Monday, August 19, 2013

Hello, Menses!

Call me crazy (and many have), but I love my monthly period! There... I said it.

I hope not too many of you get all weirded-out, or stop reading because of my choice for a topic here. Even if you're reading this and you're not a female or you've graduated from menopause, I hope you might find something of interest in what I'm about to say.

Subjects dealing with women's physiology and reproductive systems, birth-giving, etc. are very interesting to me, so bear with me, as the entire post won't be just about that.

You see, since my childhood until today  (at age 47), I've heard females around me wail and woe when menses "visited." Some even called it "The Curse," and that's not even the most brutal name among the hundreds it's been called! But whatever you want to call it, I personally have always looked forward to that time of the month, and I never complain about it at all. My 'periods' always make me happy. They are mostly pain-free, short, and very punctual--with a few exceptions when I fall sick or travel across time zones. In those cases, it would come plus or minus a day or two. Otherwise, I interpret the punctuality and predictability of my period as my monthly all-clear sign from my body that everything is in order.  So when my period was once 3 days late, I knew for sure that I was pregnant (at the age of 43), much before any test confirmed it.

I've learned since, that the female cycle is connected to the phases of the moon. I've experienced this phenomenon personally. In fact, when my son was conceived, I was ovulating on the super-full moon of December 12, 2008. I remember the night. I remember the moon. And sure enough, by New Year's Eve that year, it was confirmed that I was pregnant. This was not a planned pregnancy, but it was an inevitable one! So I may be living proof that there might be some  truth to the theory of lunaception, which basically says that when a woman's cycle is in balance with the moon phases, her fertility is optimized and pregnancy is facilitated. Full moon = ovulation,  new moon = menstruation. It is also claimed that if left without the interference of artificial light or contraception, most women would ovulate around the same time during the new moon phases. Some of you might have even experienced females in the same household who all menstruated at the same time. There's a magnetic internal clock there. I'm sure of it. There's even a method for synchronizing one's cycle with the phases of the moon.

So lunaception or not, there I was pregnant. One of the first doctors to see me assumed that my husband and I had been "trying very hard" and gave us a hearty congratulations as he privately must have imagined my forehead stamped with the words "High Risk at 43!" So,  I was made to surrender to a series of "risk" assessments and a battery of medical tests because danger lurked everywhere for a pregnant woman in her forties! Even though I was feeling great and my blood tests were perfect, it seemed everyone around me was keen to prove the opposite.

One test I had,  the Alpha Feto-protein (AFP) test, returned completely alarming (and false!) results. We were told that there was a high chance I was carrying a spina bifida fetus based on my results. When I demanded to see the actual lab results myself, I discovered that the test formula overstated my weight by 100 pounds!! Once my correct weight was entered into the math, the results showed a perfectly healthy pregnancy. That's when I gave up on the whole medicalized charade and decided I was done with the "business of being born" - Done with the sonograms, the endless invasive tests, and medical doctors who don't pay attention. It felt like nobody trusted and respected my body except for my husband and myself,  and so I went in search of a midwife to help us birth at home. And that was another beautiful story.

When gently embraced, I believe that women can find a very special power within their feminine system, as men do in their male system. If we connect with the wisdom of our body and love it, it will work with us and for us. This applies in so many ways, but I believe that one of the reasons I so easily got pregnant in my early forties, is because I've always respected my menstrual cycle and my regular "visitor" was always welcome on the 28th day of each phase. Therefore, my reproductive system felt happy, loved, healthy and worked properly.

It's sad that many women today reach puberty hearing stories of how awful the period is. That it's painful, and brings heavy cramps, and headaches, and backaches, and night sweats, and other horrors.  The power of suggestion reigns. It's also a shame that many girls grow up hearing from other females how awful and painful childbirth is, when in fact those two things, childbirth and menses, are unique and empowering traits that ought to be hailed as joyful and welcome experiences.  I don't know, but I think many women today have lost touch with these innate and organic powers within them, as they continue to make choices which challenge the nature and miracle of their bodies.

Women have been somehow socially programmed to be afraid of their periods and to be afraid of childbirth. This is evident in the rampantly  increasing numbers of elective hysterectomies and elective c-sections in America today.  This trend of making foe out of our sacred reproductive system should stop!

I find myself constantly wondering if this attitude bears some responsibility for the trouble women seem to be having in conceiving these days. The increase in breast cancers also keeps me wondering if this might be related to interrupted lactation as many working and non-working mothers end up resorting to artificial formula feeding nowadays. What about antiperspirants and the possibility that they might affect the breast ducts and contribute to cancer.. What about breast implants?  We see so many more women today with ovarian and cervical cancers, and I also wonder if this is related to the over-use of synthetic birth control pills and synthetic hormones. I also see a rise in HPV and vaginal diseases, and I have to further wonder if any of this might be related to the chlorine, pesticides, and chemical odor-neutralizers used in modern tampons. Somethings gotta give when we mess with the processes of mother nature too much-- perspiring, ovulating, breast-feeding, etc. There are very good reasons for all these natural bodily responses. RESPECT!

Therefore, if you're a woman of menses age, I wish to encourage you to love your visitor, be happy that she came, roll out the organic white cotton carpet, and tell her you look forward to her next visit. You might be surprised at what happens if you change the nature of your relationship with your body.

If all this menses talk doesn't interest you or apply to you, there's still a message here. I don't remember who said this, maybe Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, but the idea stuck with me over the years and has helped me whenever I felt physical pain or had an injury. The saying went something like, if you feel pain, in your knee, your head, wherever--you should love it into healing. Literally talk to your pain. Have a conversation with it. Ask it why it is there and what it needs in order to go away. Listen, and your body will tell you. And as you better understand your malady through your own senses, and not through xeroxed information coming from the lips of doctors and the pages of pamphlets, your body will miraculously begin to heal itself.

I give much credit to this method of "talking to my pain" for finally getting rid of a life-long acne issue. Talk to your zits and they might go away? Crazy, huh? But this "talk therapy" worked for me in other issues, too, ranging from easing general aches and pains to speeding up the healing of a broken foot without any strong pain-killers.

Love really heals. It took me a long time to learn this, but now I know that it is Self-love that heals the most and keeps us healthy.

Stay tuned...into your nature.


Amal said...

Love your blog Roriyeh!!

Ruby Justice said...

I'm so flattered, Ammouleh! Thanks for reading.