by Robyn Jones – B.Sc. (Psych), Goonellabah, Australia
Beginning our periods is truly an amazing celebration of being a woman. It marks a sacred part of the transition from girl to woman.
But how come so very few of us truly celebrate our first period and ongoing period cycles thereafter?
My first period came at age 11 and was light, lasting a few days and I didn’t have another bleed again for about 6 months. Over the years period pain, late periods, fast periods, slow periods, missed periods, tender breasts, fatigue, nausea, increased sensitivity, mood swings and temperatures have all been regular symptoms experienced during my menstrual cycle – far from any celebration and feeling more like a curse! My period cycle slowed me down, got in the way and stopped me from doing certain activities as similarly experienced by so many other women. But what was my body actually communicating?
What if all that I was experiencing was, in fact, a BLESSING? … What! … Period pain a BLESSING?? … You must be joking, right? … Absolutely not!
Symptoms and pain are just signs our body uses to communicate to us that not all is well or harmonious in the way we are living.
What Causes Period Pain?
Over the last 7 years I’ve been exploring this issue of symptoms and period pain during my cycles, as well as talking and sharing with many other women about theirs. Some common themes have emerged, such as:
- The levels of anxiety we live by everyday.
- Our constant need to be ‘doing’ something.
- The inability to deeply let go and rest.
- A fear of people judging or criticising what we do, how we look or should be.
- A resistance to letting people get close to us.
- Our lack of overall treatment and level of respect we have for ourselves.
- The way we communicate and just how little we express how we truly feel in our lives.
Do these ways of living – crammed with subtle yet ingrained ideals or beliefs – truly support us to be ourselves?
If we are living our lives hardened and tightened by the disregard of reaction, protection, pushing and driving ourselves, then is there any surprise we do end up with period pain?
What Can We Truly Learn From Period Pain?
In every period cycle there is much insight offered if we choose to pay attention to our body’s communication in regards to the way we are living, or what things, thoughts or ideals we are living or being owned by.
We’re also offered a time to:
- Really feel our body, become aware and get to understand just how we have been treating it throughout the month prior to the arrival of our period.
- Slow down, rest and allow the body to cleanse.
- Honour, respect and appreciate what our body naturally goes through to support its return to stasis, natural balance or harmony.
The woman who treats herself with this level of understanding, embracing this time to reflect and learn more about the relationship with herself and her body, is very beautiful.
First Periods: A Re-Education For Our Girls
With all this, imagine if our girls were aware that beginning their first period is truly an amazing celebration and not a curse or inconvenience of who she is in becoming a young woman.
That it is a time for us to really be with ourselves and discover our natural ways to nurture, deeply care for and respect ourselves; to get to know our innate sensitivity and precious fragility as a woman and the strength in this.
I’ll certainly enjoy sharing this with my two young daughters as they start their first period … sharing too that any period pain or symptom offers invaluable insight into the way they are living their lives: that their period cycles are opportunities to stop and feel on a deeper level and connect to who they are as a woman through honouring this natural cycle of change in their bodies.
If we as mothers and women can learn to live as examples of what it means to deeply respect and treat ourselves with loving care, especially around this time of our period cycle, then with this lived education we can teach our daughters and the next generation of women so much: the glory a first period offers in the development from a girl into a gorgeous young woman, in tune with herself. One who listens and responds to her body’s communication such that honouring how she feels becomes a normal and accepted part or rhythm of her life. What great natural confidence this woman offers those she meets – and what a blessing a first period truly offers – most definitely a time for great celebration.
Original article published on the UniMed Living website in April, 2015.