Growing Up and Liking It

Close your eyes and allow yourself to sink back to your younger, bleed free, girl days, the days before you had your monthly period.

Now vision the story that was woven for you, the story around your initiation into womanhood.  Were you nurtured and told how divine you were as a female and how the beauty of your uterus and female cycle was a creation story? Your creation story unfolding as a chapter in every women’s (before, now, and after you) creation story?

OR…

Was the monthly curse shrouded in silence, few or no words spoken, and you were left to figure it out on your own.  The silence speaking to you clearly that this is not something we talk about but something we just endure, monthly, until we finally are free from this God awful suffering after we go through menopause.

So how many of you fine females remember this life defining ‘lil booklet, circa mid- ’70’s OR around 12 years of age?

Growing up and liking it, 1978

This was a hallmark of female adolescence; marking our passage from childhood into the mysterious world of womanhood.

I remember finding this handy ‘lil booklet in my older sister’s sock drawer, she was in 6th grade.  Yeah, I was pilfering through it to find a pair of socks I could snatch for the day.  “Hey, what’s this colorful thing?!”  So, of course, I pilfered this booklet as well.  I read it as fast as I could, fascinated (I was in 4th grade) that this was going to happen to me. “Wow, how come no one has told me about this bleeding thing or that I have a uterus?”

So, 6th grade came and went for me… no feminine booklet and the sample pads from Proctor and Gamble.  I am not certain how this mandatory, girls only class, with the school RN passed over me.  I must have exited to the playground with the boys as I so often did.  I hated being stuck inside. (Can’t say much has changed about that!)

Thankfully, I was a sock pilferer and found the booklet.  I knew exactly what was happening when at 12 years of age, on Christmas Eve, I was blessed with my first round of the curse!

I remember feeling like there should have been some fan fare… “Hey, this is a big deal here, I am a big girl now.”  But alas, no fan fare.  I just fell into the habit of using the menstrual products purchased for my older sister.  No questions asked, no curiosity around the fact that these products disappeared twice as fast.

Tampons, nope, those I gathered from the high school nurse and hid in my sock drawer.  I was a competitive swimmer, tampons were essential, but once again not talked about.  Was I ruining my virginity sticking that cotton thing up there? Yikes, someone make me feel ok about this!

So, along comes a female awakening.  About time I might add.  Females are taking back their divine power over their moon cycles; celebrating the beauty of womanhood and our exclusive ability to create. Wow, that monthly bleeding is an amazing thing, a true blessing. What person first called it a curse? How mistaken they were.

If I had girls… These two books would be their gifts into womanhood.  Along with open conversation about the beauty of their bodies and their amazing monthly moon cycle. I have boys.  I have brought them up to see and believe that a woman’s cycle is amazing, a gift to be treasured.  Yes, these books are part of their lives.

This first book I would give to my pre-menstrual daughter.  A loving prep guide for the changes her body will go through; a book to open conversation about her feminine cycle.

Reaching for the Moon – a girl’s guide to her female cycles82 pages. (June 2013)ISBN: 1482363038Written for girls aged 9-14 introducing them to the menstrual cycle in simple, soulful language, taking the form of a gentle, meaningful initiation into womanhood.

Reaching for the Moon incorporates stories, real women’s’ experiences of their first periods, and answers girls’ most burning questions about periods and their bodies in a loving, age-appropriate way:

Contents include:
* Ideas on how to celebrate their first period
* Practical guidance on choosing sanitary products. * Holistic health care for the menstrual cycle.
* Guidance on self-care as an emerging woman.

This is the guide that empowered and caring mothers, aunts and godmothers want for the girls in their lives.

This second book I would have on hand.  When she started her first period, her first moon bleed, this book would be a gift as part of the fan fare to welcome her into the world of womanhood.

Moon Time: a guide to celebrating your menstrual cycle 

144 pages. (February 2012)

ISBN: 1468056719

A guide for all menstrual women from 14- 40. Referred to by readers world-wide as “life changing”. Moon Time will help you to embrace all aspects of your menstrual cycle, heal PMS, develop self-care practices and reconnect to your body’s natural rhythms. 

It is the first book in print to explore the new phenomenon of red tents as places for women’s retreat, and shares how to create a red tent for yourself and your community, as well as how to celebrate a girls’ transition to womanhood. 

Books by Lucy Pearce, Cork, Ireland

Tell me your story in the comments.  How did you learn about your womanhood?  Blessings, Paula

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Raising Daughters in the Red Tent

Raising Daughters in the Red Tent

Stefanie Miosga

Dresden, Germany

stefanie

Check out Stefanie on her German website, Google will translate! http://www.roteszelt.de/uumlber-mich.html

One of the biggest driving factors for me to work in the red tent movement is the fact that I have three young daughters. I want to contribute to their puberty, menarche, and budding femininity being reasons for joyful, excited anticipation. Our generation plays a wonderful part in that: we are the bridge, it is in our hands to initiate the transformation of femininity from shame to a power source.

It was two years ago that my mother took me aside. When two of my daughters were staying with my parents, my mother found one of my cloth pads. It must have slipped into the kids’ clothing after washing. She told me I had to be more careful and that it didn’t do that my kids noticed something like that. When my father entered the room, she even sent him out, as if we were talking about something illegal.

At that time I had only just heard of red tents on the internet. It dawned on me that, as long as women like her, after raising daughters and finishing their fertile years themselves, and are still so ashamed about something like cloth pads, our world is in desperate need of this work!

A while back, my oldest daughter (she’s almost 10) asked me loudly in the crowded school yard: “Mama, do you have a monthly bleeding?“ She had browsed through her science school book and her curiosity was aroused. Her 7 year-old sister was with us and all ears.

Thanks to DeAnna L’am’s wonderful Diva’s Guide to getting your Period, for young girls, which I translated into German last year (“Tanz mit dem Mond“, available in the shop at my website), I had a beautiful, sincere and pleasant explanation for the girls at my hands. Just like birds build a nest before laying their eggs, so our womb builds a nest out of uterus lining, for when a baby starts to grow there. If we don’t conceive, we shed the lining mixed with blood, which results in menstruation. We were not embarrassed. I didn’t embellish anything nor did I tell horror stories. All was clear; the girls were content. They asked what a woman is doing with the blood and I told them briefly about cloth pads vs. disposable pads.

Back when I got my first period, I was “informed” that this will happen because I have an older sister. Still, I didn’t dare tell my mother about it.  When she found out, it was an embarrassing, bleak affair when we talked about periods for almost the only time ever.

I hardly believe that my mother was welcomed into womanhood by her own mother, so how was she supposed to do things differently with her daughters? How was she supposed to know that there was another way? It wasn’t talked about, period (pun intended). Had I asked a question like my daughter did in public, I would probably have been silenced, and later we wouldn’t have talked about it either.

If we want to create a more open environment for our daughters, it is important to start with ourselves. How many of us carry around handed-down taboos, think of their menstruation as a curse and a burden, to only look forward to menopause because of the promise of no more bleeding, and would rather die than talk to anybody about periods?

The good news is: We can still recognize, honour, and welcome the girl we were at our menarche into womanhood today. We can give that to ourselves and each other. We need the company of other women to break the taboos, to celebrate our femininity, to honour, and give each other space to be ourselves.

We can call into being red tents, moon lodges, temple groups, or however we want to call our women’s circles. There we get in touch with our own womanhood. Let’s also bring our adolescent daughters into the groups, their energy gives us at least as much as the wisdom of age gives to them! Our smart daughters won’t buy make-believe joy about their first period from us and don’t suddenly feel like a real woman, as long as we can’t honestly model to them that being a woman is a thing of power, beauty and dignity.

As we heal ourselves, we heal the next generation, healing half of the world’s population one woman at a time.  This healed half radiates healing to the other half!  Ambitious? Yes, and it works when we start with ourselves.

Thank you Stefanie for sharing your story, your journey, a journey many of us lived as well.  I am raising 2 beautiful male souls.  They have always known what my moon cycle is.  Kids ask questions.  Kids hang out with mom in the bathroom (along with the cats, and the dog…).  I never excluded them because I was “bleeding” and they should not know, see, be aware.  They know and they will, hopefully, be better men prepared to embrace strong, powerful, divine women who are thrilled with their feminine energy and cycle!

Ablation? Is This for Real?

Ablation?  

Seriously?  

Fry the Inside of My Uterus?

Ablation is defined as removal of material from the surface of an object by vaporization, chipping, or other erosive processes.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ablation). This definition alone, erosive processes??, would make me shudder and stop to think about what was being recommended for my body, my precious uterus.

“Stop your heavy period and restore your life” is NovaSure’s advertising hype for uterine ablation.  Wow, my life needs restoring because I bleed?  Really?

The opening paragraph on the NovaSure’s website is a scary Patriarchal MindSet, PMS as Wise Woman Susun Weed aptly calls it.

Heavy bleeding is a symptom that there is an imbalance in a woman’s body.  Eroding the endometrium will not heal this imbalance.  Correcting the imbalance will heal the heavy bleeding and prevent more complex female health problems down the road of life.

Address the cause not the symptoms.

I would look at the woman’s diet and lifestyle to unravel the causes of her heavy bleeding symptoms.  I would suggest diet and lifestyle changes that were fitting to her unique, individual needs.  I would recommend herbs (wild yam to start) to assist in healing the imbalances in her whole body.  How about easing stress to prevent the cortisol steal that creates female hormonal imbalances?

These lifestyle medicine healing choices make more sense to me than burning away the endometrium, the uterine lining.

wild yam

 

I am an RN and Holistic Health Educator Healing support person.  I worked in Maternal Child Nursing for 12 years before leaving to focus on Wise Women centered care; holistic health education, and healing support.

I first heard of this uterine ablation while sitting at my healing table working with a beautiful female soul.  She told me she had this procedure 10 years prior, at age 32!  I then gently said, “Wait, what? Please explain that to me again.”  I was shocked to say the least but maintained my compassionate energy.

When I removed myself from standard medical care, I lost track of new procedures created to “solve women’s issues.”  Consequently, I am paying attention again, not to recommend the procedures, but to support women in healing and avoiding such body altering procedures.

Not wanting to make her feel bad for her choice; I opened my ears, heart, and soul and listened to her story.  I was amazed and frustrated at how she was convinced that burning away the inside of her uterus, the endometrium, was just the thing she needed to do to solve all her womanly problems.

I have since heard this story, many times over, and it breaks my heart.  Red tents are needed in every community to remind women of the wisdom of their own body, to listen and hear what the symptoms of heavy bleeding are struggling to tell them.

When will our culture stop viewing menstrual flow as “The Curse,” something to hide and be ashamed of.  When will we once again embrace the life-giving energy that women’s moon flow is.  Menstruation creates the miracle of reproduction… how we all are here!

My wish is to be able to support women in these situations.  By sitting with them, listening to their “her-stories,” and helping them to unravel the causes of the menstrual symptoms.  The body will heal when we remove the cause(s) of the health symptoms and nourish the body back to health with nourishing, Wise Woman supported, life-giving choices.  Lifestyle changes centered on whole food eating, whole health living (lifestyle medicine), and herbs to nourish and heal the woman’s beautiful female organs and her entire body, every cell in her body, would be how I would create a Red Tent for every woman I am blessed to support on their healing paths.