Whenever I teach Moon Circle, there is usually a common thread with the women in the circle, and each circle has a different common thread than the last.
The last 3 times I’ve taught it though, there was a common thread among all of them.
Women shared stories of struggling with PMS, what they experience, how difficult it is.
And since then, I’ve been hearing PMS everywhere. I think it’s a bit more of a thing to say ‘I’m PMSing’ in the States than here in Australia. I hear at home, ‘I’m premenstrual’ more often.
Hearing this so much when I was in America, I questioned it again, read into it, broke it down.
Pre Menstrual Syndrome.
I looked up syndrome in the Cambridge English Dictionary-
1- a combination of medical problems that shows the existence of a particular disease or mental condition
2- used in the name of various illnesses
3- type of negative behaviour or mental state that is typical of a person in a particular situation
So, my thoughts…. menstruation is not a disease or medical condition, nor is it an illness or a mental state or ‘situation’.
The reason PMS is considered a ‘negative behaviour’ is because women tend to not be as happy, up, available, energetic, allowing and accomodating as they are in the 2nd and 3rd week of their cycle. Big problem… So lets call it a syndrome!!
Around day 21 of our cycle (if you have a 28 day cycle) is when our energy wains, we turn inward, our bodies crave rest, dreaming and nourishment.
When we don’t do these things, or reduce our output at all, and the demands of the people or world around us remain the same intensity as the rest of the cycle, and if we are obliging in giving as much as we do in the peak of our energy, we are drawing from our reserves, we become exhausted, short tempered, fighting against the pull of our body wisdom, the pull of gravity, we might get shitty about the small things, because there are a thousand small things that add up to a lot.
We still have to work, care for our families, do all the things.. I know. It helps if I say to myself, slow down, take a breath, you are spiralling in towards bleeding, let some things slide for now and rest when you can. I also let my partner know where I’m at. It helps.
This time, is an opportunity to see what isn’t working in our life. Take notice, whats annoying you? Write it down. If we don’t take note, make changes, and struggle through it, blaming it on PMS.. get to the more energetic part of our cycle and carry on and do it all again.. then it will be there to meet us again at day 21. Every time.
How I experience my pre menstrual time and menstruation lets me know how I’ve been doing with my energy and looking after myself the rest of the cycle.
The term ‘self care’ is totally over used these days, but I get like that with almost every buzz, popular phrase.. I could list many that bug me, I’m annoying like that! So don’t take it personally if thats a phrase you use.. it’s a perfectly good phrase, and it does apply here. If my PMS is speaking very loudly to me with tiredness, irritability, sugar cravings.. I know it means I have not been looking after myself through the rest of my cycle, so there are no reserves for me to draw on if I have to get on with things at some level. If I’ve been drinking coffee, eating sugar, not drinking enough water, not sleeping enough during the energy peaks of my cycle, I definitely need the caffeine, the sugar, the wine in my pre menstrual time, and they all contribute to my irritability, pain and energy crashes.
My pre menstrual time and menstruation are the barometer for how I’m doing in my life and looking after myself in general.
So it is not my Pre Menstrual Syndrome.. but my Pre Menstrual Signs, Signals, Symbols- they let me know what’s not working, what to let go of, how to better support myself the next round of the wheel.
And all that no longer serves.. I let it go with my blood, my moon time. Pouring it into the Earth and releasing it, transforming it.
I know it is not this simple all the time, or for everyone. Or for me, I definitely have my difficult cycles.. and that indicates I’m having a difficult time in my life in general.
PMS and menstruation can be amplified, intensified and made unbearable by hormonal imbalances, endometriosis and illness… this simple idea won’t help every womans physical being, but it may help emotionally. I am really interested in hearing about your experiences with difficult PMS and menstruation and what has helped you, especially if you have found alternatives to hormonal birth control. Please share!
I am mainly angry that our pre menstrual time has been labelled a Syndrome, and that we have accepted that … So I rename it now, to Signs.
Maybe the whole world could listen to our Pre Menstrual Signs.. the truth sayer of the cycle, the alert to all that we are not in harmony, the Autumn of our cycle, letting go of all that no longer serves like leaves from the trees returning to the Earth. She is wise.
As always I honour and give great thanks to my teacher Jane Hardwicke Collings, who alerted me to the word syndrome in our pre menstrual phase many years ago.. it’s something that slid through my consciousness til then.
Leave a Comment
Here I share my offerings with you. All the forms that this work takes, and the many ways I express this in my life. The path of women’s mysteries teacher, mother, menstrual educator, doula, lover of birth, dance, music, the earth, magic and the gathering of Women. With this we bring beauty, we honour your journey, we make it sacred.
GET THE FREE GUIDE:
CONFUSED ABOUT CONTRACEPTION?
TO MAKING SACRED
And receive a free grounding meditation audio download.
Thanks Talulah, I loved reading this blog post. Something very close to my heart, as you know. Reclaiming my menstruation was the catalyst that healed my symptoms (signs) of endometriosis. Premenstrual ‘signs’ ‘symbols’ so important to shift our perspective & reclaim these words from ‘syndrome’. As you have said before ‘words are spells’
Our cyclical nature is not an illness. A question that arise in me often; “As a cyclical being, how do I best navigate through this current model of the patriarchy, that only values the ‘marching on the straight line’ ?”. I don’t have the answers, but I do feel there is wisdom in ‘the flow’ so to speak. I try to move like my blood, like water. And I’m hopeful when I hear about actions being taken, such as menstrual leave for working women.
It is a constant negotiation for me, every menstrual cycle with my boys, to let them know that I will not be ‘on’ & available. Sometimes, I feel it is more about getting out of my own way! & letting go of the guilt around not playing the role of the ‘all giving Mother’ & always serving others. Creating that ‘red tent’ sacred space, physically in my bedroom, is an outward reminder to my boys & also myself to respect & honour my time of bleeding. It is not big grand gestures, just simple things like lighting a red candle & wrapping myself up in my favourite red shawl. Enough of a signpost or compass point if you like, that keeps me oriented on this inward time for me. A time to close my door & also signs that let my family know it’s time for me to rest & vision. I always find this greatly diminishes any signs of PMS. Only if I allow myself to get ‘pulled’ out of this space, by outward demands do I find the signs of PMS return, my body always reminding me to return to the important yin space of creative visioning. I am always so much happier for it, when I allow myself to surrender to my blood wisdom. I find when I honour this space of rest, I come out of my bleeding renewed & find the following month moves with so much greater ease & direction. ♥️ Xo
Thank you Fern, such wise words and beautiful, simple practices.. thanks for sharing and posting! xxxx