Veronica Rottman is a Holistic Pelvic Care Practitioner, a birth doula trainer, yoga teacher, and womb healing guide. Her aim is to hold space for healing through a trauma-informed lens, guiding her clients through embodied re-education of the pelvic bowl, the menstrual cycle, birth, and more. She integrates her experience working with clients along the full spectrum of pelvic and womb care with her skills as a yoga teacher and doula to help guide clients back to balance and embodiment. Veronica engages in healing from a root-cause approach that considers all realms including the body, mind, and spirit.
Veronica holds space for private clients, classes, immersions, and retreats internationally. She is a mother of two little boys and is very passionate about her career in helping others find well-being through pelvic embodiment and womb healing.
In the below interview, Veronica speaks with Nyssa about trauma-informed womb healing and pelvic embodiment.
On your Instagram, you speak about womb-healing without direct physical touch. We'd love to learn more about why you call in that specific offering.
There are so many layers to answering this question, one being that on some level within the spectrum of trauma, all of us have experienced events or conditioning that leave an imprint on us. Speaking of trauma, WHO recently declared that we are in an epidemic in regards to sexual assault with ⅓ women experiencing it in their lifetime. Personally, I haven’t worked with a single client who hasn't experienced major boundary violations such as sexual assault, rape, birth trauma, and more. Then there is a whole other layer of conditioning we are taught about what it means to be in a woman’s body in this world involving shame, victim-blaming, and so much more denigration of the feminine. This is the most common reason folks don't feel as comfortable using their own touch in embodiment practices.
On top of all of this, we have repeatedly been taught that only other people are qualified to touch our bodies, specifically the parts of our pelvic bowl. While using our own touch in a non-clinical, non-sexual way can be incredibly empowering, it can also make someone feel inadequate or unqualified. This is usually something that just takes time and consistency to break through.
When we break this down from a physiological perspective, research shows that we hold emotion and memory in our fascia, the interconnected web of tissue that coats the entire body and is densely arranged in our pelvic bowl.
This fascial tissue is the matrix through which our nerves travel, meaning it is directly connected to our nervous system. Much like the immune system, when our nervous system receives threats to our survival, it turns on an immunity response. This can manifest as feelings of dissociation, anxiety, depression, and generally feeling uncomfortable in our own skin. While this is actually a very intelligent response to trauma that is meant to protect us, it means that we need to work very gently towards healing and embodiment. Intensity can perpetuate that nervous system immunity response, so building towards embodiment with titration and permission to pause is essential for whole-person healing.
Why might someone be uncomfortable touching their womb and/or pelvic floor?
Our own touch is highly intelligent and a powerful antidote to this trauma, but it can carry an emotional charge to it that can register as “too much, too fast” in the body. This is why learning embodied consent, our ability to hear our body’s “yes” and “no” is vital for knowing where to start, along with breathing, meditation, and movement practices.
I also think we are swimming in a culture that teaches women to hand over the authority of their own bodies to others. Meaning, we are taught that “professionals” or lovers are the only ones qualified enough to be touching these more intimate parts of ourselves, which belong to us and us alone. Over time, we can lose our bodily autonomy which can make us more vulnerable to boundary violations. I see this a lot as a doula and experienced it myself during birth.
How would you suggest someone frame their thinking around exploring a part of their body they aren't comfortable or don't feel entirely safe with?
I would reiterate that this is a perfectly healthy response to the world we live in and that having a guide to hold space for embodiment practices is a great place to start. Remember that honoring your window of capacity for sensation, emotion, and healing is crucial. We are living in a disembodied culture that fails to honor, and truly care for the life-giving power of a woman’s body, so I just want to pause and celebrate anyone who courageously shows up for themself through pelvic embodiment.
What exercises or tools would you offer someone facing this challenge?
The breath is the single most gentle yet effective doorway to embodiment, especially when it comes to the pelvic bowl. Start with your breath, no need to change it, just become aware. Then gradually build on each breathwave, inviting it to migrate into your pelvic bowl. Allow your awareness to follow each inhale and each exhale until your pelvic bowl is fully saturated with every breath cycle. Notice how this shifts the contour of your body with each wave, as well as how you feel. Stay with your breath for as long as it feels good, feel how it heals you from the inside out.
When it comes to movement and self-touch practices, keep in mind that the body isn’t made of separate parts. In fact, it is a whole, unified, interconnected system with pathways that impact your pelvic floor directly like the feet and even the jaw and throat. Actually, the cervix connects directly with the brain via the vagus nerve and is always communicating with us about how safe we feel. We can also simply place our hands on our hips and breathe in a way that brings balance to the tissues of our womb space. Working from the outer edges towards our internal landscape is a softer, trauma-informed entryway to embodying the deepest parts of ourselves.
What's the single piece of advice, ceremony, or routine you'd offer a hesitantly curious person hoping to connect with or heal their womb?
My single piece of advice would be that all of you are welcome in pelvic embodiment. There is no right or wrong way to feel as you uncover the full map of who you are.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks for all you do for women and birthing people, Nyssa! The vast majority of the time, we only see a pelvic floor physical therapist, midwives, or doctors when something is already wrong with our pelvic floor, vagina, vulva, or womb. This could easily be prevented through a trauma-informed embodied education around how important it is to look at, touch, and tend to our pelvic bowls ourselves.
Learn more about Veronica’s work by following her on Instagram @veronica_constance.
You can hear more of Veronica's amazing insights during our upcoming Viva La Vulva virtual Knowledge series where she'll be joining Pelvic Floor Therapist Kim Vopni on Thursday, September 30th for a session that covers all of things pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum.