Setting Root Wisdom off with a Bloody Bang!

…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.

Artist's models to actual size in person. On the left is a uterus that hasn't given birth and is not menstruating. The uterus on the right shows the change in size during menstruation. And when holding the actual models you can feel the significant difference in weight, too.

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.

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20 thoughts on “Setting Root Wisdom off with a Bloody Bang!

  1. I really liked reading this. What is the photo at the top?
    I just saw an ad this week for some kind of pad that was in a bright colored wrapping and the ad was saying, “why should we be embarassed to be having our periods?” New strides?

  2. Great article! Though I haven’t tried them yet myself, I have heard great things about sea sponges instead of tampons and cloth pads instead of regular disposable pads. I cloth diaper my son and have some cloth pads for myself but have not tried the sea sponge but many mamas swear by them that they work and are just as comfortable as tampons. You might think about doing some research on that because, I too, have considered alternative options like the diva cup and such and those just DO NOT work for me. But just the thought of what tampons possibly can do to me is scary. So I am leaning toward the sea sponge. The cloth pads are pretty soft and amazing too!

      • Sea sponges are somewhat problematic, especially on heavier flow days. I used them years ago, and gave them up because they leaked easily, would gush if you sneezed. Cloth pads are my favorite.

      • Just came across your blog and I love this post! I recently switched to 100% organic cotton non-applicator tampons (your average tampon is made of polyester and rayon which can severely disrupt your Ph balance). Not only are they more absorbent, but they are much less wasteful! I’d switch to rags, but my flow is super heavy and full of clots, I would seriously just make a mess.

  3. The same thing was happening to me, severe cramps and painful bowel movements. I had to go on Depo Provera, to stop my periods, they were so painful,I would simply pass out. Don’t even think about being intimate during that time of the month, with out menses, I’d break out in a cold sweat afterwards and suffer severe cramps. I’ll be 54, this year. I always thought it was because I was exposed to such high doses of synthetic estrogen in vitro. Mum took the ” Wonder Drug” her OB/GYN prescribed to prevent miscarriages. It was the first recognized teratogenic They called us DES Daughters, who suffered through all the manifestations of the drug we were exposed to at conception and through full pregnancy. 17 surgeries later…it’s been one helluva roller coaster ride !!! Now, we are looking forward to Menopause…and breast cancer statistics that are horrifically high. I wish you an understanding husband, and a lot of patience. HUG

  4. Totally bookmarked your page. It is so hard anymore to find others who are positive about the workings of their bodies and who are not ashamed of being a healthy adult female.

    Personally, after reading several feminist books about menses (I’ll totally find them for you and give you titles because they are fascinating reads), I took a whole different view of my menses. Before, I was on the Mirena- which totally wrecked my body (killed my thyroid, gave me the crazies literally, because I was that .05% that if super bad side effects are going to happen, it would be to me), and while I thought I felt that I was liberated because I didn’t bleed I couldn’t figure out why I still felt oddly trapped. I sat down one day and thought “why do I feel liberated? Why is it that 3-4 days a month extra of not bleeding make me feel this way?” I thought about what it meant to feel that way, and why and the only conclusions I could figure out were A: out of convenience, and B: because “I could have sex whenever” which the OBGYNs push now… and that thought almost literally made me vomit- that I had made myself into some perfect non-bleeding sex zone which is ideal not to women, but to men. For men!!! After I had it removed, I felt so much better not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. I had the paragard (copper IUD) put in and boy did I bleed for the first 6 months (almost like the flood gates were opened after so long). After the initial bleeding I started to get in touch with my body. I could tell when I was going to start my period down to 3-4 hours. I could feel my body shifting through hormone changes and watched how my diet fluctuated with the needs it had. I could feel almost everything which was amazing! I could climax more, my skin was better, my hair stopped falling out, I stopped putting on drastic pounds! It was an amazing and almost shocking difference!

    All of my life (since 16) I had been on some sort of hormonal birth control- so my menses and ovulation were not dictated by when my body was ready to but when the drugs and “my convenience” was ready to… which was not the true me. Now that my body goes about it’s business regularly, I’m amazed at it and fascinated by how it works- and I’m now 30. Part of me is almost heartbroken that I could not feel this liberated and experience myself like I have in the past, but another part is also very glad I was extremely responsible with my sex life and made sure I was protected on all fronts from any mishaps and that I waited until marriage to experience this freedom.

    Now that I’ve learned how to love and respect myself and my healthy monthly functions my life is so much more enjoyable and I have a dang good excuse to get that piece of chocolate cake. 😀

    • Thanks, Nicole! I appreciate reading that!
      ” I had made myself into some perfect non-bleeding sex zone which is ideal not to women, but to men.”

      Yes, we need to discover our female sexuality: not just a open sex-zone for men…

  5. i am going on 47.. and i decide to rest 2 days when i get my periods just because il feel to do it. may be my body is already changing so i get more tired.. younger, i was never tired with periods

  6. This should be in health classes! I am 29 years old and have a masters’ degree (education) and I didn’t know this. Thank you for the models!

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