This post has been calling me for a long time. Today I will share with you my journey of quitting menstruation pain, in a totally natural way.
I will talk about menstruation as if they were a no-taboo. Feel free to share this post with your boyfriends, fathers and male friends, too.
Menstruations are a part of women biological work, an unavoidable gear of life's engine.
Most of the women on this planet experience some sort of menstrual pain or discomfort. For some of them, symptoms are so severe they cannot avoid taking hormonal medications. For others - the majority of them - symptoms manifest as pain in various parts of the body, like belly, back, head... Usually, they drink a pain killer or two and off they are for the day of work! However, it is not that simple.
Even though painkillers are largely available, many women still associate their monthly cycle with days of weakness, impediment, shame and angst.
Why is that?
Why do women have to feel "bad" about a naturally occurring evidence, that is indeed compelling to the survival of our species, as we know it today?
Recently, I read in the news a Bristol firm decided to introduce a 'period policy' to let time off work to those female workers who wish so. Immediately, I thought that was a news worth sharing.
Us, the women, finally getting some slack for when we are in our most vulnerable days? Great! I shared the news on social media, expecting complicity reactions from the most feminist of my fellows. On the contrary, I was confronted with a “how dare you..?” kind of comment.
I got the ... "How dare you sharing this as if it was good news? Don’t you know what happens in Africa, where girls cannot go to school when they are menstruating? They are forced to stay home during their “week of shame” and they are forced to skip several days of education every month as they lack the tools to manage their cycles properly. Eventually this results in girls dropping out of education." ... kind of reaction.
In Africa as in Europe menstruation is taboo. Only, in Europe women have access to better hygienic conditions and medications. So their "week of shame" goes socially unnoticed.
I do not intend to downplay the problem of girls dropping out of education in Africa. But I would not say that 'period policy' is a bed idea either. We cannot compare two culturally divergent environments of a generic 'Africa' and the UK on the sole basis of an apparently similar 'menstrual leave'.
I think the seed of the problem is similar in both of those places. Both here and there society is patriarchal. It goes without saying, men do not have whatsoever idea of how menstruation feels like, and all the emotional and physical turmoil that goes with it. Therefore in a patriarchal society menstruation becomes a taboo. Surrounded by shame.
Women are expected to work or to go to school on their bleeding days as on any other day. As if they were not bleeding. As if they did not have a female reproductive system. As if their bodies worked in the same way masculine bodies work.
However they don't. As long as this difference stays covert underneath a pletora of pills and scented sanitary napkins, how can we call this gender equality?
The point is society prompt us to think menstruation is a dirty business, we need to hide it and pretend it is not big thing.
They created tools and routines that allow us to hide it.
However, why do we hide it?
Because it is shaming.
There is subtle shame around being in a functioning feminine and mother-bound body.
I am proud of being a woman, and womanhood entails monthly bleeding. The creation of life would not be possible without it. Is the creation of life a “dirty” business?
Menstruation is the power of creation. Our monthly melting empowers our (divine) creative power. The moment you accept menstruation as a genuine characteristic of being a woman you are empowered to feel your own power of generation. Acceptance does not mean you would go about in your day as if nothing was occurring. Your entire reproductive system is 'cleaning' and getting ready for a new potential life creation.
I wouldn't say this is "nothing".
Accepting your menstrual cycle means paying respect to it in a devotional manner. You are dedicated to honour the Goddess within you.
The moment you start honouring your bleeding, it will honour you back. No pain, no cramps, no suffering.
How can you honour your cycle? Here are some ideas...
- Take rest.
Set the first day in your calendar as a day entirely dedicated to self-care, indulgence and rest.
Some people might be okay with working, as long as work is not stressful for them. Avoid doing stuff you do not enjoy, f.x. being trapped in a traffic jam and spending 20 mins to look for parking. Instead, that day simply do not drive. Another example, if cooking is not one of your favorite activities, take a day off of the kitchen. Order delivery food, or ask your friend / partner to cook for you. They will be happy to take part into your self-honouring process.
Feel the connection to your inner power of creation.
Meditation is a personal practice. If you are already familiar with this practice, start off the day with an hour long meditation and try to keep the focus on your hips, your lower belly, your genitals, or your head and your back, if that's where you usually feel pain. Imagine an energy of flowing, a light of regeneration, a powerful and effortless motion of cleansing. If you are new to meditation, you start by looking up on the internet a guided meditation for pain.
Allow yourself to be patient.
Try to clear up your schedule and postpone anything which is not necessary today. If you feel restless because you feel like you are not doing enough for that day - if you are the kind of woman used to rush with a million activities through her day - just relax. Actually, you can relax. You are entitled to a half or a full day of relaxation and rest, as indeed you are already doing a super important job. Your body is doing a biologically relevant and necessary job. Can you see it now? You need rest.
Love your belly, love your flow.
Thank you for reading!
Until next time, with love
PS: if you are interested in discussing this kind of topics with me, check out the upcoming events!
Disclaimer: the information contained in this blogpost are my personal experience and opinion. I am not a doctor. Please consult with a health professional if you suffer from sever dysmenorrhea symptoms.
Photo credit: "The Menstruation Tent", Gorilla Sushi, 2010, via Wylio.