by Julia Ong

(first posted January 2010)

I have a friend who was teaching in an all girls school.
She has been having difficulty with her class of girls.
She despised them for the problems they were giving her
so she kept consoling herself that God has given her sons and not daughters.
Her class grew to be more and more problematic over the 2 years,
confirming her conviction that girls are simply undesirable.

The focus of the problem was on the class and certain girls
and the class had grown notorious in school over time.
I was sent to help her because of the problems the girls were getting into.
Only to find that this teacher was caught in the dynamics of the class,
held hostage by her own hatred of herself as a woman
and then projecting her disgust onto her students,
especially those who were suffering in dysfunctional families.

I was with her for about 5 months.
I began to discover that she was anorexic due to her self-hatred.
And she had a miscarriage sometime back by psychologically rejecting her baby,
and later felt relieved that the fetus was female!
Not a waste!

While she kept on her litany of how bad it was to be a girl,
she got pregnant with her 4th child.
Before the baby was old enough to be scanned for her sex,
she went for a DNA test to find out.

Lo and behold, the baby was a girl!!!

Over the next few months,
we talked about being women.
Over time she became aware that her self-hatred
was but the cultural conditioning of her parents.
Over many exchanges, she realized that her self-hatred
was simply inconsistent with her belief and relationship with God.

We did this using the schema of the
Emotional Reaction and Reflective Response,
developed for use for values education.
As I discussed and prepared her to use the schema for her class…

A miracle began to happen in the last trimester of the pregnancy…

She began to eat for her baby girl,
She began to worry about how she has been communicating rejection
She began to see that she could choose to accept herself
She saw that this acceptance which could not be given to her by her parents
need not stop her from giving it to herself and her own daughter.

On the 2nd of Jan 2010,
This colleague texted me to tell me that the girl would be arriving at 2.30pm,
She asked for prayers.
That evening she texted me again
to thank me with joy for the precious gift of her girl.

Then, a week later, she could not imagine
how she could possibly love her daughter so much!
She was in deep joy and great love for her girl…
thanking God all the time for the gift of the three of us.

Join me therefore in praise of God…
Our God who loves us as we are
Women and men God created us all
There is no need for women to carry their shame
There is no room for self-pity
There is the Heart-womb of God ready to conceive us in love
Waiting for us to birth ourselves into precious being of beauty!

Rejoice, rejoice in this wonderful Epiphany!

Julia, ij