– A GUEST BLOG BY MARIETTE REINEKE –
‘For most of my life, I’ve lived without any connection to my cycle, my body, my uterus, my ovaries, my breasts, my menstruation, my ovulation – in other words, to the fact that I am a woman.’ A story from the heart, by Mariette Reineke (photo).
I am a 43 year-young woman and for most of my life I’ve had no relationship with my menstrual cycle whatsoever. Only that it was a nuisance. It happens, I deal with it and move on.
One day, at the age of 14, when wearing white pants (how convenient…), it started. I had my first menstruation in the toilet at school and had no idea what to do. I felt awkward and embarrassed because I thought the whole school knew. It happened on a day when my father picked me up and suggested we go for a walk with the dogs afterwards. That was the longest walk of my life, with a very peculiar way of walking because of all the toilet paper I had used as a sanitary pad. At home I asked my two older sisters for support and was introduced into to having my monthly period and into sanitary pads.
On the pill
At the age of 16 I had my first boyfriend and my mother suggested taking the pill. For birth control reasons, and not because I had difficulties with my period. I took the pill for many years: I had my monthly ‘fake’ menstruation, put in a tampon (so much more convenient than those big sanitary towel ‘mattresses’), and I lived my life. A life without any connection to my cycle, my body, my uterus, my ovaries, my breasts, my menstruation or my ovulation – in other words, without any connection to the fact that I am a woman.
I never took a moment to ask myself what it actually means to be a woman, let alone what it means to live as one. Nor did I ever ask myself what my menstruation was telling me and if there was, perhaps, a deeper meaning to living within a cyclic rhythm. Menstruation was about bleeding once a month, becoming pregnant (or not), PMS, and feeling uncomfortable in the swimming pool. But mostly, it was about being on the pill.
‘Pfff, how inconvenient’
Conversations about our menstrual cycles and how we women live according to a cycle didn’t exist. Yes, there were the occasional talks with female friends in school about our menstruation and not being able to join the gym class, but always from a negative point of view, about how inconvenient it was. ‘How are you?’ ‘Oooh, I am having my period, pfff’. That was it. Subject closed.
I never heard a girl or woman talk about her menstruation in a positive and joyful way. It was always about nuisance, physical pains, grumpy moods, or being tired. Mostly though, the topic was avoided. Also within my relationships, my menstruation was a no-go area. I had this strong belief that you don’t talk about these women things with boyfriends and when it was ‘that time of the month’, I quietly mentioned something about having my period. There was no touching for a couple of days and that was it.
So much for growing up from a girl into a woman….
Time has changed, for sure, and yes, we talk more openly about our periods, but has the manner in which we talk about it truly changed? From what I read and hear around me, most girls take the pill from a young age and not only because of birth control reasons. They are taking the pill because they don’t want to have all the hassle, pain, nuisance and burdens that come with their menstruation. In fact, they don’t want to have their period at all. And the same goes for women.
But what are we avoiding here? Why do so many girls and women have painful periods, suffer from sore breasts, lose a lot of blood and need to call in sick or can only get through their menstruation by taking several aspirins? It seems that we accepted this as the norm, but is it really?
Over the years, by doing courses with Universal Medicine and with the support from Esoteric Women’s Health, I have learned that it is in fact not normal but for decades now, we have taken on the belief that it is. Have we ever asked ourselves the question if there is another way? I, for one, have come to understand that my period reflects back to how I live as a woman, day by day. And that all the choices I make have an impact on me, my body, and naturally also on my period.
This guest blog is written by the Dutch Mariette Reineke (43) who gives one on one esoteric healing sessions, workshops/presentations on self-care, nutrition and womanhood, all related to the relationship with yourself and your body. See also writes a daily blog (in Dutch). See: Mariettereineke.nl / Heartstorm.nl.
The not so divine secrets of the Bullwinkle Sisterhood, by Mary Novaria
A very public menstrual leak, by Sarah Sahagian
Period changes and chemotherapy, by Cruz Santana
A time for celebration, by Robyn Jones
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