- Religion and Philosophy»
MENSES, CHILDBIRTH & MENOPAUSE
Our Great Female Experiences
Only females experience the menses, childbirth and menopause. These three experiences are interwoven into our identities as females.
The average age of the menses has decreased from age 14 to age 12 in the last 20 years. It is believed that the decrease is tied to the increase in exposure to environmental toxins. When I was 14 I had my first period. My mother gave me a booklet to read about my experience. At school they separated the girls and boys and showed a movie to girls about the menses. In those days they only had pads, no tampons or the more environmentally-friendly glad rags made out of cotton flannel which you could wash and re-use every month. I never learned about the lunar cycles and the menses until I was in my 40's. More and more women I talked to started talking about the effects of full and new moons on their cycles. It is during those phases, we can be greatly affected spiritually, mentally and physically. The Hindu and Native American calendars are based on the natural lunar cycles. I also learned more about natural remedies for menstrual pain, including Evening Primose Oil. Two months after starting the oil, my pain disappeared during my periods. My periods became more irregular until my last period at age 50.
In my 40's I bought a book on fertility cycles to learn more about natural birth control. Being I was chemically sensitive, I needed to use this type of birth control. It's good in that your partner is involved in the process of understanding your cycles and fertility. It's also better for your health because you avoid exposure to side effects of contraceptives.
Women have a great advantage over men during the menses in that they discard toxins easily every month. Native American and other tribal peoples had sweat lodges for men to clear toxins out of the body because they did not experience the menses like women. There is a belief from some traditions and among some people that women are impure during the menses, but the truth is women are actually more environmentally pure than men because of their menstrual cycles. Women are going through a purification process. Women can be their own priestesses at this time because of their natural ability to detoxify and purify. Men did not understand the mystery and purification process of the menses. They also lacked scientific knowledge of our detoxification systems. Some priests made money on purification rituals, so there may also have been a money motive in some cases. Women are encouraged to develop and experience matriarchial rituals which have meaning for them during the menses.
Childbirth can be experienced in many ways: midwife, home, natural or hospital birth. My mother had an interesting experience when she gave birth to her first child. She went into labor and walked over to the hospital because my parents lived close to a hospital when they were first married. My mother told the nurse to call my dad at work to tell him to come to the hospital because she was going into labor. Unfortunately, the nurse neglected to call my dad. When my dad got home, he panicked because my mom was no where to be found. He called the police. They asked him several questions and then they asked him if she was pregnant. Then he said, "Oh, that's right. She's probably at the hospital." He called and found out she had just given birth. She only had a two hour labor time, very unusual for a woman's first child. He came over to the hospital to see my mom, missing the birth of their first child.
My second youngest sister had a very sad experience. Her first child was a still born female infant. It was so devasting for her at the time. She had a funeral and burial for the child. I was reminded of this child when I read my father's obituary recently. It was the grandchild who preceeded him in death. My youngest brother's wife had to have three Caesarean sections because all three of their children were too large for her birth canal. Julius Caesar was born in this manner and this is where the name Caesarean section came from originally.
My mother had difficulty breast feeding her children, but most of my sisters and sister-in-laws breast fed their children. Parents often lose a lot of sleep the first six months in a child's life. I remember my mother teaching my dad to pin a diaper. His fingers were not as nibble as her's, so it took him a few tries before he caught on to the technique. I played with the babies in the bathtub with bath toys. My mother would get very large when she was pregnant with each child, and I felt sorry that she had to carry around that extra weight. She had morning sickness with each child early in the pregnancy. She had the measles right before she had her sixth child, and she worried about having a child with birth defects. She told me how she saw Jesus in the garden and knew her child would be okay. She was right on that score. You can see that child birth and pregnancy can be a joy and a challenge at the same time.
Menopause is the time of life you experience when you have gained wisdom and can not birth a child any more. You birth ideas, goals, wisdom and attitudes for your middle and senior years. You become a mentor to younger women making life choices. Some women become great aunts and grandmothers at this age.
At 50 I entered menopause with less hot flashes than many women because I used Evening Primose Rose Oil, Red Clover and Black Cohosh. Eating right can also help your transition. Soy can set off some women. Junk food diets promote bad menopause symptoms. You do have to take good detoxifers like milk thistle and dandelion root. With the coming of menopause I needed to detoxify with more herbs to make up for my monthly shedding of toxins through the menses. You live your life differently because of the ending of the menses. There is no worry about birth control any more. That is a liberation for many of us. Vaginal fluids take longer to lubricate. You do have to get used to these changes.
Moon cycles also apply to menopausal women. The full and new moons do affect you more than other parts of the lunar cycle. I try to take care of myself during these times of the month.
Women do great things in all these phases to life. Many of us have multiple roles from being homemakers to being leaders of nations.
JAI SHRI MENSES, CHILDBIRTH & MENOPAUSE! JAI SHRI MOTHERS!