…with my period! Okay, brace yourselves, get excited, or click away, readers, because I am going to talk about it. Yea!
On New Year’s day, 2012 (wooo! So excited…) at about 3:30 in the morning I had painful cramps. The pain radiated from the front-and-center of my pelvic bowl. I had a sense of great movement and heat in my low belly. I went to the bathroom about eight-or-so times. It felt as though my uterus was taking control. She was saying that she could not do what she needed to do until the intestines were clear! I know someone might say that I just had the flu that was going around, or that I ate something not-quite-right the night before (that might also be true… It all could be!). But the fact remains that in my sense of it it was the uterus callin’ the shots. It was really profound how the pain would intensify and fade. I woke up one time thinking, “…and I don’t have any Advil.” And I haven’t taken Advil in over 10 years! It had been my go-to cramp reliever in high school and college. But I haven’t had any need of something like that for a really long time. I think that it’s due to yoga that I feel as good as I do throughout my cycle. But anyway on that morning she was saying, “listen to me!” And I couldn’t help but listen.
One thing that’s come up with my explorations in Pelvic Empowerment (also the name of a workshop I recently presented) is the continual cultural indoctrination on period shaming, like the whole “Feminine Hygiene” class of products, and the blue fluid to demonstrate absorbency… Gimme blood, I’m a vampire. Not really. I just think that nature’s cool as she is—at least a part of me does. When many times in reality, I still find myself ashamed when I buy tampons. I think that would actually be one of the great things about using the DivaCup or similar product. It just so happens that my body doesn’t like that product. My skin “down there” becomes tender and swollen and peeing becomes a more sensitive matter when I use it, so I’ve put the DivaCup aside for now (as much as I’d like to use it, for purely environmental reasons, of course…). So I still find myself at the counter in the grocery store with my organic cotton tampons, and declaring publicly that I bleed.
It’s a blessing! …a sign of my health and potential fertility! It’s the way nature did it, and not a punishment from god as some believe. I have no desire to “outsmart mother nature” as Tampax ads assert.
This ad is a real drag. Sorry I posted it, but it seems necessary to make a point. “Mother nature” in the video is dressed as old fashioned and old to boot, as if having your period is so 1954. But women still have periods, people, unless we are on medication to stop them. So we do have radical choices.
Maybe women don’t naturally appreciate their periods until they turn 40, or so (like me), and realize that they might want to try to have a baby if they never did that. Our society certainly doesn’t embrace any changes in activity or behavior for any reason. And most women don’t want to be seen as having any weakness, or anything that might slow them down when it comes to competitiveness in the workplace, or the right to party and be glamorous or model if the Tampax commercial is to be believed…
In the video, the period were it known or seen would ruin everything: her chance to be a star, successful, her white dress, her chance to continue making out with the guy on the set. Pretty manipulative. The model in the commercial is shown to be in power and have control (and not to have to listen to the old bitch who wants to ruin her fun) because of her special tampons that “outsmart mother nature.”
Well, I do change my yoga practice for my period, and also occasionally break the “rules” I sometimes set for myself about how I should practice softer and be gentle with myself. And I recognize that it’s a personal choice for women who practice yoga. But check this out: as the picture below shows, during menstruation a woman’s uterus doubles in both size and weight.
When I saw these models of the uterus of on and off the period it helped me to realize that: hey this thing is real. I always knew something was happening, and had to take care if the “mess” once a month, but somehow it wasn’t as real as seeing more about what is happening to the uterus. This is a significant event that women who are menstruating go through regularly.
We should respect our bodies. And what that exactly means is up to us as we become more informed and experience what we need, and how we best care for ourselves under the different conditions of life.
As for me and my uterus… I plan to respect her call! In 2012 she spoke loud and clear! And I hope to understand the message better as I go forward into this exciting year!
The way I understand it is that it could have been a freak event, like wow (?) bad cramps for the first time in many years… Or she, Ms. Uterus was standing up to be heard. It might sound goofy if it is a new idea, but I believe that the body does contain messages for us. She might have been saying: hello!! I’m here. Pay attention. I can move things.