In this article Vanessa McHardy reveals how the simple act of checking in with herself, via daily notes, has had a big affect on the quality of her monthly cycle.
Four months ago during my period the pain in my left hip was so painful that I was taking nurofen with no relief gained (I take painkillers once in a blue moon). My periods were so heavy on the first and second day it required me to change my pad every hour. They lasted four days max and I had PMT for a week before the period began. My last period I had slight pain for a few hours, it was only heavy for a few hours and lasted 7 days.
So what happened in those three months? I have taken no drugs, had no medical intervention, so what was it – how could there be such a significant change?
It was all inspired by Natalie Benhayon and Sara Williams and the Esoteric Women’s Presentations that occur once a month, when they started presenting the possibility of periods being a gift, a point to notice what’s going on for you, a reflection of how you have been living. One suggestion was to start a period diary which I did about 15 days before my next period after ‘the period from hell’ (tpfh). All I did was at the end of the day write on my icalendar a couple of bullet points of how I had felt, how my body felt that day, i.e. low energy levels, bit grumpy, felt good, so no lengthy essay or meaningfuls. The next period was amazing in that it was virtually pain free and instead of my usual four days it went for seven, a first in the 30 years of having my period, the flow was more consistent and with a usual heavy flow but not as intense. Well, I thought this was incredible and was inspired to go and get myself into the 21st century and bought an iPhone so I could have the period diary application. This followed the same requirement from ‘me to notice how I had been and felt that day’, just with charts, symptoms and moods to play with, I do love a chart so this made me very happy. Second period (since tpfh) was remarkable in that it was pain free, my flow was significantly reduced but again lasted seven days.
At this point I started to wonder if there actually was a link between how I am with myself and how my body is? So I also asked myself the question what would happen if I actually listened to how my body felt during the day, moment to moment? If my body had responded so significantly with only a minimal effort and commitment, what else was possible? And at that point I let in an old pattern of self-sabotage and created a situation that didn’t need creating so during my 3rd period (since tpfh) the pain in my hip returned but was slight and at the back not the front and as described in the opening paragraph the flow was so much lighter, with the blood being very bright red and clear; also I only had slight swelling of my breasts with no feelings of wanting to kill my beloved : ).
Well, this month I updated to another period app that lets me put in my own feelings and symptoms which is great and I’ve upped my commitment to morning and night checking in. So I know my next period is in 15 days, I have a fully stocked cupboard of pads to support me and I’m looking forward to what it will have to tell me about how I’ve been living this month. Suddenly, my relationship with my periods is an unfolding adventure, it’s more profound than that but I’m in a light mood so will go with that for now, tonight may be a different story, I’m committed to staying tuned!
On a more serious note, what I hope I have shown is how powerful we are when we tune into how we feel, when we honour ourselves, when we pay attention to ourselves and believe we are worth paying attention to. For so many women this is not the case and our body reflects this in how it communicates this disharmony through physical symptoms. We are not at the mercy of our lives and body, we don’t have to put up with exhaustion, pain, cysts or crippling period pain. The power to heal is truly available to you, you don’t need anybody else to do it for you, just the glorious you, paying attention and honouring how you feel.
by Vanessa McHardy (age 41), Integrative Child Psychotherapist, UK