Your Sacred Cycle
Since when did our menstrual cycle become something to dread? Oh I know, since the day mine came!
I remember being 14 years old and impressionable. The negative connotation to getting your period was lingering before the main event ever even came along. It was almost cool to think of getting your period as ‘your rag’ or ‘evil aunt flow’. Girls complained of cramping and wanted to sit out of PE Class. When my cycle began, there was no celebration, no ceremonial transition into womanhood. It wasn’t beautiful, it was a burden. My friend’s only advice given by her mother at the beginning of her cycle was so eloquently put “Don’t wear white.” Sure my mother explained what it was; the physiologic reason for cramps from hell, the physical ways of simply dealing with bleeding for a week, but think about the culture we could create if we changed the vibe around this process in our next generation. I envision teaching our daughters to tune into their bodies, and helping them discover and love a process within their body that empowers them with grace and embraces their femininity.
After having children, my postpartum cycle would return about 15 months after baby was born, then I’d get pregnant again shortly after. After doing that a few times, I’ve spent the last six years basically not having a menstrual cycle at all, and now that it’s back (for good) I am choosing to look at this time each month as a way to love myself on a deeper level.
It starts with knowing my cycle and celebrating ovulation. You know, around that two-week mark when egg white cervical mucus is flowing and your face glows like a radiant being raring to reproduce? Yep, that ceremonious time where you are instantly attracted to all things manly and you literally emit traces of pheromones attracting your mate. Amazing, isn’t it? Treat yourself WELL in that moment. For the couple of days when you are most fertile eat nourishing foods, drink extra lavish teas, and embrace the luxuriant goddess you are. No doubt, you’ll feel like a queen.
As your period approaches, be gentle with yourself. Take some extra time to notice your body’s cues. Are you feeling low back heaviness? Are you feeling dehydrated? Give your body what it is asking for. There are a couple of practices I enjoy during menstruation:
Taking time for myself to reflect and journal, listening to life changes that may be on the horizon.
Participating in a sound bath and gentle yoga for breathing and cultivating a calm mindset.
Taking a long Epsom salt bath with candles lit and my diffuser putting out something pretty.
Whatever the activity is that calls to you, take some extra time for yourself where you intentionally give more to you. In these activities, my mindset shifts. I literally embrace each ‘cramp’ as a mini reminder of what it was like to be in the birthing process with each of my three children. Instead of pounding midol and trying to get rid of the menstrual cramping, I put myself back into a place of allowing birth to happen, allowing a beautiful natural process to happen. I give myself time to breathe through the pulses of my body and sway with the amazing rhythm of my body’s innately intelligent pulse and flow. I indulge… just a little. There is nothing wrong with a little Honey Mamas to sweeten the palate! I buy myself striking seasonal flowers and place them on the table as a reminder that from transformation comes beautiful change. They look amazing and smell refreshing.
Throughout the next few days of my cycle I notice my body is craving just a little more time to be held. I notice my emotions running a little higher and I’m a little more sensitive to needing understanding. I give myself grace and forgiveness because high expectations are often the culprit of feeling like you haven’t gotten everything accomplished. I lower my standards for what the house needs to look like, because I am taking care of myself first and it feels incredible to acknowledge my soul’s needs. I begin to notice my body’s crave for movement. I do not mean going to run 5 miles, or hit a hard workout in the gym. My hips move and this lady DANCES like you wouldn’t believe. Something comes over me and my hips, and it is invigorating. Listening to my body has become one of the biggest emotional releases I’ve ever experienced, and sometimes that includes blasting some old school Shakira and shaking my hips in the kitchen!Vaginal steaming is a way of beginning anew once your cycle has ended. It’s a physical and emotional cleansing process that reminds me to honor my perfectly healthy body, and reminds me that I am a well-functioning woman who owns her rhythmic cycle of life. A life that will carry me through the years to teach our younger generation just how to love themselves well.
One day, I look forward to teaching my daughters about their sacred menstrual cycles and about how loving themselves on such an intimate level can change the way they look at everything. I want to empower them as women, fertile beings, and the key to this world’s ongoing life.
Elise DeCamp, DC, CACCP, CCWPBIRTHFIT Puget Sound @birthfitpugetsound