I got my period when I was 14 years old and I did NOT know what was going on. I started bleeding and thought I was dying. Menstruation (among many other things) was a taboo topic in our household, and unfortunately not something we ever spoke about. So I had to turn to the sealed section of teenage magazines to get my info (keeping in mind, this was before Doctor Google was around!).
I covered the bloody evidence on my undies by wearing loo paper or binning my undies throughout my flow. Until one day, my mum caught on (how do mums seem to know everything?!) and all of sudden pads and tampons were appearing in my bathroom cabinet. I had so much shame and guilt around this sacred and special ‘coming of age’ time in my life, and I didn’t understand what was going on with my body.
Then, from 14 to 18 years old, I experienced debilitating periods where I would be hunched over in agony, sometimes even passing out, vomiting, diarrhea, missing days of school and downing as many painkillers as I could just to get through the excruciating pain. I used chemical-laden toxic pads and tampons, which I would leave in overnight and all day at school because I was so embarrassed and didn’t want to face what was ‘down there’. Then when I hit 18 years old, I didn’t want to fall pregnant so I went straight on the pill. I loved it! My skin cleared up and I could skip my period whenever I had a party or event. #Winning! Or so I thought…
Those who have read my book Mastering Your Mean Girl will know that at age 24 I hit rock bottom, and my health and happiness plummeted. It was then I studied holistic nutrition that I learned the repercussions of the pill and what it was doing to my temple. From then on I decided to stop taking it, assuming that everything would instantly right itself. Oh, how ignorant I was… I didn’t get my period again for almost two years! According to my good friend Dr Nat Kringoudis (a natural fertility expert), ‘The pill takes your hormones offline. It can numb you, making you feel detached from your own body.’ Once I heard this information, I made it my mission to get my absent period back naturally, to chart my cycle and to fall in love with my body and my flow. I also made a promise to myself to honor my body as the temple and incredible giver of life that it is.
These changes didn’t happen overnight. It was a journey and one that I’m still on. But holy Shakti has it been a worthwhile ride! Connecting with my internal cycle has been life changing and has allowed me to fully embrace who I am and what it means to be a woman. It has been truly profound. If only this taboo topic was talked about more in schools!
The path to healing was a gradual one. During the time before my period came back, I became devoted to nourishing my beautiful body and treating it like the temple it is. I vowed to never trash my it again, and I was so deeply committed to honoring my vehicle.
My first period back was the celebration I had longed for when I was 14. I danced around the house, amazed and in awe of the wisdom in my body. I was so grateful, I vowed that moving forward, I would always honor my cycle as the divine gift that it is.
Together with nourishing my body, meditation, and getting out into nature as much as possible, there are 4 other ways that have helped me fall in love with my cycle.
The best way to become more connected to yourself and your cycle is by charting your period. You can do this manually in your diary, or by using an app as I do. Some great apps are Period Tracker, Clue, Natural Cycles, The Daisy, Kindara and M Cycles. I am sure there are plenty of other great ones too, so have a little search and pick the one you like best. I personally love and use Period Tracker, and really find joy in connecting with my body and charting my cycle. You can make notes about anything you like — the foods you are craving, your moods, any relationship stuff, what’s working, what’s not working… Soon you will start to see patterns (or cycles) more clearly. You will see when you feel more sensual, when you are more intuitive, and when you are most likely to be a bit short or even snappy. Once you’ve chosen your preferred method of charting, get started today and enjoy becoming deeply in tune with your beautiful self.
Hannah what?! Hannah pads are reusable menstrual pads that are healthier for your body, your wallet, and the planet as a whole! Made from certified organic cotton that is unbleached and undyed, they’ve got no nasties in them and are safe to sit against that delicate and precious area. I love using these as much as possible. If I am at home all day, these are my go to. Then, once you use them, you pop them in the wash. These are so great because you aren’t stopping the natural flow of blood. It wants to come out, so let it! By using moon pads, we allow our body to do its natural goddess-y thing without popping something up there to hinder the flow.
Something else that has connected me deeper to my body and cycle is using a juju cup. A juju cup is a small, flexible cone-shaped cup that’s made from the highest quality medical-grade silicone. You use it in the same way you would a tampon, however, a juju cup collects the blood rather than absorbs it. It’s healthy for you because it doesn’t contain any harmful substances like chlorine, fragrances, BPA or bleach (like many sanitary products do except for TOM). It’s also hypoallergenic and is so much cheaper than disposable products (if you take proper care of your juju cup, it can last many years and save you hundreds of dollars). I also love the environmental benefits. Did you know that during your lifetime, the average woman uses over 10,000 disposable sanitary products? These contribute to landfills and pollute our waterways, so a juju cup is a great option for this reason too.
TOM Organic are my favorite single-use sanitary products, because they are made with pure organic cotton which is better for you and the environment. You do NOT want to be putting products which are covered in bleach and toxic chemicals inside the most delicate part of your body. Honor yourself and your body by making sure you are using products that are going to serve you. (I also love that by supporting companies like TOM Organic, we can vote with our dollar and show big corporations that we demand more for our bodies and the planet.)
It’s eye-opening for me to look back over my journey with my body and my cycle. In my teens and twenties, I hated my body so much — I trashed it, didn’t respect it, and viewed my period as an enormous hindrance. But those days are long gone. I now love my temple! I am so grateful to be healthy — including having a regular cycle — and every day I express that. Bleeding is such a beautiful part of being a women. It represents health and fertility and we should celebrate it more. I had a friend whose husband would give her a gift on the first day of her flow. Things like a rose he picked from the garden, a new pair of underwear or her favorite organic tea or raw chocolate. When I heard about this, I loved that they would celebrate this beautiful gift together. I now do something similar on my own. On the first day of my period, I really up my self-love and self-care. If I can, I take the morning off, stay in bed, take myself to the park and lay in the sun with a book and my journal, I sip tea on my balcony and I just BE. I allow myself to sit on the couch and do — wait for it… nothing!
Bleeding is a divine gift which represents health and fertility.
So beautiful, has this post about your cycle inspired you?
If so, it’s time to love your body and love your flow. It’s time to master your Mean Girl and quit the body shaming. Our daughters (and future daughters) are watching. They need us. They know when we look in the mirror and scold ourselves even if we don’t say it aloud, they can feel it. So if we want to lead by example and teach them how to love their temples, we must walk the path first and lead by example. You CAN do it!
Are you ready to commit to loving your temple and flow, once and for all?
Sign this sacred contract to declare your promise:
I, [NAME], commit to treating my body like the temple it is. I promise to honor my body and celebrate my flow. I will master my Mean Girl and quit hating on my body and flow. If I catch myself being mean to myself, I will gently shut the door on my Mean Girl and return back to my truth — love — as quickly as I can… without any judgment!
This I promise.
Finally, I’d love you to share with me in the comments: What one thing are you going to do, during your next moon, to honor your beautiful temple and the divine gift of your period? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! Let’s start a divine list of ideas that we can all come back to for inspiration and motivation.
And if there’s a woman in your life who you know could do with a potent reminder about how amazing her temple is, please email it to her or share on your socials. (Imagine the ripple effect we can create if EVERY woman in the world falls in love with her period?! Let’s do it, ladies!)
And for more epic advice of all lady things make sure you get your hand on my book Open Wide The Radically Real Guide To Deep love, Rocking Relationships and Soulful sex.