The Taboo of Periods and My Mission to Change It

I want to start a PERIOD Revolution with Entering the Circle.  I want young girls to feel happy, excited and even proud when they get their period. To celebrate each period as a sign that her body is healthy and cycling as it was meant to do. But in our society, we still hide and feel shame around our periods. We still feel embarrassed as young girls, and even as grown women, that we are menstruating.  Why are we embarrassed by the most natural and healthy thing a female body can do? How do we remove shame and the secrecy that is often associated with getting your period? Why do we have such a negative narrative around periods? And, how do we help young girls love their bodies, and grow to be strong and informed women when the first big physical event that signals “womanhood” is shrouded in shame and embarrassment. 

First and foremost talk about your period – to your friends, to your partners, to your daughters and perhaps most importantly, to your sons!  In our house I have always talked to both of my boys and my girl about the blood that comes out once a month. I explained that this is a sign that my body is healthy and that there is no baby. In the beginning it was just that simple. No shame, no taboo. Just a normal fact of my body.  As they got older, I would add more of the details and physiology and sometimes, even let them see me change my tampon.  I wanted it to be very normal in our home because growing up, that is not what happened for me.

Everyone has an embarrassing period story – EVERYONE!  But of course I think mine is the worst.   I was 16 years old when I got my first period.  As I stepped into the shower to prepare for my very first high school dance, I noticed the tell-tale smear of blood in my underwear.  Fear, shame, and horror flooded over me as I stepped into the shower.  I wanted to cry and scream, but I had to hold it together. My mom and I never talked about periods, she had never purchased “just in case” products for me, and I was not about to ask!  So I wadded up toilet paper to place in my underwear and awkwardly walked out the door to pick up my date. I knew if I went to school I could buy a pad in the bathroom of my all girls high school. The night is a total blur for me but the feelings remain – alone, embarrassed, worried I would bleed all over myself, and a hatred for my unwelcome “friend” on what seemed to be a very important night in my life.  I never told my mom, I never asked her to buy me period products and you know what, my mom never asked me if I got my period.  It was a secret between us – the most natural and normal thing was a taboo.

It has taken me a long time to come to peace with the natural cycles of my own body – my mission with Entering the Circle is to help young girls feel aligned with the natural cycle and rhythms of their own body through knowledge, information, open discussion and awareness of all aspects of their beautiful cyclical bodies.

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Our menstrual cycle is very much like the seasons. The first half of the cycle starts with bleeding. It is the ENERGY side of our cycle – also associated with estrogen. This is the spring and summer of our cycle.  High energy, bright and sunny, seeds planted for the future.  The second half of the cycle – after ovulation is dominated by progesterone and is the autumn and winter of our menstrual cycle.  A time for harvesting or reflecting.  Finally  - winter – the week before our period - a time for rest, hibernation and introspection.  If we can tune-in and listen to what our bodies demand, I believe we can alleviate many of the common PMS symptoms.  Rest more, take time to be alone and listen. I know for me – when I ignore my cycle and its demands, I feel the most moody, stressed and exhausted.

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Entering the Circle is for girls but it is also for the mother or guardian of these young girls.  A reminder to slow down, to pay attention to our own bodies and needs, and to practice self-care as a role model for the young girls in our life.  I know I want to do better for my daughter and I am passionate about changing the attitudes and perceptions around periods for a whole new generation of empowered young women!

“I want women and girls to feel a sense of pride for being the bearers of humanity. To be proud and not ashamed.” Miki Agrawal – founder of THINX

Entering the Circle is a unique and powerful workshop for mothers* and daughters (9-14yrs) to celebrate first menses and the transformative process of “Entering the Circle” of women. Please join us for Entering The Circle at Blooma April 2 & May 21st with Bridget McGreevy. This one-day workshop is $125 per mother/daughter pair. *"Mother" includes any adult, loving female in a young girls life.

Written by Bridget McGreevy: Midwife, mother, Blooma yoga teacher, childbirth educator and co-founder of Entering the Circle
 
To learn more about Entering The Circle, please visit their Website.