There is a story that my Mexican grandfather told me since I was young. He explained to me that for some of us women, we are just born with a reproductive system that makes it very difficult to bear children. He believed there would be a lesson one day that came out of my story about my reproductive challenges, and he was definitely correct. He warned me that I shouldn’t get caught up in the grief that comes along with being born with fertility problems. He told me that when we allow our mental focus to linger in a dark place of grief or anger for too long, it allows an opening for demonic forces to torment our souls and our minds. He warned me of a particular Latin American spirit who is called La Llorona.
My grandfather warned me that La Llorona likes to go after young children and grieving mothers. He told me that I shouldn’t worry about being sad about the children that I can’t have, but I should just dispose of my defective uterus as soon as possible and adopt a child instead. He explained to me that I should view my inevitable hysterectomy not as a failure but as an opportunity to transform into a butterfly. I ignored his warning and insisted on doing things my own way (which meant pushing my body nearly to the brink of destruction multiple times in order to have children of my own). He was right about what it did to my mind. I was consumed by the grief of suffering through 8 miscarriages and 2 vanished twins. I felt like a failure that I created that much suffering and misery for myself and my family. I longed to hold the babies I had lost and struggled with the anger at WHY I had to loose so many pregnancies, and after going through all of that pain, why did I suddenly find myself being ridiculed and tormented by other women because of all of my infant losses? I was shamed publicly all over Facebook by one woman who I considered a friend, and mocked publicly by women I didn’t even know, calling me a “baby killer” after another parent must have leaked info about my medical chart. It’s absolutely inhumane that anyone would shame a woman because of her reproductive journey.
When I went into my hysterectomy on July 6, 2018, I was consumed by guilt, physical pain and emotional pain. I felt like a horrible mother because my boys were tormented by the frustration of living in a house that they said was “full of ghost babies”. They were begging to move and I couldn’t bring myself to seriously consider it. Even though our history in this house had several dark years, this is still my home and I love it here. I felt like I was failing them as a mother since I couldn’t seem to find my physical strength. I actually wished and prayed that I would die in surgery and God would allow my husband to find a healthier woman who would be able to do a better job at raising those poor boys.
My experiences with surgery are strange. I don’t process anesthesia the same way as most people, and anesthesiologists always have to play a guessing game with me since I am allergic to the anesthesia that is used in most surgeries. As a result, every time I’ve had surgery, I’ve had vivid dreams that I’ve traveled to another realm while I am under anesthesia. There was actually a long series of dreams when I was in my hysterectomy, but the most poignant dream was one part where a woman dressed all in red, with a red veil and long bony hands was reaching out and grabbing me. She wrapped her hands around me and I couldn’t stop crying out in Spanish about the daughters I had lost. Eventually a hand grabbed me and freed me from the hands of that terrifying woman.
I wasn’t free though once I woke up. I continued to struggle with the grief and continued to have dreams about the red woman who I really believe was probably La Llorona. I finally had to get to a place where I realized what was happening and made a conscious decision not to let any negative spirits or forces affect me. I am exactly the mother my boys need, and I have found my strength again and the courage to raise them in this often utterly terrifying world. Now that I’ve found my strength, I hope to help other women find their strength too.
We all as a global community need to start being more sensitive to women’s reproductive issues and emotional sensitivity. My journey with my own reproductive health has taught me so many lessons. My body is highly sensitive and my doctor grandfather explained to me that means that my body starts setting off alarms when something is wrong. Two of the things that I discovered were making my own reproductive health worse were talcum powder and food (dairy/meat) with lots of extra added hormones. Once I eliminated using talc powder, I stopped getting the massive growths on my ovaries that had plagued me for most of my life. I was a vegetarian for most of my life but once I started eating meat (to try to compromise with my meat-eating Texan husband), I suddenly started having major problems with uterine fibroids. I think some women may be fine when eating lots of meat, but for me, I should have trusted my own intuition that my body just does not process animal proteins well. I even discovered that semen allergies can be a red flag warning that your bladder is sensitive to the bacteria naturally present in semen!
There is a big taboo still to this day in Catholic communities when it comes to talking about birth control. I will say with authority that the way that my body was naturally designed, I would not have made it to the age of 20 years old without hormone intervention to control my daily massive hemorrhaging. Thanks to medical intervention via birth control and other hormone supplements, I was able to stay alive and amazingly become a mother and carry two big boys to full term. It was truly a miracle and it wouldn’t have been possible without a whole lot of hormone supplementation and a whole lot of faith and prayers. I pray that one day the global Catholic community will realize that we are evolving as a society and the more toxic our world becomes, the more women need life saving interventions such as birth control and sometimes even abortions, for life-saving (or sanity-saving) reasons. I know there were probably five different times that I would have most likely died from a pregnancy. Thankfully for me, my body did not have the ability to sustain a pregnancy naturally on its own so I never had to make the heart-wrenching decision to terminate a pregnancy, but many women I know have had to make that decision. We collectively as a society need to learn to find better ways to educate and support women instead of shoving judgment and shame down everyone’s throats.
My grandpa also explained to me that in Latin America and North American Indigenous people, some of us are just born to be healers. It is a designation on your path in life from our Creator, and it is important that we follow our instructions and our path in life. When those of us who are born healers allow our souls to be consumed by darkness or greed, it turns our soul into a demonic force. My grandfather warned me that he believed La Llorona was present in MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, and he tracked a Satanic cult he discovered that was holding meetings in that neighborhood. I didn’t used to believe in any of it, but then I read stories about how MacArthur Park really has had a dark history of unexplained drownings in the park. I also learned about how Los Feliz also has a dark history thanks to the curse of Petronilla Feliz after her land was stolen.
I’ve been running scared most of my adult life because just like the paths of my ancestors before me, I seem to always stumble into places where I learn information that people don’t want me to know. I’ve realized for months now that the more I continue to speak out against injustice in the world, the more I anger certain groups. I’m done being scared. I have survived living in the heart of two different horrible riots here in California, I was hit by a car on my bicycle twice, shoved while standing near the edge of a cliff twice, beaten, tortured, literally poisoned multiple times, drugged and had my body used against my will in Satanic ritual. I’ve also survived multiple instances of anaphylactic shock, and survived over a dozen excruciatingly difficult surgeries. I’ve had broken bones and torn ligaments in nearly every area of my body. I’ve survived cancer scares with five different areas of my body. I spent close over 20 years of my life with a grandmother who kept trying to kill me repeatedly via witchcraft (obviously she didn’t succeed since I’m still here and she is long gone). All of that points to a few things to me…First, I am an incredibly resilient person. I’ve gone through an inhumane amount of trauma in my life but it has evolved my body into a hypersensitive sci-fi marvel. Second, perhaps my grandparents were right…It does seem like I am on a very particular assignment in my life. I’m going to do my best to try to make sure I follow my instructions. Third, I have learned a whole lot about how to survive through some of life’s most excruciatingly painful situations and I hope to share those lessons with the rest of the world. Sometimes I struggle and react in anger but I’m trying to get better about working on the assignment given to me by my grandfather. I’m going to educate everyone I can reach so no one else has to live in fear of any of the things I’ve gone through in my life. I am confident that as long as I follow my instructions, that God will handle the rest.