Everything I need to know, I learned from my period

I got my first period when I was 14. I remember it being a pretty uneventful experience, one I felt mildly prepared for after the 4th grade videos the girls were forced to watch during one awkward afternoon of cancelled art class.

When I told my mother, I felt the standard flavor of embarrassment and shame that an 8th grader does, just like when I had to ask her if I could shave my legs and get my first bra.

Everything around growing in to my post-puberty self felt uncomfortable, which mirrored my fear around asking for what I needed, most especially as it related to my body.

Conversations about sex and reproductive health were non-existent in our home, though we had many in the doctor’s office when my period abruptly stopped just after it began.

As a super active young athlete and future college soccer player, like most of my teammates, my first period was a fleeting experience. It came and went sporadically. While I enjoyed the freedom, my mother and doctors were highly concerned as it related to my bone density and future for being able to bear children.

I heard the words, “She’s not going to be able to have a baby,” more times than I can count.

I was put on birth control, not for preventing pregnancy, rather to induce a period to make sure my “system” was working normally.

Those pills made me gain weight and grow to a C-cup in high school. The emotional mood swings paired with the tenderness of teenager-dom likely made my mom regret this choice.

And the irony of this part of my story is not lost on me now, decades later, after debilitating endometriosis and infertility struggles plagued my twenties and early thirties.

What’s also not lost is the power of the words spoken to me, spoken over me as I settled into myself and became my own person.

“I might have a hard time conceiving…I have endometriosis…I may never get to be a mom.”

Ownership, confirmation, the anxiety and fear that go with it.

Your word is your wand.

And these words strung together became the story I carried with me. My story. Even years later, on the day of our sweet girl’s birth, I stopped breathing on the operating room table.

When all felt as if it were lost, my near-death experience was the invitation to surrender, to put it all down and stop running, to rewrite what I had known to make space for what was new, what my life had been leading me to.

Everything about the most feminine parts of myself had felt like a war…my body warring against me…modern medicine doing the same, while also saving my life and making motherhood possible.

The duality is poetic, yet I cannot see both sides of this coin without being far enough away from it that I can look back in to the distance of my past to evaluate where I have been.

I’ve learned that holding or hosting regret in my physical body only keeps me from the divine flow that makes all good things possible.

I’ve learned to love my period even in its brutality, to sit in the sacred pain in the moments I am invited to feel all the way in to myself.

I’ve also learned how to ask for help and when to call in reinforcements.

I’ve allowed myself to mourn what was lost in the spaces between, the years I can’t get back and the damage done.

I’ve embraced the shedding and the rebirth I open myself up to each and every day of my life.

I’ve slowed down to listen to the beat of my own heart and the miracles that this body has made in the moments of grace, healing, and recovery.

Everything I need to know, I’ve learned from my own sacred cycle and its timeless wisdom.

Over to you…

What has your body been whispering to you?

What patterns and pathways has your sacred cycle gifted to you in the way of deeper learning?

What is coming forth waiting for you to witness?

Featured image by Júlia Peró

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