4woman Ladies


Now and Then

Attitudes and changing attitudes about our periods

I think of having periods as catharsis, i.e. a kind of cleansingprocess, both mental and physical. Catharsis involves pain, and itmight not be voluntary, but you end up feeling better. I might have PMT and be pissed off with everything for a few days, but during the last days of my period it feels like a fresh start. I'll make plans for the future, things that I'd like to do, rewards to myself for coping well. I try to retain some of the insights I had during the pissed-off phase.If it feels like I've been treading water over something, during thatphase I tend to think, 'Fuck this!' Afterwards I think, Well, maybe Ishould move on. Also, I always want sex on the first day of my period.I have a feeling this might not be unusual.

i have been pregnant 3 times, one is my son, who was brought into the world 9 years ago via caesarean and the other two were first trimester pregnancies that i terminated. it wasn't until some 5 or 6 years after the last abortion that i looked down at my menstrual blood and was able to grieve for my other two children that are not with me. when i was sitting on the toilet, i reached down and caught a small clot, moved it between my fingers and started to weep. i just kept saying, "my babies....my babies..." it was a very cleansing thing

.I like my period. For a while I was really into how magical it seems.I don't mind touching, smelling, and seeing it. I think it's neat. It iskind of strange because I am squeamish about the blood from cuts or wounds,and about having my blood taken. But my period seems different becauseit is not about sickness or being hurt, it is about regeneration and renewal.

My period has changed over the years. When it started it was almostnothing, and I didn't pay any attention to it. In high school it becameheavier, and very regular, but it was still mild in terms of cramps. Incollege the cramps started to kick in, once and a while, and I became awareof some PMS symptoms. Nowadays, it can be really difficult to get throughthe first day because the cramps are so bad, but it is all so familiarto me that it doesn't seem strange that there is so much pain. I wonderwhat's coming next.

If it had been this way when I started, I probably would have demandedto have my uterus removed! I think of it as a monthly test of strength.When I have bad cramps out in public no would ever know, and at those timesI look at men around me, and imagine what their faces would look like ifthey suddenly got my cramps. They'd be on the floor! Somehow this makesme feel better.

I've come to appreciate my period. For years, I thought "OK., it'snatural, but what a nuisance!" I didn't feel like I was into the whole"identify as a woman" thing. I thought that to suck it all outwith a vacuum cleaner-like device sounded like a great alternative to lettingthe blood and tissue take its course over a period of days. I was basicallyannoyed by the inconvenience caused by bleeding, and the extra care I hadto take of myself. In recent years, the tables have turned. I have to saythat I'm somewhat thrilled by the sight of blood seeping out of my body.I take delight in the fact that this is a specifically feminine experienceand that men can never experience bleeding without it being linked to injury.There's something subversive about touching blood that comes from one'sown body that is, by no means, a sign of harm to the body. It places onein a different relationship to blood. Also, I enjoy observing how the colorand consistency changes over the course of the period. And, I use my periodas a marker of time: "this happened since my last period. I was havingmy period when I visited that place. I will probably be having my periodwhen I'm there..." Now I'm much more excited by the organic "I'ma woman" qualities of bleeding regularly! Of course, though, I thinkfeminine hygiene products should be free, if not at least tax free, a prettygood reason for revolt!

To me my period means monthly cramps and another thing I have to dealwith as a woman.

The meaning of my period has changed a lot in the last few years. I'vereally come to value it. Sometimes I'm still bothered by it but most ofthe time I see my bleeding time a time of focusing inward and meditation.I was really influenced by a book I read on the power of menstruation,and I no longer feel that my period is a "curse" but rather apowerful time when I connect with being a woman.

It's an endless cycle, every month revolves around having it and thenabout to be getting it again. But it doesn't bother me that much, exceptfor the bloating and the ruined underwear.

My period primarily means to me that I am not pregnant. But I thinkI do feel more "natural" that week -- not because I'm menstruation,necessarily. Rather, because that's the one week each month in which I'mnot putting artificial hormones in my body (I'm on the pill).

The meaning of my period has changed a lot in the last few years. I'vereally come to value it. Sometimes I'm still bothered by it but most ofthe time I see my bleeding time a time of focusing inward and meditation.I was really influenced by a book I read on the power of menstruation,and I no longer feel that my period is a "curse" but rather apowerful time when I connect with being a woman.

The fascinating thing about menstruation is that it changes with time.This is something I did not know when I got my first period. My periodhas changed quite a bit over the twelve years I've had it, and friendsof mine who are older say theirs have continued to change as well. SometimesI feel like a researcher, trying to detect patterns in the cycle. And ifyou think about it, women probably do more research and understand moreabout their cycles than gynecologists, because so little formal researchhas been done.

I couldn't believe it when I was talking to my gynecologist about crampsand she said that medical science doesn't know what causes them. It seemsthat should be an easy question to figure out.

As my period has changed, my relationship to it has changed. I havealways liked my period. When I see it begin each month, it is like an oldfriend. I enjoy the way my cycle repeats each month, and I like how awareit makes me of my body. I think when my period first began it was a fairlylight flow. As I entered my teens the flow became fairly heavy. I onlyexperienced very minor cramps as a teenager, and I didn't understand whatall the fuss about cramps was. When I was about twenty I began to get strongcramps. I have never liked aspirin much, but after trying herbal teas andmassaging with no improvement, I became a firm believer in ibuprofen.

Now it is often just a pain, something I have to deal with. Sometimesit's a relief, an explanation why I haven't been feeling so good. I doubtI'll miss it when I reach menopause, although its absence correlates withaging so perhaps I will. It's also expensive. Sometimes it seems like agood excuse to pamper yourself.

Since my mid- twenties my period has progressively become more of apain in the ass. First of all, I was on the pill for several years hereand there, and the pill makes your flow extremely light. I barely eventhought about my period. But now it's really heavy and I have to wear supertampons and panty liners for the first three days, Also, the first threedays bring cramps that would probably knock me down if I wasn't alreadycurled in a ball, clutching my stomach with my eyes bugging out of my head.Maybe even worse, because it affects getting dressed and my ability tobehave socially, is the bloating and weird pokey stomach pains that accompanycramps. Yup, all around fun.

When my period starts I think "good, I'm not pregnant". Then,its just a drag. I've never really dealt with it. I try to pretend it doesn'texist. I refuse to buy all the "feminine products" made to helpus cope. I certainly will not miss it when its gone. On the flip side whenfriends are menstruating with me it can become a bonding experience. Then,I don't dislike it as much.

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