Guide to Painful Periods: Claiming The Power In Your Reproductive Healing

Guide to Painful Periods- Claiming TheListen to your womb, cervix, uterus, ovaries, belly. Do you hear them?

They are places of deep power, often neglected, but with such profound lessons to teach. To contribute to your wholeness. To help you heal. So long as you are willing to connect to the parts of yourself that are hurting and listen to what they have to say.

Some raw food literature suggests menstruation is the body’s way of detoxing, that if detoxed enough, menstruation will naturally cease. That amenorrhoea due to low weight is actually a sign of raw food and detox success.

Our reproductive organs are powerful, dark, creative spaces. So often they are viewed negatively; as bloody, messy, unseen, and “unclean”. Paired with issues of pain, abuse, miscarriage, abortion hurt, sexual struggles and health challenges, disassociation from them can become almost second nature.

And yet, where healing is concerned, connecting to, nourishing, toning and healing our reproductive and sexual spaces, guiltlessly, is a powerful tool, and one often overlooked in the holistic world.

Menstruation can be a time of fear and pain. And not the sort your grandmother warned you about (remember those concerns over not being able to swim, have sex *gasp!* or outdated menstrual myths), rather true, penetrating anxiety and physical distress. Paired with chronic illness or disability related to the reproductive organs, menstruation often magnifies and further exacerbates sensitive issues.

My Moon Story

“I just want to be OK.”

It felt like my mantra. From keeling over in pain and collapsing down a flight of stairs, hours in gynaecologist’s waiting rooms and days in the bath keeping the hot water topped up and trying to stay awake, I’d gone through my share of rigmarole when it came to menstrual problems. In the early days, my only wish was to be free of the constant pain. I didn’t want to tune into my monthly cycle and count down the days until my internal organs tore themselves apart once again. I enquired about long-term contraception. Hysterectomy. Anything to stop the bleeding and hurting.

Finally – after much soul searching, shifting my perspective and practicing conscious acceptance and self support –

I learned to release perfectionism in my healing.

Anyone can do it.

It’s as simple as letting go. And then giving back. 

Letting go of the pushing away, of resistance. Accepting that yes, perhaps your body is home to endometriosis, infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome, fibroids, or cancer. That menstruating may make things even more, painfully complicated. Then ask:

  • What can I do to support my body in healing?
  • How can I create the best possible environment in which to heal?
  • What healing-blocks can I remove? How can I give back to my precious vessel?

Build Your Healing Moon Map

What better place to begin healing then during your moon-time? Everyone can connect to this healing: men, women, gender-neutral, asexual, children, adults, ageing and growing…cyclical, conscious mending is an organic, useful practice for all.

Get a little quiet now, and tune in. What has your body told you already? What do you need to help support it?

• Get closer to the seasons. How do you feel when the moon is full? Is detoxing easier for you at the new moon in springtime? Do your headaches lessen when the moon wanes? What about your energy levels?

• What has worked in the past when your cramps and muscles are unbearably knotted? Do things ease up when you curl up with warmth and rest? Massage?

• If so, taking some time to set these things up from the beginning is a good thing.

• Do some foods or people irritate you around and during your period? Can you create space for yourself and from them? Check in with yourself before your moon time – do these same things normally bother you? If so, why? Your answers can be telling.

• Do you “fall off the wagon”, over eat nut butters, raw chocolate, nuts, seeds or dried fruit around your bleeding time? It’s natural for increased cravings, but these same extreme urges may be pointing to other, deeper underlying voids yearning to be filled. Be honest with yourself and know what is a true hunger, and not an emotional one. If you are craving something heavy and sweet, you may be sated by curling up with a book and a blanket. Or maybe you long for a more more external “treat” like a warm bath with rose oil. Balance your earthy, luxurious cravings with those of the nutritious kind: some miso in your nori roll, some olives on your salad, an extra teaspoon of raw hemp oil in your green smoothie. Or give yourself some tangy, salty goodness with sauerkraut and cashew cheeze on flax crackers. See how it all feels and take that into account during each new cycle.

• What foods support your healing? Do you crave the salt of the sea which echoes your wave-like cycles? Could seaweed dishes or herbs nourish and appease you?

• Is reproduction an issue? Do you have a child or want to carry one? If you are child-free or ambiguous about your feelings about child bearing are concerned, it’s worth digging into any tangled feelings that may be manifesting during your menstrual cycle. Check out this article for some interesting reading.

• Do you always feel too achy or unwell to exercise? Dedicating some time to gentle Feldenkrais or restorative yoga during your moon time will help ease the stiffness and release any stuck emotions.

• Looking to eat differently but just don’t know where to begin? If you’re full to the brim and exhausted by conflicting messages over what you “must” do to live well, your moon time silence can help guide you.

• View your kitchen as a temple and your chopping board an altar to brew or whip up some healing. Ask your body what it craves; it could be chamomile tea like when you were little, a fresh sweet orange or a salad tangy with fennel. Listen and use your moon time sacred space, your body, to prepare this offering to your healing.

• If pain is your overwhelming experience then think about getting a layered pain plan in place. Consider adding a TENS machine, massage techniques or osteopathy for some relief.

• Make a list of what sorts of options you want to explore and set dates to research or book appointments to learn more. If money is an issue, ask about discounts or sliding scales. Keep asking and searching until you find a way. You and your body are worth it.

• Are you menopausal? A transwoman who has not yet begun? Or have your health challenges affected your periods?

• You can still have your moon time and should! Creating time to connect to your inner Goddess and your healing magic is powerful and essential. Choose yours with care – a regular day every month, or a retreat when you feel the need. Build a box filled with lovely things, soft blankets, beautiful music, funny books, favourite foods, perhaps a moon time journal. Dive in and luxuriate

• Stay honest and understanding with yourself. Emotions raging out of control can be terrifying, for us (and those around us!) This can be further complicated by chronic and invisible conditions. Be truthful with how you are feeling, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. “Putting up” with things until they reach critical mass can cause even deeper rifts and turmoil. Take action, now, to actively care for your feelings, struggles and relationships. They deserve your compassion. (See resources for more info).

Turn Trail Blazer

You are doing this. Creating. Living well with struggles…and shining! (Click to Tweet!)

That’s radical! You are creating change in your body and our world. I am so proud to be on this journey with you.

Thank you for healing along with me!

Healing Resources:

Code Red by Lisa Lister

In Code Red, you’ll learn to live and work in alignment with the rhythms of nature, the moon and your menstrual cycle, be inspired by insights from Wise and Wild women like Meggan Watterson, Alexandra Pope and Uma Dinsmore Tuli. You’ll gain access to easy to follow strategies and SHE Flow practices, and you’ll be invited to re-connect with your true nature as a woman, tap into the transformative power of your innate feminine wisdom and use your menstrual cycle as an ever unfolding map to crack your lady code.

I was given a review copy of this book – and my, my, it’s blowing me away! I utterly recommend you grab a copy, curl up and dive in!

Healing Boxes CIC

My husband and I run this non-profit and make boxes of love, support and healing goodies for anyone struggling with pain, illness or life crisis. If you want us to make you a moon time box, just email and we’ll get it to you!

Moon Times Pads

Using washable menstrual pads was instrumental in my healing as it allowed me to choose what felt best for my body, not what I felt were the “normal” options.

Sacred Yoni

Beautiful, handmade cushions that honour the sacred feminine. Mine was made by the lovely Rachael Hertogs herself.

Healing Uterus

I have a uterus plush made by this company that helped me immensely during some frightening moments in my healing. It connected me with joy and humour to my body (Bonus: While waiting for it to be shipped from the USA, I got to ask, “Has my uterus arrived yet?” Truly. Which gave it an added advantage of providing laughter when it was in short supply.)

Parts of the article were originally published in Funky Raw Magazine.

Image courtesy of Rafolas.