“We don’t need to bleed” read a bold statement in a recently published article in British press.
Apparently, women are opting to take a pill that stops them having periods.
Why are women increasingly giving up on periods?
Ask many women about their experiences of periods and they will tell you that they are painful, uncomfortable and a downright nuisance.
Until very recently, I was one of the women giving up periods. I didn’t take any medication to stop them physically occurring in the body but my giving up was to have no understanding of the point of all this period stuff. I quietly believed that periods were an expensive biological occurrence costing me a balanced emotional outlook, sanity, comfort, ease, productivity around that time of the month and more. The list was long. I also thought it was par for the course to experience these things and so I suffered quietly through.
I literally had no clue about what was happening during my menstrual cycle. I didn’t know what time of the month my periods occurred. If someone had asked me what a period was then, I wouldn’t have been able to say much. Up until a year or so ago, I would be at the doctors and not even be able to say where I was in my cycle. Not because I had forgotten, or didn’t have it recorded somewhere, but because I didn’t even know what that meant. What was a cycle? There was just your period every month, for about a week or so, and then there wasn’t.
The article mentioned highlights the mental health impact of our relationship with our periods too. I used to feel awful, and quite recently I experienced the frustration of the PMS stage in an extreme way again. The tension was unbelievable. The emotional storm before my period was another disturbance and agony that I accepted as ‘normal’ for years. It would leave me feeling desolate and disconnected and it was never a case of one week of PMT or PMS, and the rest were golden weeks. I learnt that everything was connected and everything affects everything else. The discomfort and tension I was feeling before the bleeding phase was significantly impacting my work, my relationships, my sense of self-worth, my confidence.
Writing about this now, I understand that the empty, lost feeling that I had was partly from feeling like I was walking around in nothing but an empty shell. I didn’t relate to this physical body that I was in and found it difficult to see – and feel – where I fitted into everything. Connecting to my cycle has been a great way to help feel myself again.
So how have things changed?
Inspired is exactly the word I would now use to describe the relationship that I have with my cycle and myself, through making the conscious choice to understand and connect to my cycle. Would I opt to no longer have periods now? Absolutely not. I hold them very dear to me, but if, and when, they go, they go. The beauty is that I will still know that my body is working intimately in cycles. We all live in cycles and the period cycle is just one of many that women experience.
What I love about my periods now is that I have far greater understanding of my cycles and the different phases in a way where I can work together with my cycle and use it as an incredible support, rather than the former nemesis. I am getting more and more of a feeling for the grand support that the hormones estrogen and progesterone provide when I allow them to do their incredible and delicately designed jobs. I would never have discovered this had I not listened to the signals from my body. I now have the choice to sit back and allow estrogen and progesterone to do their jobs which requires me to be more sensitive to what I need in the moment in terms of rest, expression, food and drink etc.
I now know when I am ovulating and it generally feels great. I notice how naturally confident I am, how I am more outgoing, enjoy working with or generally connecting with people, and I feel hugely inspired at this time in my cycle. It can often feel like the beginning of something new and I feel very inspired by who I am with an increased appetite for getting more involved and committed in life. And I just want to be around people, which isn’t always my experience at other times in the month.
I now notice that a few days into my period, once the pain and discomfort have gone, then I have a similar feeling of get up and go, and connect to a purpose to get things up and running or finish things off so that I can have a fresh start with the next thing on the horizon. I feel more expressive and not just in how much I talk and say but also in the way I walk, in my footsteps and all my movements. Somehow, I have this feeling that there is more of me than what I can see, if that makes sense (?).
Being aware of the different phases of my cycle helps me to look after myself more. I know that the more sensitive and aware I am of each part of the cycle then the more I can benefit from my body going through its processes of clearing and preparing for the next phases. I had an experience recently where I learned that if I am lost in anxiety, stress or struggle then I can completely miss feeling the inspiration that I described above, which is kind of sad to have that missed beautiful opportunity.
My relationship with my cycle is just that. It’s a relationship I have with something and someone. Mostly with me. My body can be my best friend and adviser at every step, or I can opt not to see it or treat it that way. It requires me to be sensitive and aware, something I don’t always choose. It requires me to be honest. It asks that I trust the relationship, to commit to it and always appreciate what it offers. It asks for new and often unfamiliar levels of self-honouring and care to be chartered, which can at times feel uncomfortable. It asks me to be aware of how I may have been making things much harder for myself and my penchant for a struggle – a knowing not always easy to accept.
Observing how my body is feeling has brought a deeper level of understanding: rather than the pain of periods disturbing and wreaking havoc on my life. I can now see that it was more that the way I was living my life was wreaking havoc on the natural blessing that periods afford me. Until this understanding, I was trying to ignore if not fight against the healing and clearing out that my period gifted me every month. Some things just can’t be ignored or fought.
My cycle can be my compass anytime I am willing to listen. This exploration has changed my life. To have felt lost and desolate, and resentful of my body, to now feel an inner confidence and be inspired by my body, is something I truly appreciate.
Do I never experience period pain? Not at all. I can still experience painful periods, but now I know that there is more to understand and more care and awareness to be expressed and communicated in the way that I am living. Knowing that there is always an expanding relationship to be had with my cycle will always be my inspiration.
With heartfelt thanks and appreciation for Natalie Benhayon and the Ourcycles App, Sara Harris at Follow your Flow, and Serge Benhayon and his family for their livingness and presentation of a much richer relationship with ourselves and life.
By Simone G (London, UK)
For further inspiration…
The PMS ‘Power Pass’ .. an excuse to indulge, or to step up our responsibility and listen to our bodies?
One woman’s experience of developing a relationship with her body and herself, starting with simple observation.