I can remember when I first started having sex as a teenager, when it was suggested that I went on the pill I started crying. I just knew deep down that taking a pill to manipulate my body’s own natural functions just didn’t seem right to me. However I listened to the GP and ended up taking the pill from the age of 16 to 24. The particular pill I was taking was progesterone only which also meant that I NEVER had a period. In some ways it was great, I didn’t have to worry about when I could go swimming etc and didn’t ever need to worry about buying sanitary products. Bit there was a huge BUT. I was getting migraines and there didn’t seem to be any particular pattern to them. A friend who worked in the natural health field pointed out to me that it could be something to do with my periods…(or lack of them!) I since stopped taking the contraceptive pill luckily my period returned immediately, not only that my mood improved, skin looked healthier and I just felt more like ‘me’ again. I still suffer with the migraines, however I’m now much more in tune with my body and can at least determine due to the time in my cycle when it is due. For me it’s always right before the period begins when there is a drop in progesterone. I now look forward to my period in a way, I see it as a time to rest and nurture myself. It’s a sign to me that I am fertile and everything is working just as it should.
We live in a patriarchal society in which it’s taboo to talk about periods. Only this morning I was talking to a nineteen year old boy about the topic of this blog post and his reaction was embarrassment and disgust at the mere mention of the word ‘period’. We have a responsibility to change this attitude and ensure that our sons and brothers are educated about this vital, natural process. I’m glad I had a quick chat with him and hopefully his future wife would thank me for it too!
In ancient cultures the moon was seen to sync up with women’s menstrual cycles. ‘The moon and females and fertility have long been seen as linked. People have thought that, just like the ebbing and flowing of tides, menstrual cycles are linked to the moon with many claiming that you ovulate around the full moon and have your period near the new moon’ (The Debrief 2006)
I know this may all sound a bit far fetched and hippy dippy but the fact is the moon controls gravity along with tides. We humans are made of 60% water so it makes sense that the moon should have an impact upon our processes too. The lunar cycle is 28 days and the average menstruation cycle too is 28 days. There are some apps which can help you track your own period like ‘My Moon Time’. I personally always bleed on the new moon and love that I can track my cycle simply by looking to the sky. Periods are a sign of fertility and with that they hold great power. In todays patriarchal society it’s no surprise that they are treated as the ‘last taboo’, censored from media.
The recent debate around the so-called ‘tampon tax’ has highlighted the vast profits gained from women’s sanitary items.
‘Our society creates a hospitable climate for cuntpower to be generated into profits amassed by large corporations. Pharmaceutical and feminine hygiene companies, plastic surgeons and weight-loss centres are designed to care for our bodies in our stead. We learn to rely on various “experts” and authority figures who patronizingly inform us how we should respond to our bodies. We are not offered the opportunity to consider how we’d like to respond to bleeding’
‘Becoming responsible is about quitting the “expert” addiction, feeling and listening to what is going on inside of us and responding in ways that feel good and right to us’ (Inga Muscio)
Huge profits are gained by the feminine hygiene industry. These products are not biodegradable and often contain plastic, which ends up in landfill poisoning our precious planet. There are also environmental concerns around the contraceptive pill.
Male river fish are displaying feminised traits and even producing eggs, the study found. Some have reduced sperm quality and display less aggressive and competitive behaviour, which makes them less likely to breed successfully (The Telegraph, 2nd July 2017)
There are thankfully lots of of eco-friendly sanitary options out there now, such as the moon cup, fabric washable pads and organic, biodegradable disposable pads. I personally prefer these options to the mainstream ones due to health reasons too. Disposable non-organic tampons and pads often are made with bleached cotton and I don’t fancy putting bleach anywhere near my lady parts! I’m disgusted to walk down the feminine hygiene aisle in Sainsbury’s now and be faced with a cloud of synthetic, perfume. To me this is giving the wrong idea to teenage girls, it sends a misleading message that their vagina is something to be disguised and masked. Synthetic fragrances have been known to disrupt hormones, another reason why I choose to avoid these products.
I’m so pleased that I have taken this strange and winding journey to rejecting synthetic contraceptive methods ditching toxic money-making sanitary products and leaning to love my body that little bit more. For others the journey isn’t always so straightforward…
My sister and also a close friend suffered with weight issues a couple of years ago. As their weight decreased their periods stopped completely and for both of them it was devastating. This is very common when women are underweight as the body recognises that it is not a suitable environment for a baby.
My friend and sister both told me during this time how the lack of the monthly flow was a source of anxiety and worry for them, highlighting that they were not as healthy as they should be. Thankfully both of them were incredibly strong and have managed to get back to a healthy weight and with the help of herbal remedies their periods eventually returned
On the first day her period returned after two years my sister celebrated, she called all of her closest friends and family members to share the good news. Her wonderful, supportive friends even threw a little party for her. I’m so proud that she took control of the situation and managed to improve her health practically on her own.
I believe this is how all women should celebrate their monthly ‘moon time’. Our periods are a great gift, don’t let pharmaceutical companies or tampon companies tell you otherwise!