How to Love Your Body After Sexual Abuse
This morning I turned the shower on still half-asleep from the 2 a.m. nursing sessions with my son.
Usually I don’t think twice and just jump right in. Except this time my naked body reflection in the mirror stopped me.
I heard my inner voice say, “Stop and look at your body". I immediately felt shame to look at myself naked.
A shame I’ve carried since I was thirteen and nearly molested several times by my father.
A shame for not having the “perfect" body 12 weeks postpartum.
I am afraid to acknowledge the sexiness of my breasts or the curves of my butt. The pearl porcelain skin I have.
But this time I ignored all the shame. Because it is all lies.
And just stared at my body
I gazed at the shadow of my linea negra down my stomach I have from pregnancy.
The plumpness of my breasts from nursing. The shape of my ass from squats and lifting.
I started to admire and respect the body I have even for a few seconds. I praised myself for the work its put in. For the beauty it carries.
And for its womanhood.
My womanhood was taken from me at thirteen. My father stole it and blamed me for it.
I am still recovering from believing it was my fault. That I was somehow the instigator to get sexually harassed by him and for the womanly body I was developing.
Loving your body post sexual abuse can feel nearly impossible.
The work I am doing and have done is so that I can be excited to feel sexy and safe as a woman in my body.
Some tools I suggest to start loving your body again are:
- Write one thing you find beautiful about your body, i.e. your smile
- Do something that boosts your confidence and gets you connected to your body such as a dance class, yoga, strength training
- Practice pleasing yourself. Experiment with this. If shame comes up let it come up and breathe through it.
- Make a sexy sensual date night for yourself. What would make you feel really good? Food/wine? Soft music? Slow dance?
- Wear something that is slightly out of your comfort zone. This doesn’t mean sleazy. It can be changing your color wardrobe and wearing red if you always wear black. Go bold.
- Mirror work. Sit and stare at your body. Try to admire the flaws and what you find beautiful.
- Meditate. Practice a meditation to heal your body or to connect to your body.
- Write a sexy love letter to yourself from yourself. This might feel challenging but try anyway. You may be surprised by what you write.
These tools have been used many times by me and ones that I find are powerful tricks for the subconscious mind.
I acknowledge you for trying. This is a vulnerable process. To your vulnerability.