Let's talk about our menses.
I am very excited about this film. It is something that our culture needs to see.
Truly and honestly, what are your first thoughts when you think of your menses? Disgust? Shame? Burdened? And why? I believe, because of what we have been taught and how our culture influences us.
"If men could menstruate"... "menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event"... "Men would brag about how long and how much. Boys would mark the onset of menses, that longed-for proof of manhood, with religious ritual and stag parties. Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea to help stamp out monthly discomforts. Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. (Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of commercial brands such as John Wayne Tampons, Muhammad Ali's Rope-a-dope Pads, Joe Namath Jock Shields - "For Those Light Bachelor Days," and Robert "Baretta" Blake Maxi-Pads.)" - Gloria SteinemIn reality, if we were to look at what our cycles mean, they mean that we are able to bring life into this world, that our bodies are fertile, and that we are amazingly fearfully and wonderfully made! Ask the woman who has fought a hard battle of fertility issues because of a strongly upset cycle what her first thoughts are when she thinks of her menses and she will tell you that she looks forward with anticipation, quiet triumph, respectful awe, hopeful planning, and girlish gigglies at her 'powerful womanhood' and the chance to be 'normal' or 'fertile'.
But we take it for painful granted if it comes with regularity.
Giveaways on this blog are even indicative of that. If I am giving away jewelry or books, I get a plethora of entries. But, if i have a giveaway for pads, suddenly the entries plummet.
I am a firm believer that we need to talk to our daughters, truly talk to our daughters, about their cycles. It should not be considered a taboo subject, it should not be taught as an ill omen, a shameful secret, or a disgusting monthly bane on womanhood.
My eldest is 10, and she will likely start any day. I started my menstrual cycle when I was 11, and she is showing some signs a little earlier than I did. We have talked about a woman's cycle often, what it means, and feminine products are a normal thing in our house. My husband and I talk openly about my cycle, and it is not a shameful secret.
I am planning a day, in the very near future, to talk with my daughters in depth about their upcoming menarche. It will not be as elaborate as some other cultures, but we will be celebrating their female bodies, how beautifully perfect they are made, and preparing their minds to accept and even look forward to their menstrual cycles!
We will be silly, we will be serious. We will have some ritual and some gifting. There will be food and drink, pampering and praise. We will talk about yonis and cycles and beauty. We will talk about the holistic menstruation - both her mind and her body.
Some of my readers might even find that they, themselves, need to host a belated menarche party for themselves, their daughters, their friends and community. And that is a good thing! Email me if you want some ideas on how to host such a celebration!
We need to heal this rift in our respect for our bodies if we ever hope to heal birthing and parenting practices. It starts at the beginning, the first red mark - the menarche.
- Yoni - information on everything yoni. Has a great section on maiden and menarche celebrations.
- Menstruation - information on charting cycles, fertility, and much more. There is even a great section on printable charts.
- Flow - Youtube channel on fun facts about menstruation, from the book author of Flow
- Bell - a printable chart for menstruation/cycle and emotional levels. Can also add fertility to this easily.
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility - information on fertility charting, BBT, and a great online community. User-friendly site for a newbie to charting and a great starting point for girls that are new to charting - good practice now for something necessary later.
- Fertility Friend - pdf booklet available about how to read the signs of fertility.