Category Archives: Moon Time

Menstruation… and Motherhood

This is a guest post contributed by Jess Dawson.

1-003The Crazy Woman – painting by Lucy Pearce

As a mother I have realized how important it is to recognize the phases of the cycle, the moments when we feel like super mum, and the moments when we may struggle and find ourselves not wanting to be mums at all.

After childbirth, many women can experience changes in their menstrual cycle: it is common for women to experience emotional turbulence pre-menstrually, and for physical pain to become worse around ovulation. These changes can be due to a number of factors, most commonly a change in hormones, lack of sleep, irregular eating, increased intake of caffeine and sugar loaded foods, and the pressures of parenthood.

Insomnia, depression, lethargy, boredom, anger and at times a profound need to erase one’s situation are some of the emotions mothers may experience pre-menstrually. During this phase many women mention feeling more irritable, more likely to snap at their children, and of feeling overwhelmed by parental responsibility.

If these feelings are misunderstood and not acknowledged it is easy for the mother to act in a way that can be detrimental to the flow of the home, shouting, crying retreating and being irrational. Children whose mothers suffer during their pre-menstrual phase can present with lower immune systems, shifts in behavior, tantrums, being more stubborn and emotionally shut down. As a result the mother can begin to feel a failure and can become isolated within the home.

By charting our cycles we begin to recognise our highs and lows, when we are supersonic indestructible mother and when we are walking around like a fragile piece of porcelain about to break and when we feel a desperate need to be quiet and alone or when the act of communicating is quite beyond us. We begin to see that all these qualities are a vital part of our inner makeup and offer us deeper insight into ourselves.

We begin to recognise signs in our shifting phases: clumsiness, tiredness, vivid dreams, headaches, raised levels of irritation; and begin to understand that problems in the pre-menstrual phase often arise when we try and work against our inner world. This new awareness helps us become more pragmatic about what needs to happen in our lives. Our cycle is like an internal barometer, like a weather forecast. You wouldn’t send the kids out in a storm without a raincoat on so why make a million plans for a time when all you really need to do is be quiet at home? Of course when we are parents there are a million things that we have no control over, such a sick child, a teething baby, food to cook, clothes to wash, birthday, party to organise, school run etc…)

However, I believe that with good awareness and planning we can be true to our capabilities at any given time in the cycle and as a consequence reduce stress within our life and consequently lower our struggles during our pre-menstrual phase.

Cycle awareness is about acceptance, finding the strength to work with ourselves rather than against ourselves. The beauty of charting your cycle is the recognition of your cyclical pattern of growth, renewal, and rest. Even women who do not have regular periods will find there is still a rhythm and pattern to their cycle.

Top tips for parenting with PMS:

  • Sleep without guilt
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol during your pre-menstrual phase and your bleeding.
  • Learn to say NO when you know you need to be quiet.
  • Plan ahead around your pre- menstrual phase, if you are regular mark it on the calendar.
  • Tell you partner what is going on. Don’t expect them to know.
  • Eat a good healthy diet.
  • If necessary go and speak to your doctor.

jess

Jess Dawson is based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK, where she lives with her partner and two children. Jess completed the Women’s Quest apprenticeship  in 2012, which is run by Alexandra Pope (author of “The Wild Genie”, “Women’s Quest Workbook” and co-author of “The Pill” with Jane Bennett).  She offers workshops on cycle awareness, as well as menstrual coaching for women who want to gain a deeper understanding of their cycle. Jess is passionate about the menstrual story and about reclaiming it for generations of girls to come. She is now guiding women in cycle awareness with the aim of reconnecting the body and mind in order to develop a more constructive relationship with the self, using the Women’s Quest Workbook. For more information contact jess@oogoo.net Phone: 07813920287

Celebrating Menarche

Many of us wonder how to mark our daughter’s transition in to womanhood, how to celebrate her first bleeding. I loved this article by DeAnna Lam in her recent newsletter, and wanted to share it with you (with her permission). She is hosting her 2nd Annual Rites Of Passage Tele-Summit next week, which I will be glued to.

Airing live every weekday, from October 22 to November 2, this  Online Event has inspiring new speakers that will focus on PRACTICAL WISDOM from various traditions to help you navigate your daughter’s or son’s journey to adulthood. This event is absolutley Free! Sign up here: www.deannalam.com

Leah’s First Period Ceremony

Leah called me to let me know she has just got her period! Being a heart-auntie to her I was delighted, and deeply touched that she chose to share this with me… Leah excitedly relaid the experience over the phone, told me of her Moms special attentions, and her bounty of gifts that included a red ruby necklace, a journal, fragrant bath salts, a red candle, a box of soothing teas, and many beautifully printed cloth pads. Leah continued to say that she chose to have a ceremony with only her Mom and myself present! I was lost for words…

The date was set, and Leah’s Mom & I were busy planning. We knew we wanted the ceremony to take place in nature, and chose a special grove of Redwoods, which we both love, as our designated spot. We explored what we would want to convey to Leah, and planned ceremonial activities to reflect each of the points we discussed. This was exciting!

The grove welcomed us with warm sunshine, a slight breeze, and deep quiet. We walked softly on the forest floor: a veteran cycling woman, a woman who stopped bleeding, and a girl who just started her first cycle…

We draped red fabrics over lower branches to create an entrance to our sacred place: a cave-like hollow at the base of a huge Grandma Redwood tree. Leah explored the surrounding while we prepared the womb-like tree hollow. We placed a large red fabric on the ground, and created an altar in the center, honoring each of the 4 directions and elements: Feathers in the East to represent Air; A red candle in the South to represent Fire; Sea shells in the West represented Water, and crystals in the North brought Earth to complete the circle, while red flowers graced the center.

Everything was ready. We called Leah to the opening of the tree hollow, smudged each other with pungent sage to clear the old and welcome the new, and asked each other: ‘How do you enter the circle?’ To which we each answered: “In perfect love and perfect trust!”

Inside our cozy womb space we started with a song, and then Leah’s Mom and I each shared with her the story of our first period. Leah then told her fresh new story for the first time in sacred circle.

Each of us adult women shared some of the confusions or questions we had as girls about menstruation and what we learned over the years, which in turn allowed Leah to ask us some of her own questions and receive answers.

We then each presented Leah with a gift. Her Mom gifted her with a Moon Calendar that shows all phases of the moon, for an entire year, on one beautiful poster. Leah marked her first MoonTime by filling in the full moon image with a red pen, as her flow started on the day of the full moon! I presented Leah with a red bracelet and a red rose.

To symbolize Leah’s transition from girlhood to womanhood, her Mom and I created a gateway with arms stretched up and hands clasped together. We invited Leah to ponder what she would like to leave behind as she moves through the gate, and what was she hoping to move toward.

When she was ready, we asked Leah to say Goodbye to an object she brought to represent her childhood, and to discard of it anywhere she chooses. Leah placed a stuffed animal, which she had since she was a baby, in a small cavity inside a nearby redwood, and stood there a moment, saying Goodbye to it…

She then turned toward the open gateway, which her mom and I were embodying, and regally walked through to ‘The Other Side’ representing Womanhood. Our cheers and hugs lasted for a long time…

The time for blessings arrived! We opened a pomegranate juice bottle and poured a few drops on Mother Earth, speaking words of blessing for Her well being. Filling our own glasses with beautiful crimson liquid, we each spoke heartfelt blessing to Leah, honoring her as a newly cycling sister. We shared yummy dark chocolate to enrich and sweeten the moment, which we dipped into our juice and devoured!

It was time to close the circle by thanking and releasing the four directions & four elements whom we welcomed at the opening. While we gathered and packed our altar, Leah was quietly communing with a redwood tree. A shift seemed to have taken place in her. She was still a girl, but a sense of depth seems to have settled in and around her, that will only deepen and grow through her many years of cycling.

(* Leah is a pseudo-name I gave my young friend to protect her privacy)


© 2012, DeAnna L’am, Red Moon – Cycles of Women’s Wisdom™

DeAnna L’am, (B.A.) speaker, coach, and trainer, is author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s guide to Getting Your Period’. She is founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls. Her pioneering work has been transforming women’s & girls’ lives around the world, for over 20 years.

DeAnna helps women & girls love themselves unconditionally! She specializes in helping women make peace with their cycle; Instructs Moms in the art of welcoming girls to empowered womanhood, and trains women to hold RED TENTS in their communities. Visit her at: www.deannalam.com

Note to Self

I am delighted to share with you my contribution to a very special book which has just been published.

Note to Self : The Secret to Becoming your own Best Friend invites you to discover the beauty and power of self-love, acceptance and becoming your own best friend. Exploring topics such as Healing, Menstruation, Motherhood and Body Image, Note to Self shows you how to embrace who you are and write love letters for your soul. It includes a collection of letters from 30 inspiring women around the world including Tabby Biddle, Jane Harwicke Collings … and me!! Continue reading

The Power to Shock!

There is an undeniable power in our menstrual blood.The power to shock.

Perhaps it is truly the last taboo in a seemingly unshockable world.

It is expected that we keep it hidden – we do not talk about it, we do not show it. It is therefore invisible, often even to our intimate partners.

But even those of us who feel pretty liberated, who speak openly of it, can find ourselves shocked…

I have just discovered this website – where artists from around the world make art with, or about, menstrual blood. How does it make YOU feel?

Image credit:”My First Menstruation,” 1999, Ana Elana Pena, Spain.

It is only blood!

If you cut your finger, chances are you would put it straight in your mouth. No fear, no hang ups, no disgust.

But menstrual blood…

Are YOU unshockable?

Full moon rising

February 7th is this month’s full moon. And I am looking forward to consciously celebrating. Tomorrow I will be taking part in Miranda Gray’s Womb Blessing which I am looking forward to. And I will be heading outside and absorbing her glowing, positive, renewing, sustaining light.

Last month I was so deluged under bad nights’ sleep, editing Moon Time and miserable winter weather that I didn’t get out in the moonlight, the first time in many moons. And so perhaps for that reason alone, or all of them conbined, my cycle has realigned itself, mother moon having a gentle joke at my expense about my very limited human understanding, and the irony that I have just written an “authoritative” book on her unknowable mystery. So here I am, with my greater knowledge and awareness than ever before, with my beautiful moon dial mandala having just arrived (these will be available from the Happy Womb very soon), and for the first time since my cycles returned, not knowing where in my cycle I am!

Moon Dial Mandala – Created by Zoe Shekinah now available to buy here!

But that is a true reflection of my state of creativity right now. I did a lot of extra work on Moon Time, so now I am in the situation of awaiting a proof once more, holding off on promoting it till I have a release date. Wating, still waiting to hear back from publishers on the Creative Rainbow Mama book, and wanting to be getting cracking on it again, doing more research for it, more digesting and dreaming. And yet I know that I need to allow enough energy for the final birthing pushes of Moon Time before immersing myself in the deep challenge of shaping all the content that I have for Creative Rainbow Mamas. I am between birth and gestation. I am planning a women’s workshop with a dear friend for April, and organising promoting JUNO at the Irish Homebirth Conference, where I am hoping to interview Ina May Gaskin in person – wahoo!

This on top of two sick girlies, and going from nearly weaned to exclusively breastfeeding our two-year-old. I am so excited to have so many creative dreams coming to fruition these next few months. My painting course starts today. I am literally vibrating with excitement about all these strands of my life. But my body is not sure if it is coming or going. I am being creative, then being a full time mama, pulled back and forth like the tide between the twin moons of my creative babies and my flesh babies.

Where are you at dear reader, as the moon becomes her fullest? Do you find that your cycles respond so acutely to your life? Are you celebrating the full moon this month? 

This post is from my personal blog Dreaming Aloud – do stop by there, and join the Facebook page to be kept up-to-date. I will link up with Dreaming Aloud each month to celebrate full moon.