How I learned to love my period

Thinking about my period brings me back to that fateful day when I first bled. I can still feel my anger and confusion.

CIt wasn't for me a long-awaited sign of adulthood but rather something dirty, shameful, and unwelcome. I deeply hated the bodily experience that I will share with women all over the world, which was going to punctuate my life so much, bringing with it the possibility of pregnancy. I'm sure it was covered in biology class, but ashamed and nervous I didn't remember anything.

Sociologist Lisa Graham McMinn wrote:

“The shame and collective hatred of rules that women share comes in part from a long history that sees femininity as inferior to masculinity. Many cultures view female sexuality not only as dangerous but also as causing women to be irrational and illogical. In the Victorian era women had long accepted that their femininity was a curse to bear and not something to be celebrated. "

I realized, however, that there was no biblical basis for such a “condemnation”. Looking closely at Genesis 3, it appears that God did not curse the man or the woman but the serpent and the ground. The pain of childbirth came as a consequence of the fall and not as a consequence of God's curse. Now more equipped than ever to learn about our bodies, hormones and cycles, it is time for this so-called “curse” to end. Wouldn't it be better to bless our bodies rather than curse them and finally celebrate the unique power of the female body?

God has equipped women with the ability to bear life and give birth, but the gift of menstruation extends years before and after childbirth and also applies to women who will never have children. This cycle of rules serves us well beyond reproduction. The rules give us our own schedule for our body. Rather than resigning ourselves to being cranky and reactive when our monthly period comes, we can adjust.

By knowing our bodies, we are able to anticipate when we need perspective and rest during our period. In the first few weeks of our cycles, when we have more energy and creativity we can be fully in our activities, our meetings and our projects. We can use our cycles to our advantage.

There is nothing that should prevent us from having a proud, strong and positive approach to our rules. In India, where women cannot enter temples when they are menstruating, students responded with the hashtag #HappyToBleed (#HeureuseDeSaigner) which has gone viral thanks to the millions of women who joined the movement around the world.

However, positive thinking about our cycles does not change the health difficulties of some women in relation to periods and reproductive organs. I have often been fascinated that the Gospels tell the story of a woman who suffered from bleeding for 12 years (Mat 9: 18-26, Mk 5: 21-40, Lk 8: 40-56). Although her pathology is not mentioned, and certainly not known, the symptoms of this woman are akin to polycystic ovary syndrome. This relatively common hormonal problem affects about 1 in 20 young women of childbearing age.

In the Bible we read that Jesus, on his way to heal a dying little girl, stopped to heal this woman with blood loss. She had been socially, physically and spiritually isolated for years because of her bleeding. Jesus declared her clean and took care of her bleeding.

Because of the fall, our bodies are broken. For some, our uteruses are not functioning as they should, women are suffering from infertility, endometriosis, hormonal imbalance. Unfortunately we often respond to these painful realities with silence and shame. Perhaps, given the greater freedom we have in our societies to talk about our cycles, we can be more open to each other to seek together to let go of shame. Through this communication, we can help each other.

The first time I had my period as a young girl it was a source of anxiety and anguish. When my period returned, more than a year after the birth of my first child, I was able to welcome it with joy. After my second period I was festive during my period, as if I was welcoming an old friend who gave rhythm to my life.


source: Christianity Today

Adapted from "Book of Femininity" by Amy F. Davis Abdallah, lecturer and professor of theology at Nyack Bible College.

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