Re-claiming my Relationship with my Period

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

227 thoughts on “Re-claiming my Relationship with my Period

  1. “I’m committed to staying tuned” The truth is always flowing from our body just waiting for us to tune in.

  2. Part of our education as young girls should absolutely be that we learn about how honouring our bodies is what allows us to live in greater connection to our inner-wisdom, our knowing of who we are and the power we hold. Learning how our cycles support our development and evolution is key to living with true confidence. I can feel how different my relationship with my menstrual cycle would have been if this was taught in school – ‘periods being a gift, a point to notice what’s going on for you, a reflection of how you have been living.’ Super honouring of who we are in essence and of the sacredness that is innate in us all to live in connection to.

  3. Thank you for sharing your empowering and developing relationship with your body and your period. Our bodies are constantly communicating with us and it is remarkable how much changed for you just in the first month and then you have the opportunity to go deeper every month and respond to what your body is showing you. Banishing victimhood and committing to loving yourself every day is an amazing recipe for life and a beautiful reflection for all.

  4. Reading this again gets me wondering, what if I don’t have to put up with feeling tired, having tension in relationships or feeling mediocre. How does my body feel in those moments and by paying attention to myself what can happen?

  5. This is a beautiful sharing and shows how much we can support ourselves and in doing so how we can change how we relate to us, to life and in this instance our periods. One thing I especially loved in what is shared here is the acknowledgement of how you feel now but being willing to stay tuned and see how you feel later … so no attempt to own or try and keep how we feel, just an on-going observation of feeling. This allows us to observe life and be free in each and every moment.

  6. Be aware and respond to what our body shares and we can live healthier and more vital lives, it is something I am learning and have been for some years…there is always more, much like our potential, it is unending and is solely dependent on our choice to be committed to caring for our bodies.

    1. Our health is within our own hands: this is an amazing learning and a continuous unfolding and study- that we make decisions each day, each moment in how we are with ourselves, and our bodies, that have an influence on our health and vitality. Thank you for this call to go deeper, to really look at how I feel and the correlation between how I live every day.

  7. I find that when I connect and honour my body in this way, it brings me back to a sacredness that I know deep within, there is a lovely and expansive feeling where I know a deep love.

    1. Yes so true – It is incredibly beautiful to feel the power of our sacredness and inspiring to know that this is everything we are and the quality from which we can live.

  8. How amazing and simple it actually is to honour bodies, crazy how we can spend most of our lives ignoring this fact, like you Vanessa I have found The Our Cycles App to be enormously supportive in helping me to be aware of my own cycle and the impact this has. Brining awareness to my body and my cycle has been fundamental for me in going from extremely painful periods every month to periods that are now most of the time pain free.

  9. The absolute simplicity of checking in with our body and honouring it is not rocket science, but it is a science all of its own that each woman has the ability to explore, enjoy, play with with deep love, honour.

    1. Yes we are offered the commitment to exploring the science of the body and deepening our relationship with ourselves.

  10. The introductory paragraphs to this article are significant in themselves. For a woman to read and feel the difference between four months in a women’s cycle is enough to bring an awareness that the pain, and discomfort many live with during their period is not a life sentence. That there is choice and that that choice is up to each woman to individually choose.

  11. Absolutely Vanessa, it is always great to hear how honouring ourselves can and does make such a big difference in our lives, ‘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’.

  12. Life totally changes and becomes so much richer when considering all these things you wrote about. What if our periods have to do with how we live? It can’t hurt to try this!

  13. It is quite shocking to consider we are that powerful isn’t it?! That we negate our relationships with our bodies to the point they need to talk to us that loudly. It shock me anyhow.

  14. What a great sharing Vanessa, and to hear how simple things can have such a profound effect, like noting how we feel daily thus allowing us to join the dots with the fact that how we are impacts our body and the biggest thing is that small changes can have such a huge impact, it shows how much we have in our own hands. And I love the inquisitiveness and joy you share in how you now are with your period, an adventure to see what it’s showing next, it had me smiling … I too have learned to embrace my periods and all they show me and I’m reminded not to stop exploring but to continue to feel and see what is next to be seen in what my body tells me.

  15. ” 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.” Love this. We don’t have to give our power away to doctors and medicines – us them to support us maybe, but we also have a choice to make changes in our own lifestyles – and make a difference to our health.

  16. What you have shared highlights the power of developing a loving and honouring relationship with our bodies and the cycles we are part of, so we can discover all that we are and live the power of our sacredness as woman, in which we are a gift to the world.

  17. An inspiring read and wise words Vanessa. Bringing ourself to a stop and truly be aware of what is going on within the body is a simple and profound key to self healing. “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.”

  18. For a long time I didn’t have a period, until I started to use the Our Cycles app daily and this allowed me to touch base with my body and get back into my ‘flow’ (pun intended) of life, checking in, building a rhythm etc.

  19. Awesome and empowering blog, showing we can heal ourselves – in fact that is what the body is trying to do all of the time – heal and flourish – and when we start listening and paying attention to it, we make its job a million times easier.

  20. This is quite wonderful and thank you for sharing Vanessa , is it not amazing the beautiful consequences that can unfold from taking personal responsibility.

  21. I have been wondering for a while about checking if I am part of any cycles. Now I just have to do it.

  22. I find it is in these moment of checking in with our bodies we find the most wisdom and we no longer see our periods as a nuisance and more of a blessing because we begin to understand the beauty of our cycle and how our every movement lays a foundation for our next .

    1. Yes, I agree, we are no longer at the mercy of what we can see as buffeting winds and high seas but that we have a part to play in what we experience and there is a logic and flow to it. A cycle in our body within the cycle of life.

  23. Awesome to feel how your commitment to becoming more aware of how your body is on a regular basis has been reflected in your periods so immediately. I no longer have periods but have recently had a cyst on my breast which was extremely painful and now I am left with the after affects of a small lump which I have been massaging morning and night with an essential oil blend. In the mornings it has almost disappeared now but in the evenings it reflects to me how I have been in my day and offers me the opportunity to review how to more lovingly support my whole body.

  24. I loved what you have shared Vanessa how amazing is the body and as you say, I am worth paying attention to what my body is saying.

  25. Our body is amazingly sensitive and responsive to every minute impulse it receives – good and bad. It’s wonderful when the body responds to what appears to be a small increment of love and care but I often forget how the same applies when a choice is made in the opposite direction – i.e. less care, less love – and behave with such mighty arrogance that my body should be able to handle any abuse.

  26. As a man I have found it surprising how much my life is in cycles and how much opportunity these cycles present once I understand they exist, how they start and how they end.

  27. The act of paying attention to ourselves, to caring for ourselves naturally allow us to shine and be in the spotlight without ever needing to be. We do not need anything or anyone to confirm us, and if we see others confirming us, we appreciate this reflection as what we have chosen to live ourselves. There is so much to appreciate of ourselves and our choices. What I have observed is in every start of my period, the joy that is felt is deeply apparent, it is such a joy to be a woman, to have the choice to clear, to discard more of what is not us, and to return to living deeper of what is truth.

  28. I find I am within multiple cycles at any time – healing cycles, project cycles, short term cycles, long term cycles and to move with those cycles including finishing them at the right time makes life much more simple, effective and harmonious.

  29. Vanessa, I could really understand what you have shared about not having a relationship with your periods, it isn’t described anywhere, our mothers certainly didn’t know it, you didn’t learn it at school either, the real importance of our periods and what we can offer us each and every month.

    1. Yes, it sounds quite strange – something this important simply being ignored as much as possible.

  30. So many of us believe that we are at the mercy of life or our bodies so it is deeply empowering to recognize the impact we can have when we choose to honour what we feel and then express that. Your story is a stunning testament of what we are capable of when we do.

  31. Thank you Vanessa, it’s a pretty profound situation you have explored, that just by honouring and paying attention to your self has had this powerful healing effect on your menstrual cycle. I agree, if this small amount of time invested in ourselves could produce this result, what else could a more consistent connection and honouring of how we feel do for our health? It seems that our relationship to ourselves is truly a part of good medicine. And it’s something we can ever deepen.

  32. There is something about the Ourcycles App which I cannot put aside no matter how much I try. I fill it in most days recording how I feel and on those days when I do make a choice to connect to the app I feel different. I can feel the support on a grander scale helping me to connect to myself and to deepen the connection while on the days when I am coming up with excuses to not connect to the app I observe how it is a reflection of where I am at and how I have been living up until that point in my day; this in itself can be quite exposing.

  33. This is a great experiment that you are talking about here Vanessa and one that would be worthy of further research and study – does the quality of a woman’s period have anything to do with how she has been living in the preceding month? Could we all have more say and power over how our bodies feel than we realise?

  34. ‘I’m looking forward to what it will have to tell me about how I’ve been living this month’ – This is such a different attitude towards periods than the usual Vanessa, and could you imagine if we approached our entire anatomy like this; when we got sick, bloated, acne, tired, aches or pains etc., that they could be supportive in letting us see HOW we’re living and thus how we can change it in the next cycle or going forwards to be more loving.

  35. I too have seen changes in my periods since I have been paying more attention and since using the our cycles app. I also see some peri-menopause changes going on, shorter cycles, skipped periods, lighter periods in the main, more awareness of other features in my cycle, ovulation and so forth. I know this has been part of the change, and I watch with interest as I learn to accept the new phase ahead of me as a woman.

  36. Vanessa this blog – WOW – you you make it so simple for us all to have that same accessibility to healing – all you need to do is tune in and we can begin our own unfolding adventures with our cycle and our periods and everything in between.

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