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Can you be betrayed by your own body, if it is an intrinsic part of you? Can you personify a part of you to the point of alienation, enough so that it can endure your suffering for you? Suffering so deep to justify the segregation?
It started—almost too ironically—at a family dinner. A wave of sickness washed over me and the delicious smelling stew that I was so looking forward to just moments before turned my stomach in knots. I broke out in sweats and a sudden panic wracked through me, as somewhere in the muffled distance I was asked to give advice to a 17-year-old cousin about her imminent move to Uni. It was only after I saw the blood in my underwear that the pain started.
My body betrayed me in a way so common, but so alien to me. I was pregnant and then I wasn't. I discovered this all in one day, one phone call, and one breath. And damn it, how could I not feel a little let down? I did not, and still do not, currently want children, so my contraception failed me. But that's almost to be expected—it's man-made and so naturally unnatural, and imperfect. It was my very own body that I feel had really, truly deceived me. After all, was it not supposed to be on my side? Was it not my side? I did not want a child, but I wanted the right to know what was going on inside of me, the right to choose my own path.
It's a fate that befalls a quarter of all pregnancies. For me, it was a bittersweet loss, especially bitter in a way I still cannot fully articulate. But do you want to know the kicker? The real betrayal was when my doctor said, "Of course, you'll have to take extra precaution for a while. You are extremely fertile after a miscarriage."
Apparently, it's my body’s way of righting a wrong, making up for its loss, one that it dictated on my behalf in the first place. So you are telling me my body doesn't grieve like so many after such an event? Does it not feel the pain my mind feels? Does it not ever bloody relent?
The answer is no.
Our wombs do not care for the ache that wracks us. As far as it is concerned, we must do our duty. We must reproduce. And it is not a matter of natural bodily functions. It is a case of embodied misogyny.
Never before have the words of Germaine Greer rung so true; women are nothing but "wombs one legs." Now, those of you clued up about the most recent opinions of Greer regarding body identity (check out the linked video for a quick fill in on the topic), this might seem slightly out of touch to be using her to back up my argument, but I feel her misguided views on the transgender community only cement my belief that our bodies are the weapon that a misogynistic society uses against all of its unwilling citizens.
So, I am left with this thought; my own bloody womb is not on my side. It's a patriarchal tool for a gendered, oppressive society that does not allow us the virtue of pain and time to heal. Our mission is clear and we, who miscarry and abort, are failures.
Now, what do I do with this information? Now I know my body is a bloodied battlefield, how do I find peace? Can I ever find peace? Now is not the time to answer this question. Coming will be words from amazing people who have faced body crisis. Maybe we will find the answer together.