Trigger warning** if you do not like words that have socially attributed negative connotations, or natural bodily functions that may happen to half the population every single month for a good forty years of their lives- do not read on.**
I’ve got my menses, period, monthly- whatever you want to call it-at the moment.
I was excited for it this time, after feeling empowered by Inga Musico’s book Cunt for Betty Book Group. In Cunt, Musico describes embracing her period. At the discussion on Sunday night at The Winston (the new and improved Alleycat bar)- we were discussing our first periods, how this came about and where we were.
That Time of the Month:
For me, I remember getting my period at around 12 years of age (a year after I had begun shaving my armpits). I remember my aunt was down from Melbourne and she gave me a hug. I assume my mother did too but I distinctly remember my aunt hugging me. This was a big deal and I was excited.
But cramps were the worst! And my excitement soon waned. I remember just being in agony for a few days every month. I went on the pill early at around 15 years due to crazy hormones including severe breakouts and mood swings. Now, I have an implanon (and adult acne). After reading Inga’s chapters on contraception and I had this strange sensation of wanting to scratch my implanon out. My periods have calmed down, but I (did) dread getting my period. The messiness of it all, the pain from my uterine muscles contracting and the dull pain in the tops of my legs. The thought of spending so much money every month on tampons and pads. Not to mention having diagnosed anaemia doesn’t help the situation much. Steak anybody?
After thinking more about Musico’s chapter ‘Blood and Cunts’, I decided to take control over my period and start reframing my period in a positive light from now on.
-Hey! I’m not pregnant! Woohoo! My body is functioning! It’s not icky, it’s a normal part of being a woman.
Thousands of women are all going through the same thing as me at the same time! –
I never knew that women’s menstrual cycles could be synched with the moon’s cycles or that there was any connection there at all.
“The Moon is the closest celestial body to our planet. The Moon’s pull on the Earth keeps us tilted on our axis, basically creating and keeping the seasons in balance for all living things! She also controls the tides and essentially all water on our planet, along with the water and fluid in our bodies. Before lights and other factors, most womens’ moon-times were connected with the Moon phases; usually menstruating around the New Moon, and ovulating around the Full Moon, following the 28-day Lunar cycle.- Marissa Moondaughter.
I purchased Marissa’s ‘Celebrate your moon-time’ e-course from Etsy.
Western society gives our periods a bad rep; they are ‘dirty’ and ‘gross’ and we need to keep them locked away and dealt with secretly to not disturb the rest of humanity. However, half the population of the world ‘deals’ with this phenomena on a daily/monthly basis. So, we women, have been trained to not like our moon-times and dread its arrival every month.
To reclaim this cycle as our own, I propose to not be ashamed of this natural flow and be proud of it! This is a time of month for us to honor, retreat, create, and rest in our sacredness and femininity.”
I didn’t realise that women were so connected with the moon and her cycles. I’ve always felt connected to her anyway, and having my period start over a new moon is kind of cool. Check out this link which has some tips to synchronise with the moon during your moon cycle.
The other empowering thing I’m doing besides working on getting in tune with my body is talking to people about it. I took a hot water bottle to work yesterday to soothe my cramps. I talked to the wonderful women I work with about it. I didn’t feel shameful or dirty. I thought about how my cycle and looked up information about it, became curious about sea sponges, and reusable cloth pads.
Up until a few months ago, I didn’t realise we as women have real options besides Libra and Carefree (and the other disposable brands). Now, I’m so looking forward to my next moon cycle to try cloth pads!
Today, I attempted to make my own cloth pads. Safe to say I will definitely be buying some from Tasmanian based Moonpads because while I had fun attempting, my pads turned out to be an orange fleece, yellow flannelette disaster. Moonpads are so pretty!
There are many reasons for choosing cloth based pads instead of disposable- the environmental impact, the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome and the cost of disposables every month. I’ve been thinking about the idea of having plastic in my underwear all day- it just can’t be good for our bodies.
Need more convincing?
Disposable pads and tampons add to landfill. Not only are the pads themselves made from non-biodegradableable products, the packaging themselves (outer wrapper, individual wrapper, plastic strip!) also add to landfill. Even when cloth pads wear out because they are made from natural products, they can be composted!
There are approximately 5.5 million females in Australia between the ages of 12 and 51* (the average ages of starting and finishing menstration). If all of these used disposable pads and tampons, averaging 10 per month, that would add up to 660 MILLION pads and tampons added to landfill EVERY year. That’s a big pile!!!
Manufacture of disposable pads involves bleaching resulting in pollution to waterways from effluent, not to mention the chemicals and gels that provide the ‘superabsorbancy’ claimed by disposable pad and tampon manufacturers.– Greenchickadee.com.au
Another great site is the ever helpful Gala Darling-‘Ultimate Guide to Making your Periods Suck Less’. I love her idea tip about wearing your favourite underwear during your period.
Happy Moon Cycles! Laura