Growing up we can all remember seeing advertisements of commercials showing women doing amazing things while on their period. With the introduction of the tampon, advertisements took on a whole new image; women running, playing sports, swimming and hiking. We were led to believe that a sign of strength is the ability to look like your period has zero impact on your lifestyle.
While all these advancements in period products are truly amazing and extremely convenient, letʻs focus more on the messaging behind them. In modern day society, there is an underlying message that menstruators are expected to not allow their menstrual cycle to “hold them back”. It seems clear that if you are not appearing to be “powering” through your period then you are weak. Menstruators are being silenced through this messaging and feel as though there is no place to struggle with the cramping, the excessive bleeding, and other complications that may arise during oneʻs monthly cycle. Not all menstruators bleed alike and for many it can be a time of physical pain and other emotional complications.
Many indigenous cultures viewed this time on the opposite end and recognized a menstrautorʻs need to rest and rejuvenate during their monthly cycle. Many had specific gathering areas where menstruators would stay during their cycle and rest with others, while their partners and children took over the household chores and other duties for them. Food was brought to them and they were looked upon as being sacred during this time.
With our Mahina + Me Virtual Retreat, we want to reclaim our indigenous practices around our cycles and change the narrative of “Powering through your period” to “Pausing through your period.”
During our menses, itʻs important to listen to our bodies and honor the need to slow down and rest. Many of us get extra tired, irritable, and have certain cravings. Imagine a world where we were honored and encouraged to slow down, rest, and given the choice of leaving our duties to others in our families so we can really take the time to reflect and rejuvenate? We may not be able to go back to the EXACT practices of our ancestors, but we can begin to challenge the notion of having to ignore our bodies and disconnect from our source to survive our monthly cycles.
What does PAUSING through your period look like:
Prioritizing things to allow for extra sleep and rest
Saying no to certain event and functions that can be draining during this time
Praising and honor our fellow menstruators for setting boundaries during this time, even if it's to say no to us
Supporting our fellow menstruators who have cramps and other challenges during this time by allowing them the space to sit out and rest
Asking for help with chores and other duties that can be challenging and not feeling any shame for asking
Eating and drinking ancestral foods that are nourishing and comforting to our bodies
Recognizing that you are more connected to the divine during this time and reflect on any goals you may have for inspiration
We recognize that we may not have the privilege of a complete pause during our monthly flow. If you feel like going on a marathon while on your flow, or running through a field of flowers like the commercials, or need to push through because of necessity, then please do that. Know that the most important thing is to honor yourself by listening to your body and doing what it is asking.