The title here may have led you to believe that I am going to be writing about pregnancy. I am not. I am, however going to endeavor to discuss with you an aspect of femininity that my husband and I have dubbed “wombing.” It is the female disposition towards inclusivity. “Interiority” is the bigger more technical term. I prefer ‘wombing.”
In order to properly understand this concept, we first must understand what our very own bodies tell us about how we are as women. Huh? I know, it may sound a little confusing at first. Stay with me though, because in Truth, it is all so simple, yet so profound!
Our bodies are designed to do many amazing things. The female body is perfectly made to do one of the most amazing things of all: carry and give birth to a new, unique life. Our bodies are made to “open” to our spouse, receive his seed, and then, God willing, if the timing is right, our bodies become the home, the ark, the dwelling of a precious new soul. Then in nine months (or if you are like me, its more like 10) our bodies are beautifully designed to begin the process of labor and give birth to that life. (Did you know that doctors still don’t fully understand how the process of labor and birth begins or works? Talk about the mystery of woman!) Now this physical ability to create and then protect and carry a life affects our whole being as women. It has neuropsychological ramifications for us. We are hard wired to be nurturers. Our brains are also hard wired for lots of distinctly “feminine” things. One of these things is “wombing.”
You see, just as our bodies are created to be little houses and include someone other than ourselves, our minds also do this. Why is it that when you move into a new home, you want to set it up, decorate it, make it homey and comfortable? This has traditionally been called the ‘feminine touch.” I refer to it as “wombing.” Do you see the parallel? Our bodies are designed to ‘make comfortable’ a little visitor for nine months. Our bodies ‘set up house’ and provide everything for a little life to thrive. So too do we have a tendency to do the same thing externally – outside of our bodies, in our sphere of influence. We set up a home, be it a room, an apartment, a whole house, an office, or a cubicle. We touch it up, set it up, and clean it up. Our morphology (the study of the structure of an organism – a female human in this case) is all tied in with our psychology, which, you guessed it, tells us something of Our God, who delights to reveal Himself through His creations.
But lets not get ahead of ourselves. I would like to refer to a good friend, Dr. Philip Mango. He was giving a talk in which he explained why men and women may have differing opinions on whether or a not a room is clean. I will relay it to in my own words, as it is where the term ‘wombing’ was coined:
A man and a woman can enter the same room and have completely different opinions as to whether or not it is clean! The man will most likely say it is and the woman, on the other hand, would say that it is a mess! (I live this reality on a regular basis!)
The reason is not because the man is too lazy to clean it so he enters denial (although that does sometimes happen too… ) It is because the space means something different to the man. If it is a room in his house he psychologically views that space as his “cave”. His place to let down, de-stress and be the man and head of the dwelling (not in a macho way or anything, just in the way God intended). So the man sees a cave, he doesn’t notice whether or not it is a clean cave. It is his and he is the ruler there. This is what matters. So what is happening in his male brain? It is not registering the cleanly or not-so-cleanly state of the room. It is registering the fact that he is home, and home is good.
The woman on the other hands has a completely different reality. The house, and the room in it, are an extension of herwomb (we are talking subconscious, psychological reality here, folks, I don’t want to freak anybody out!) It is where she welcomes her husband. It is where she welcomes and invites others. Therefore, to the woman, it must be made inviting! It must be in order! Anything out-of-place she could sense with radar-like precision because it is her room, her “ womb,” an extension of her very self.
With these two different realities, who do you think would notice and care more whether or not the room is clean? Yep, the woman!
Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong impression here – my house is far from neat. I have 4 kids and a slightly messy husband (I was being generous there). As I write this, there is a huge pile of laundry begging to be folded on my couch and another pile in the basement needing to be washed. I neglected to pick up all the little cars and trucks on the floor in the toyroom and I am pretty sure if I look….yup, in the kitchen….Noah’s Ark is in the middle of the floor, waiting for the flood I guess Just because we may consider our homes to be an “extension of ourselves” doesnt mean that we should become obsessive about keeping them clean! What I am pointing out to you is that when my hubby walks in the door (or it could be my brother, or my father even) if I asked him to clean up he would most likely put away, um, I’d guess about 5 things and be satisfied of its cleanliness. I, on the other hand, can count at least 30 things that are out-of-place, just from my seat at the computer.
This is where the term “wombing” was coined. One particular day we were expecting company and I had begged my husband’s help in cleaning the house to get ready. The time of their arrival was quickly approaching and I was starting to spaz out because the house was not yet clean. “We have to hurry! I thought you were helping me! We have so much left to clean up!” I yelled frantically as I rearranged a stack of books. My husband looked at me completely bewildered. “I thought we were done. It looks fine. Why are you freaking out?” I didn’t want to take the time to give an answer as long this post, so I just looked at him and, completely exasperated, I sputtered, “Because I am wombing!” Dear hubby immediately understood. (we had recently listened to a recording of Dr. Mango’s talk where he references the above scenario.) After the company left (we had a very nice visit) my husband looked at me and said, “Wombing? That was classic!” and we were reduced to laughter at my cleaning spaz-out, and my explanation. The term “wombing” has stuck though, and it really helps my husband to understand just why it’s so darn important for me to arrange the flowers just so and then clean the bathroom (again). Now instead of getting annoyed at me or thinking that he married a woman with severe OCD in the ‘clean room’ department, he just nods his head and smiles as I run around half-crazed. When I start to complain about how messy things are in the house and how I can’t relax, he understands and sets a “clean up date” – a time when he promises to help me tidy it all up. How many stressful arguments we have avoided because of the little term “wombing!” How freeing it is to be able to understand and accept each other in our male and female-ness.
I wouldn’t lay all the reasons for our love of making things pretty at the feet of wombing, though. As women, remember, we are also created to bring beauty into the world. We are created to be the pinnacle of creation, and to show the world God’s beauty. We do this also as an extension of ourselves. The subconscious thought process probably goes something like this,”If I am a beauty, and I am created to give beauty to the world, and this office is an extension of my ‘womb’ then I want to be make it beautiful too, and I want people to feel welcome, and to drink in the beauty…..so I will put fresh flowers on my desk, and hang up that pretty wall calendar, and color coordinate all my desk accessories.”
We can’t get away from it, ladies, beauty, inviting, including…wombing it’s all tied together in this great and captivating mystery called femininity. You truly are a remarkable creature!!
Dear ladies, your bodies, your minds, your beautiful feminine hearts are so deep, so mysterious, and so beautiful! The next time you look in a mirror I pray that you will see not just what you always see, but that you also see an utterly enchanting, completely captivating, mysterious, feminine you – the you that God created to show the world His own mystery and love!
And the next time you walk into a messy room, take a deep breath and remind yourself that your hubby/boyfriend/friend/father/brother won’t think it looks that bad! See, there is a great upside to men and women being different….and understanding it!
What You Never Learned About Your Period and wish you would have known a long time ago! By Jamie Rathjen, M.A., C.F.C.P “Congratulations!” my mom exclaimed as I sheepishly told her that I had just gotten my period. My face flushed and I tried to signal to my mother through