Over the past few years I have become increasingly interested in uteri (yup, that’s the plural of uterus). After becoming a Doula in 2011, and adding to my Yoga certification prenatal training, I began to spend most of my time thinking about the womb: what it does, how it does it and how we can take better care of it.
I know when I was growing up “getting your period” was not discussed much. As teenagers we talked about with sarcastic annoyance, only slightly masking our actual excitement at being part of the grown up club. In my twenties it was more of a nuisance than anything else – a year of intense exercise and eating too little took it away; it was the thing that mean you weren’t pregnant; it was the thing that made the trip down the shore a little more complicated or for some of my friends the thing that kept you out of school for a day in pain.
I didn’t really really know much about it until I was a doula and miscarried myself and really started to wonder why. Why does it last as long as it does? Why does it repeat? How does it affect other parts of my body and how do other things affect my cycle? If only I had space to address all those things here! I can tell you that loving your period will help you to love yourself more. It will help you understand your body on a deeper level and appreciate it, no matter how much you may feel it is a machine (and possibly a broken one). Loving your period will help you release body shame, emotional baggage around being a woman, possibly even begin to heal from a difficult pregnancy or birth. It’s certainly a good place to start! So here’s what I WILL share with you today: what my studying, personal experience and work with clients has helped me discover – ways to really love your period.
1. Don’t cook.
I hate cooking when I have my period. Though I no longer get any PMS symptoms, I still feel (as I like to say) very “resty” the first day of my period. And I think there’s a good reason for that. It’s meant to be a day of rest. Sure, we can’t all climb into a red tent and burn sage and drink wine (but, ohmyword do I ever want to!) You can however, plan for a night off of cooking. Have a crock pot frozen meal ready to go or plan for your spouse to pick up that duty that specific day. If you don’t normally do the cooking – choose that other household chore you usually take care of and take a day off.
2. Start over.
Every month (hopefully anyway) you get a chance to start over. Your body literally sheds dead weight and makes room for something new. If you’re trying to get pregnant, each period can feel like a loss, I get that. But with every loss is a new opportunity to do something new and different. If you don’t bleed with the new moon, you can still use the start of bleeding as a time to set an intention for your next cycle. What do you want to accomplish in the next 4 weeks? What is your heart’s desire? What do you need?
My last two intentions have been “to stay the course” and “to take out the unnecessaries”. The first was about not trying to add in a million new ideas to my business or to our life for that matter, and just “let the water boil” as my coach would say. The second was about taking off the schedule the things that weren’t really serving my bigger goals or weren’t really working no matter how much I wanted them to. What’s your intention this cycle?
3. Stay warm.
A little more practically, period is similar to postpartum when you’re bleeding and losing things from your body. Staying warm is very useful to your health (keep circulation moving, mentally keeps you from feeling fatigued), but also useful for reducing cramping and pain (you grip muscles more when you’re cold). So if you plan to go for a crisp morning jog or hike, save it for next weekend. Sip warm tea.
4. Go with the Apana Vata flow.
In Ayurvedic medicine the belief is that women live longer because they are given the opportunity to naturally detox every single month. What a gift! The energy that eliminates toxins in the body (and mind) is called apana vata. To get in line, don’t do any inversions in your yoga practice, sip lemon water and get rid of any emotional baggage weighing you down. Have a little dark chocolate but skip the sugary overload as it will make cramps worse, interfere with natural detox, and increase feelings of depression.
5. Don’t waste it.
Use this time as a built-in appointment for self-care. That silly magazine you’ve been wanting to read but you never do because you’ve got other things to do? Today’s your day. Need a pedicure but been putting it off? Schedule your appointment for the start of your cycle. If you can avoid it – skip big parties and major work events, schedule project deadlines nowhere near your bleeding time (try the full moon instead!)
I hope that this helps you enjoy your cycle, and actually find it a time of nourishment and deeper self-awareness! If you don’t have someone to walk you through your fertility or postpartum hormonal wellness, let’s get in touch! Schedule your Blissful Mama Breakthrough Session with me now by clicking here!
Be well Mamas!