I know you probably think it’s crazy to propose that our periods are medicine. How could brutal PMS, hormone fluctuations, bleeding, cramps, and being ill for a week possibly be medicine?
But you may not know that good medicine and healing never feels comfortable. In fact, good medicine can take you down, just for a short time, before you actually get better.
I’m a former nurse and have worked with moon cycle medicine, plant medicine, and natural healing since I left nursing.
What I’ve come to understand is that the best medicine is the opposite of a cover-up or a numbing-out, and it is certainly never comfortable.
This is often what we have wrong about so many aspects of healing. We think that we’re supposed to do something or take something, and every symptom we have will, poof, disappear.
Don’t get me wrong, as a former nurse, I know there are instances where we have to eradicate symptoms before they cause severe damage. I’m thinking of extreme pain, inflammation, severe mental illness, or something that would kill us if we don’t take quick action.
But for many of our health and emotional issues, this isn’t the case. Instead, allowing the pain and discomfort to run their natural course is often the best medicine. Sure, there may be things we can do to ease the discomfort, but often, the best action is to just let it be.
Nothing exemplifies this better than our periods. Ladies, our periods are like a monthly healing. And better yet, we have this medicine built-in to our bodies without doing anything at all to get it.
Periods, for many of us, can be extremely uncomfortable. And it’s not just the bleeding and cramps, it’s also the PMS we endure the whole week before. For some of us, the entire process of our periods can be almost devastating. So I understand how tempting it is to find ways to run from it or get rid of it.
But, this natural monthly process is perhaps the only way our bodies can successfully release physical and emotional toxins.
Our period medicine is often more effective than juice cleanses, crying, yoga, or whatever else we do to care for ourselves. Not that we shouldn’t do those things too, but I’m suggesting that we honor this medicine much more than we currently do.
Our periods are preparation for new life and new energy, whether we ever have children or not. Our wombs are not just for childbearing, they are an energetic area where women birth all of their creativity and release what does not serve them.
Before you think this sounds like new-agey woo-woo crap, consider how many times you’ve made a decision to drop old stories? Or how many toxic relationships or bad habits you’ve left in the week leading up to your period? Also, consider how often you’ve had amazing creative breakthroughs during or after your time of bleeding?
And if you haven’t had these experiences, I ask you, are you someone that immediately and fervently finds a way to block out symptoms of PMS or period discomfort? If you’ve never allowed yourself to sit with any of it, you may not be getting the medicine you need.
Yes, I know, our jobs, families, and responsibilities often make it hard for us to bear the brunt of our period medicine. Maybe you bleed so much that you’ve had embarrassing leaks or even anemia. I totally get it, and you have to do what’s best for you.
Women go through enough of being told how to manage our bodies, so we may not need someone telling us to consider accepting our periods as medicine. But also consider the fact that our cultural resistance and rejection of periods were never our decision in the first place.
Periods have always been regarded (mostly by men) as gross, inconvenient, embarrassing, and something to be kept silent. As such, many of us have swallowed this crap and integrated those damaging messages into our psyche.
Many women for whom their periods are extreme may have unknowingly assimilated the message that periods are bad, inconvenient, and should be avoided.
Sometimes, our periods get bad precisely so it can clean that garbage out of our system. Without our period, this toxic energy would eat us alive.
Sometimes, the best way to soften the blow of our periods is to slowly, and with patience, learn to accept and surrender to our period medicine.
This is not woo-woo stuff. No one can deny the existence of our periods. We do not need scientific evidence of it, nor do we need a researcher to back up how potent this process can be.
Women already know, and women make up half the population of this globe. All we have to do is acknowledge what gifts we already have and learn how to honor them.
Here are three techniques for how you can begin to honor your period, learn from it, and allow it to be the medicine it has always been.
1. In the week leading up to our period, start leaning in to discomfort and accepting the PMS.
Instead of shaming and hiding ourselves, we can practice self-care and compassion for the difficult emotions and symptoms. We can ask ourselves what we might need to let go of this month? What difficulties have we been navigating and holding in our bodies?
Listen to what could be behind the difficulties — maybe you’ve had enough of the things keeping you stuck, or perhaps you need to protect your boundaries more.
Write these things down and think about them in whatever self-reflective technique works best for you.
2. Take extra good care of what we take into our body, mind, and emotions.
Many periods are made worse by certain foods, toxins, relationships, or activities that may not be healthy for us. Start looking at what things trigger our periods to get worse and consider avoiding them during PMS and menstruation.
For me, too much junk food, sugar, toxic energy, and social media makes my period a lot worse. I try to avoid these things a week before, and after my period, it makes the whole process flow better, and I can release and learn more.
3. During the bleeding process (menstruation), go very gentle with your body.
Bleeding is the cleaning process, and it can be extremely intense. It’s a purge or a stripping of actual cells from our bodies. Try to move toward an acceptance that this is not going to be comfortable. Practice compassion and treat yourself with kindness.
If you’re able, take a day off work and try not to go out and socialize. If you can’t do that, then be extra careful of your boundaries and self-care if you must work or go out.
Go back to what you reflected on during PMS — the things you wish to release and let go. Allow these things to be released with the cramps and blood. You can simply think about them as you move through the whole process. There’s no hocus-pocus about it.
These techniques can be a straightforward way to re-connect, allow, and accept our monthly medicine.
If you already knew that your period was medicine, then that’s amazing. If you can, be a resource to your sisters who may be struggling. Sit with them, talk with them if they’re open to it, and share your experiences in whatever way is comfortable.
But if you are a woman for whom the idea that our periods may be medicine sounds foreign and uncomfortable, I urge you to open up and consider the healing you may be missing out on. Talk with your sisters, do some research, self-reflect, try things out.
Consider how you may reject other aspects of yourself or the world to the detriment of your well-being. This is likely not your true self, and your body may be trying to get in touch with you. Be gentle with yourself and consider beginning a new exploration into your monthly cycle.
Our periods are not going anywhere, and quite frankly, life would not happen without them. Trying to eradicate our periods is akin to resisting life itself.
Allowing the natural and medicinal process of our period to happen from start to finish can be our greatest healer.