As women, understanding and honouring our menstruation and menstrual cycle and the energies that are related to the different phases can bring about peace and balance in our bodies. Through understanding we can let go the judgement many of us have towards the way we respond to our reproductive hormones, especially when we are struggling with fertility.
When we are trying to fall pregnant, there can be such heightened emotions around our period – especially disappointment, grief, frustration and a sense of failure.
Our judgement of menstruation
The way we view and speak to ourselves about our menstrual cycle shows how far removed we are from our femininity and understanding of our body. Menstruation is often called the curse, or rags. It is such a negative view of the natural workings of our body. Yet the uterus, or womb is an incredibly extra-ordinary organ that nourished every single one of us while we were in the womb, developing and waiting to be born. It is also the place to honour rather than curse when we are struggling to have a baby.
Listen to your body and its needs
If we understand the energy of our menstrual cycle, and live in tune and flowing with this energy, we change our behaviour to what supports our being, rather than just soldiering on. Just soldiering on is not supportive to our female body and the way it works. We do need to take pause at times during our cycle, to support our hormones and keep them in balance.
Our hormones are messengers of our body. When they are out of balance, it is our bodies way of telling us we need to have a rethink of our diet, exercise and lifestyle. This lack of hormonal balance can be the difference between conceiving and not conceiving. There is an interplay of hormones every month. While hormonal imbalance can be a cause of infertility, homonal imbalance can be a byproduct of our diet and lifestyle. One of the factors may be not resting when we are menstruating.
The link between immunity and menstruation
Pre-menstrually, our immune system drops. We are naturally more tired as our body is cleansing, clearing out the old, to create the new. Each month our body expels the old blood to create a new environment, preparing to nourish a fertilized egg. Keeping the endometrium fresh, rich and nourishing to enable new growth and development. It is pretty incredible if you think about it. A fresh new lining, and a ready and waiting incubator to produce new life. How can this be a curse?
Though I do admit, this is the way I viewed menstruation. It was always a pain, often combined with worry, of either being pregnant, or not being pregnant depending on the stage of my life.
A time for rest and restoration
I treat a lot of women that don’t understand the different energies of their cycle – and this leads to self judgement and self criticism. We need to withdraw at times, to rest, renew and allow our body to cleanse the old endometrium lining. It takes energy to do this. But we often just keep on going and do not give ourselves space to withdraw in and let go. Next time, when you feel irritable – listen to yourself, give yourself space to withdraw from the world, find your own quiet place to rest and rejuvenate.
In Chinese medicine, and also in the Ayurvedic tradition, resting during menstruation is supportive to our health. In Chinese medicine we are letting go of qi and yin energy during menstruation, and we need to support this through quietness, resting, sleeping more and working less. This is supportive of the cleansing process that is taking place.
There are other times during our cycle when we have the more yang energy – the upward expansive energy that supports socializing, creating, that is full of energy – during our time around ovulation. By realizing this, and tapping into the energy of our cycle, we are living in flow and in harmony with our nature.
American author and obstetrician, Dr Christian Northrup, M.D. writes: –
“I have come to see that all kinds of stress-related disease, ranging from PMS to osteoporosis, could be lessened a great deal if we simply followed our body’s wisdom once per month.”