Updated: Sep 8, 2021
We've been fed this idea our entire lives that it is easier to not bleed. And I believed it, for all 24 years of my life, until two weeks ago. It also doesn't help that:
A stupendous amount of men are grossed out by the fact that you bleed every month.
It's embarrassing to get period stains on your trousers or skirt.
It's expensive to buy tampons and pads every month.
While I have experienced all of these fears throughout my life, I have come on here to say that this idea of skipping over periods entirely to live your absolute best life is all bullsh*t. I have been convinced through modern social norms that it is easier not to bleed, and that birth control is a fabulous option for everyone. While birth control has SO many benefits, and trust me, I have fully appreciated its ability to prevent pregnancies, it's also caused my body a lot of harm. Of course, I am not here to judge anyone that is currently on birth control, was on birth control, or is considering to do so. What my intention is, is to inform you of what we're doing wrong when we approach our menstruation, and how to fix that in order to live a more holistic and happy life.
A year ago I got the Skyla IUD (intra-uterine device), and it was an incredibly painful experience and quite traumatic for my body. I had severe cramps during insertion, and afterwards, I had even more intense cramps, bloating, and spotting for several days after. I noticed that a few months after the IUD was inserted I had cystic acne which was a first for me, and it was pretty hard to deal with, as this was a reaction to the progestin hormone levonorgestrel. Anyhow, it didn't effect my PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), and that was awesome. Plus I didn't have to worry about constantly buying period products because my periods stopped altogether!
Funny enough, it wasn't until two weeks ago that I realized I was being duped.
Upon taking a Menstrual Wisdom workshop by Rebecca May at the Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, I had a level of connection to my menstrual cycle like never before. I learned so much about the cycle and how we behave differently from day to day, as well as what foods are good to eat during these various cycles. Rebecca opened a portal in which I was able to connect not only with myself, but with the generations of menstruators in my Cuban family. It was a beautiful, powerful, experience.
Being the founder of a menstrual health organization means that, yes, I am all about supporting people in their menstrual journeys. However, it wasn't until I heard Rebecca speak about menstruation in a way that made me realize I never celebrated my periods. Maybe throughout the years I've tolerated my periods, but I never celebrated the bleed. I never thought about how our blood was not just ours, but part of our ancestral lineage. Bleeding is such a primal thing, yet today we are told to suck it up buttercup, and carry on with our day. Pop a Midol, get a heating pad or a hot water bottle out, eat chocolate ice cream, and quit moaning about it! Right?
Listen, we all understand by now that we live in a patriarchy, and that we aren't celebrated as women for our bodies, our rich intellect, and how receptive we can be within our own bodies and with others. In the workplace it's especially hard to get through grueling cramps when you have a big project due at end of day and all you want to do is curl up and forget about the world.
The reason why I started this blog, is because after I took the Menstrual Wisdom workshop, I decided to remove my IUD. While living in a foreign country.
For me, this is day one. Day one of not having an IUD or any form of birth control in my system. It's an invigorating time to say the least. I feel that I am being reborn in some ways, and the growth that I've experienced whilst living in Bali already has been truly outstanding.
For those of you that don't know, I moved to Bali right before the borders closed in July 2021. I am currently studying my MBA & MA online while also volunteering for a digital yoga magazine. Even though it's been nearly two months of living here, I can appreciate that there is an energy on this island unlike any other. I feel like I'm here to heal and grow, and as one would have it, I feel that I am going to further heal my PMDD in Bali.
So now that a bit of the introduction of this blog is out of the way, let's get on to how today went for me, which will be Day 1, post-removal of my IUD.
In accordance with the new moon, my follicular phase starts today (I'll get into the moon phase + menstrual cycle relation another day). So naturally, I was super excited to start to ~possibly~ bleed. But alas, no such luck. I did remember that before I stopped having periods, it did take a few days for the bleeding to kick in, so I'm going to be patient for now.
My body is also detoxing at the moment as I have been taking Himalayan Kriya yoga classes at Radiantly Alive in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia. I also recognize that this removal of my IUD will deepen my detox even more so, so I am trying to eat clean and also drink loads of water!
Although I came out all guns blazing on the day of my removal with reusable pads, and period underwear, I recognize now that this process will take time. That the little plastic T-shaped device that was in my uterus wouldn't be responsible for a dramatic downpour of blood just after being removed- as cool as that would have been...
So for now, I'm learning to appreciate my body the way it is, to celebrate this step I've made towards a more holistic life, and for the betterment of my overall health. Knowing what I know now about the menstrual cycle and lifestyle factors that impact it, I feel equipped and ready to handle this new path of my healing journey. And for good measure, it's nice to know that my dad (who is an M.D. and an OB/GYN) is just a phone call away.