A Letter from Heng:
From her first pubescent stain to her final drops as she transitions into her menopausal years, each menstrual experience is intimate and personal. As a result, each woman’s menstrual biography is rich and layered with memories and emotions from childhood to middle life, stained with blood and sweat, echoing tears and laughter.
The onset can be shocking. Whether welcome or not, the period’s first arrival is frequently messy and stressful. Learning to cope with our body’s struggle to adjust to new hormones and rhythms is a transition that changes us all. We were redefined from girl to woman at a pace beyond our control.As time marched on, we learned to cope with the embarrassment of period accidents. We shared tales of cramping, irregularity, and birth control in hushed tones among our sisters and friends. We experimented with different pads, liners, and tampons. But, with a tampon in, how connected could we be to our flow, the color and consistency of what we shed? How much could we observe or understand what was happening inside our bodies? And did we have a safe mentor, a mother figure to nurture and guide us along our journey, or were we left in the dark to navigate these murky waters alone? What, from our experience, do we want to pass on to the next generation? How can we make periods a more welcome, informed, and comfortable experience for them?
Over time, as young women - focused more on pleasure than procreation - we may have grown desensitized and detached from the experience of our reproductive organs, removed from our womb until it is needed to create life. Then we slowly climb back into ourselves, reconnecting to a space once abandoned (or even resented) as we finally realize that our womb space is the fire of our life - the center of our vitality.
Periods are a time of release and renewal. Each month, we lose an egg we carried forth from generations of our great grandmothers and mothers to us and on to our daughters. Each month, we grieve that loss, whether subconsciously or not. We repeatedly bear the surge and recessions of hormones that inform our perception of everything we experience. Each month, our bodies rebuild from within, just in case new life is to come. Women are built to be responsible for all the emotions and physical changes, month after month. Because of our periods, we are more resilient. This is our gift.
But at MotherBees, we are building a safe space to support women and their health through their menstruating seasons of life and beyond.
After birth and recovery, we slowly integrate into our postpartum bodies, with new cycles, and adjust to the seasons of parenthood, and the idea of coexisting with our periods becomes more realistic. Like a reliable friend, periods come around consistently and give us a state of self-reflection once a month. And the cycles repeat on as the years pass; our bodies doggedly building new worlds, just in case we want or need them, and releasing them like clockwork.
Finally, as we reach another season’s end, the ovarian well begins its final depletion, and our reproductive systems slow. Our hormones again surge and recede as our body navigates this new transition. The last drops of blood fall, our fertile time draws to a close, and we nurture a new generation of women to carry on this legendary, intimate monthly ritual.
Despite women representing 49.58% of the world population, menstruation has continued to bear a taboo. Society paints it as messy, unpredictable, and inconvenient. It’s mysterious and incomprehensible for most people who never have menstruated and never will. And so there remains an unfairly implied “unsavoriness” about public discourse on menstruation, as with so many other female-centric experiences.
As uniquely built as snowflakes, we each experience our womanhood differently. So I encourage you to spend time reflecting on your menstrual experience every month as a sort of “monthly report card” to help you understand your body and what’s happening inside. You may have no discomfort. You may be crippled by the pain. You may swing from one extreme to another. You may barely take any notice. But in noticing the timing of your cycles, your physical experience, your emotional symptoms, the quality of your menstrual blood, and what you shed, you can better tend to yourself holistically or medically, as needed.
But contrary to popular belief, pain is not a requirement of the menstrual experience. You may note a slight soreness in the lower back, achy breasts, or light cramps during the first few days of your period - this is common. But excruciating pain or excessive bleeding are signs that something in your body is off balance. According to Chinese Medicine, a healthy regular blood flow holistically represents the whole body, and menstrual irregularities or excessive symptoms could be related to your liver, spleen, or kidneys.
At MotherBees, we believe in alternative care if the symptoms are not acute and support supplementing Western medicine with eastern methods. Our favorite alternative period care tools include dietary food supplements, healthy whole foods, organic herbs, homeopathic remedies, and healers. Because each woman is unique, so will be your needs. Thus, it’s always best to discuss a good plan with your doctor, naturopath, or homeopathic practitioner before starting a new healthcare protocol.May your periods be peaceful, dear friends,