him right now.
Today my stomach was doing those flip-flops and my pulse raced. But yesterday was worse. I’m feeling the same distress that I remember from 6th grade. Expressing my anger helped. Experiencing and dealing with these emotions and flash-back feelings is not fun. I can see that it’s necessary, good even, in the long run; but it is definitely uncomfortable, to say the least.