Friday, June 12, 2015

Not Your Gym Teacher's Guide to Menstruation

I'm gonna have to save my media rant for another day, but I'll let you in on a secret: things are only as horrible as you imagine them to be.

It's true.
Attitude makes all the difference.

So my question then is, why have we bought into this idea that a woman's menstrual cycle should be the equivalent to damnation on earth?

Don't believe me?
Walk up to someone right now and say "menstruation". Or "cramps". Or "period blood."

Depending on who you're talking to, the reactions will range from mild curiosity to abject horror.

Words are important.
Women who use hypnosis to manage childbirth pain have this figured out like pros. They talk about waves, power, rushes, sensations, etc.

Does that mean that contractions don't hurt? Absolutely not. It just means they're putting their focus on something besides the pain.

So bear with me for a second use your imagination.

Imagine that when you were 12(ish) and you started your period, that your parents pulled you aside and told you how happy they were for you.
That they said, "Your body is powerful and amazing. You're at the threshold of womanhood and you have this incredibly important sign that all is working just as it should be."
Imagine that you dad said, "I don't ever want you to be embarrassed to talk about it. Almost every woman I have ever respected has experienced this moment. You are special to me, and your body is something to be honored."
Imagine that your mom said, "welcome to the club darling! It's true, there are parts of it that can hurt and even make you wanna swear. But this gift of life we have, it's not anything to be ashamed of. It's part of why we're here. Hold your head high. You are precious. The hormones are a wild ride. Give yourself grace. The blood can be difficult to manage at times. Teach yourself to laugh. And if cramps have you curled up in bed, know that your body is working just as it should and that your mama will always be there with a cup of hot cocoa and our favorite chick flick. Honor yourself as we honor you."


Every interaction with our daughters is a chance for growth and connection. What will you choose?

There is power in knowing yourself. 
There is power in knowing your body. 
It is important that we raise a generation of women who are not afraid to look in the mirror. 

That begins with education. Don't be afraid to talk about these things with each other. Empower yourselves with the knowledge that is out there. 

Most teenage girls don't truly understand what the menstrual cycle is. Heck, most women don't know or care until they are trying to get pregnant. That needs to stop. If we want the world to take our body seriously, then that must start with us.

So here it is.

The average cycle lasts 28 days. 
The Day 1 is the first day of your period. 
Through the next 28 days, your body will prepare for pregnancy and then shed the weeks of preparation when no baby making happens. 

If this is not happening, you should talk to your care provider.

If you are experiencing extreme discomfort, you should talk to your care provider.

If you are bleeding too much, then you should talk to your care provider.

Take control. Track your cycles. Keep a record. Talk to your care provider if you notice anything is off. It is YOUR body. The power of creation is YOU. Honor it, celebrate it, and protect it.

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