31-07-2016

Cloth Pads And The Pain Has Gone
by Vanessa

It is marked in my memory as an awful day in August many moons ago, I was thirteen years old and my curse arrived. It was an unwelcomed gift and it led me down the road to womanhood, very much hating my blood. Every month I would dread its arrival, as it came with heavy bleeding and excessive cramping. The excruciating pain would start in my lower back and gravitate to my tummy, and then journey down my legs, having me dosed up on strong painkillers for two days a month wrapped around a hot water bottle.

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Doctors reassured me that after giving birth, things would sort themselves out, but four children later the pain had gotten worse. I now had conditions called Adenomyosis, resulting in an enlarged uterus, and Endometriosis, a condition where cells from my uterine lining were planting themselves in areas outside my uterus. I was suffering with lower abdominal pressure, pelvic pain, bloating and heavy periods.

I was told to try the progesterone pill as a temporary solution, to consider the Mirena Coil and to prepare myself for a partial hysterectomy in the future. Averse to having artificial hormones inside me, I decided to see if I could self heal.

My self-healing required me to let go, and let flow. I had hated my monthly visit from the period monster and would plug it up with tampons and numb the pain at all costs, crying out that in my next life I was coming back as a man. I realized I had some extensive work to do to embrace my period, to find love and connection to what I recognized as a debilitating inconvenience.

I began by changing the name from the curse to my moontime. I disposed of the white chemical laden tampax and began to find connection with my womb, via cloth menstrual pads. I recall when I rinsed out my pads for the first time, feeling awe at the colour of my blood, and I remember feeling a certain sense of letting flow as I washed it away. My pads were so comfortable and it felt quite decadent to bleed into such beautiful fabric. I felt fear that I would stain them, but my angst was washed away as I washed away the blood, and realised my blood was not ruining them.

I now chart my cycle with the moon and I listen to my womb speak. Bless her, she has been trying to speak to me for years. I still feel heavy and bloated the day before ovulation, and tearful and sometimes edgy usually 2-3 days before my flow. If I do not rest during my menstruation I get throbbing down my legs by the evening, and sometimes I get a headache. But, me doubled over with cramping has long gone. I have not taken any painkillers for over eight months.

I do not know whether my gynecological conditions are still chronic but what I do know is changing how I regard my moontime has changed my life. Reflecting back, I smile as I think of my womb all puffed up, screaming to get my attention. She has it now, and we are both a whole lot happier, and more comfortable.

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