When I was a child I wanted to have a period really bad. My peers were starting to get theirs and I have to admit I had period envy. I felt like I was missing out on something and was feeling like a late bloomer. I was curious about it all and just wanted to experience it for myself. So much so when some companies mailed pad and tampon samples I stashed them away for myself. (covers face) I remember trying them out so I could see what it felt like. No period in site but I wore a paid for a day and we don't even know how to unpack my trying a tampon as a period less virgin. Let's just say desert conditions made it very uncomfortable.
My period finally arrived the summer before I went to middle school. I remember my stomach being itchy while we opened the Sabbath. I never experienced that before. The next day I went to my pediatrician for my middle school check-up. It was one of those rare Saturday's that my mother did not go to church because Saturday was the only day we could make it to see Dr. Go. I provided her with my urine sample and when she looked at it she asked me if I was on my period. I said no. She asked me to go back to the bathroom and check. Low and behold the day had arrived. I think my ancestors worked it out up until that point all I knew about my period came out of my research. I checked out several books from the library to learn about my body and puberty because I was not allowed in Sex Ed and the extent of the conversation around sex and my body was, " Boys will get you pregnant and leave you." My pediatrician explained what was going on and what to expect.
When my mother and I arrived home our sabbath lunch turned into a period celebration. She called Haiti to tell everyone and told everyone who came to lunch. Insert me being super embarrassed. It was followed by everyone sharing different rituals to do for the first menstrual cycle. It was a whirlwind for my mother and I. This one woman told my mother to give me a cup of lemon juice to make sure it was a "real" period. So, of course, my mother proceeded to make me a cup of lemon juice what she failed to clarify was it should have been mixed with water. It knocked my period out for a day.
My grandmother led us in a ritual where we gave my first blood to a spirit that was affiliated with menstrual cycles. I thanked the spirit for my period and had to throw my pad on the roof. This lead to a lot of paranoia. Being raised in a Christian household i didn't use to rituals. I was worried about the pad falling off the roof or being found. My paranoia got worse when our roof had to be fixed. I can't explain the thoughts running in my 11-year-old head.
A year later I learned periods were not going to be cut and dry for me. My period although painless was super irregular. It skipped a one month came another then it was gone for six months. I would later find out it was due to a pituitary tumor. To have regular periods I had to be placed on medication. At one point I could schedule when it would arrive.
During this time I discovered I had a diva for a vagina. Thick pads were our enemy and we became an Always and Tampax fan. (I hid my use of tampons because my mother believed virgins shouldn't be able to use them.)
In 2001 I had a lifestyle overhaul in part to find a solution to my irregular periods that did not involve a prescription. It did not start too well. I went cold turkey and stopped taking birth control. Birth control was one of the ways I was able to have a monthly cycle. When I stopped, however, I bled for a month. I went to my gynecologist and told him of my intention. He told me that because I had been on birth control for so long my body was essentially addicted to and I could not just stop taking. I went back on birth control to stop the bleeding then saw a naturopath. He placed me on a plan to wean me off of the birth control and regulate my period. Below I will share some of the herbs that have helped.
Evening Primrose Oil
- Prevents High blood pressure and pre-eclampsia
- Helps with PMS, breast pain, endometriosis, symptoms of menopause
- Shortens labor
- Dietary source of fatty acid
- Helps with PMS, Cramps, infertility, hormonally induced acne and Irregular periods
- Helps with endometriosis
- Great for women with Polycystic Ovary syndrome
- Detoxifier removes waste from the lymph
- Stinging Nettle reduces PMS, processes estrogen to relieve menopausal symptoms, curbs the menstrual flow
- Womb Working Herb
- Quells heavy bleeding and stimulates bleeding if it is scant
- Relieves congestion that causes dark clotted blood and period pains
- Clear infections and discharge
- Great Source of isoflavones (water-soluble chemicals that act like estrogen)
- Helps with hot flashes
- Relieves PMS
- Uterine Fibroids
- Improves circulation
- Removes mucus
- Great for cramps and nausea
Red Raspberry Leaf
- Improves uterine health during pregnancy and childbearing years
- Strengthens Uterus
- Ease menstrual discomfort
- Improves implantation
- Prevents miscarriage
- Balances Hormones
- Increase fertility
- Endocrine adaptogen
- Helps with Libido
- Supports normal hormone production
- Increases fertility
- Helps with Adrenal fatigue
- Reduces stress hormone
When I became vegan my period became shorter instead of it being 7-10 days it went down to 6-7. When I changed what I used during my period it also led to a reduction of days, it went to 5-6. I discovered what I was using was full of chemicals that could be impacting my womb health and extending the number of days I bled. I started using organic unbleached chemical-free pads and tampons. I later switched to a menstrual cup and now use Thinx period under. Check out my blog post about menstrual underwear. I am Thinx leader and if you go to my link you can save $10 off your purchase.
Most recently I started to rest on my period. This means no yoga, no exercise maybe light walking. When I made that change my period went down to 3 days. My journey with my period has been full of highs and lows. I'm grateful for her arrival every month because I fought hard to have her. What's your journey been like?
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