Cherish Your Cycle
For many years I lived without much clue about my feminine cycle. Growing up in a culture where menstruation was taboo, most people whispered about it with embarrassment. To my surprise, menstruation is still taboo in many highly developed places in the world.
You also hear the casual jokes about women being bitchy around their period. Who wants to admit to that? For many years I didn’t give my cycle much thought. Maybe I was ignorant or maybe I repressed it due to its shameful fame.
Giving birth, miscarrying and giving birth again certainly made me pay attention to my physical and hormonal changes.
It almost felt like life threw it all on me and there was no way out. I was shocked about the many things women go through which I didn’t know about before experiencing them firsthand. Here I will focus only on the menstrual cycle.
At some point, after my first daughter was born, I noticed that I had this periodic irritability. My patience threshold was much lower than normal and during this time I suddenly noticed many issues which I urgently wanted to deal with. It certainly was hard on my loved ones! It took me a while to correlate it with my monthly cycle. As I finally realized and admitted that I was experiencing PMS, I wanted to cure it! I found it very inconvenient and annoying. Also, I was hugely embarrassed that I was one of these bitchy PMS–ing women. After a while of searching for a remedy to fix this shameful condition, I gave in. It wasn’t all that easy or natural. Around that time I also finally acknowledged that I was extremely overwhelmed and confused by the changes that motherhood brought into my life. I started taking care of myself and that is when I discovered meditation.
Meditation helped me step out of my chronic fight or flight state and gave me space to be introspective and slowly I found more and more self-acceptance. It was crucial and it allowed me to embrace my PMS.
Finally, I was able to acknowledge the hard emotions I was going through and pause before reacting upon them. At this point, my PMS didn’t feel like a burden and it was just a part of my life. Part of the miraculous cycle.
The next phase of my exploration was taking a look at my entire cycle. I noticed how my diet and amount of stress or rest during the entire month affected the intensity of my PMS and menstruation.
And then I started to realize that each phase of my cycle brought me different gifts. I was very happy to find some resources which confirmed these observations and deepened my knowledge.
The following paragraphs are based on the book by Alisa Vitti called Woman Code. This book offers broad material on the feminine cycle, including the recommended diet for each phase. The author addresses menstrual changes, fertility, and low-libido issues as well. The archetypes corresponding with each phase come from the book Wild Power by Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer and Alexandra Pope.
Pre-ovulation (Follicular Phase)
Duration: 7–10 days
Increase of physical energy; you may feel restless
Little to no vaginal secretion, yellow/white tacky or sticky in texture
High creative potential! Good time for stimulating projects, brainstorming, and mentally challenging assignments
You are most outgoing, social and revitalized – the best time for social activities
You are also most open to new experience and new stimulation
Duration: 3–4 days
Increased vaginal discharge. It’s clear, wet, slippery and stretchy on the day of peak fertility
Strong focus on connecting with the community
Great time for important conversations – your heightened communication skills allow you to convey your thoughts more clearly
Pre-menstrual Phase (Luteal Phase)
Duration: 10–14 days
Archetype: Priestess/Wild Woman
Decline in physical energy
Mood swings, irritability, headache, cravings
Turning inward, desire to nest – perfect phase for domestic chores – you notice things you didn’t see before and you finish projects you may have ignored and delayed all month
Paying attention to your self-care routines
Great time to take it easy, relax and slow down social engagements
Duration: 3–7 days
Archetype: Crone/Wise Woman
Spotting and bleeding
Pelvic cramping, lower backache, fatigue and cravings
Sometimes a sense of relaxation after the estrogen peak
Self-reflection, reevaluation of your life
Feelings of restlessness and dissatisfaction are very common and it may be useful to take advantage of them and introduce some changes
Stronger intuitive messages - worth listening to, especially if there is a theme coming up for you frequently in this phase of your cycle
It was extremely helpful to me to get better insight into the physiological details of my cycle. This is covered in depth in Woman Code.
The pre-menstrual phase brings some discomfort and also enormous potential. Getting to know what is actually happening in my body and that I am not alone having PMS for over ten days each month, definitely helped me embrace it.
Also, I love understanding why certain activities seem flowing naturally and easy in certain phases of my cycle and are struggles during other phases. Being able plan my activities, social outings and projects in agreement with my cycle is truly life changing for me.
WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source by Alisa Vitti (Author)
Wild Power: Discover the Magic of Your Menstrual Cycle and Awaken the Feminine Path to Power by Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer and Alexandra Pope
Code Red: Know Your Flow, Unlock Your Super Powers and Create a Bloody Amazing Life. Period. by Lisa Lister