Women's Health Matters

Text Size
Jump to body content

My Menstruation Journey

By Nadia

My story actually has two beginnings: the first one being when I first started menstruating 20 years ago, and the second, about five years ago, when I resumed menstruating after the birth of my children.

I had not had my periods for any length of time for about five years, from the time I was pregnant with and breastfeeding my first son. There was a brief return of my menses probably three or four times, then I was pregnant with and breastfeeding my second son.

I still remember that first day of that first beginning... I knew that one day I would start to bleed, and my friends talked about it at school, but when it happened I was still shocked and scared.

When I told my mother, it was as if I had done something wrong. I felt like I had to hide it and she warned me that now I had to be careful not to "get into trouble" with the boys. Whatever that meant to an eleven year old.

So I stayed scared. And thinking about it now, I hated having my period — although I would never have admitted it to myself. I thought I was pretty together about it all.

At the same time, subconsciously I think, I did feel a secret thrill that I had this ‘monthly visitor’ — it was kind of reassuring that it was there. And of course when I became sexually active, it was a great relief when it would arrive each month. I was safe; I hadn't got into "trouble.” What a Pandora's Box of mixed emotions!

Jump ahead to the second phase, where my periods were back for good. (Or at least, until menopause.)

In that five years I had undergone a lot of changes on many levels, mostly due to the huge impact becoming a mother had upon me and all the adjustments that process entailed. My views on health had changed to really encompass the mind, body and spirit connection.

I saw the resumption of my menses as an opportunity to put some new ideas into practice, but I needed to get specific, so I started researching menstruation.

Through my surfing on the Internet, I decided not to use commercial pads anymore, and I switched to organic tampons and cloth pads. I discovered that by using the cloth I did not suffer any irritation to my tender bits as I had previously — which was something I had just put up with, thinking that it was normal and that there weren’t any other options open to me.

I read further and was amazed and delighted that some women enjoyed their 'moontime,' and that in some cultures it was held sacred and considered an integral part of a woman's spirituality. I really liked this other way of looking at things, and I began making small changes to my own beliefs around menstruating, being female and how I treated myself during the whole cycle.

For example, using cloth pads really keeps me grounded in the actual physicality of bleeding, sewing the pads, looking at my blood, washing the pads and recycling my blood onto my garden (keeping me connected to the Earth) —helping me to focus on letting go.

I don't use cloth all the time, my other alternative is organic cotton tampons or sea sponge tampons. But when I am at home, I do use pads because it is important for me to maintain that connection and minimise my exposure to toxins and commerciality.

At times, menstruation has been both comforting and uncomfortable…because ultimately our moontime can be dark, messy, chaotic, upsetting to our schedules, creative, destructive and not always like what we've been taught.

But these qualities of chaos and mess are sometimes what we need to overcome the rigidity and limits imposed upon us, and I think in the end that's a lot of what my journey was about: coming to grips with the feminine nature and accepting her (and me) in all her forms.

It is not always easy, and my journey is not complete yet, but so far my life has been enriched immeasurably.

These days I continue to think about menstruation — in fact I spend a huge amount of time thinking about it. I maintain my initial belief that the menstrual cycle is very important in a woman’s life — and my passion for its value has not waned.

Reprinted with the permission of www.menstruation.com.au.

Jump to top page

share and learn

Join the discussion

Share knowledge and talk about your health-related experiences with other women.

Discussion forums

  • A publication of:
  • Women's College Hospital