At menstruation, during, pregnancy, through womb loss, in the birth space and during postpartum, I have found ways to honour and tend to my body and self. I do it because I have to ~ because having a female reproductive system in a patriarchal culture means I will not automatically be seen, respected and honoured in my wholeness.
As women, our journey and fertility experiences could so easily go unseen, uncelebrated or even unexperienced our own psyches if we ourselves are not tending to our real experience.
Since the birth of my daughter, I’ve realised that my relationship to menstruation pre-pregnancy influenced my birth experience. Welcoming the realities of my menstrual cycle (particularly the physical and emotional discomfort of menstruation but also in the honouring of my bleed) prepared me well to be with the physical, emotional and spiritual intensity of birth.
In motherhood, my awareness turns to the gifts of post-birth menstruation. Now my fertility cycle feels like a a guide preparing me to occupy a virgin* space from which I will initiate into peri-menopause into menopause ~ moving from archetypal mother, through virgin and into crone. Each bleed takes me one step closer to my cronehood.
*Virgin as defined by Marion Woodman ~ she said that the conscious mother gives birth to the Virgin. The Virgin “is one-in-herself, does what she does not for power or out of the desire to please, but because what she does is true.” The archetypal Virgin is a Woman unto herself ~ she impregnates herself with her wholeness. Crone then grows out of both conscious Mother and Virgin.*
The photo above is me with my Mother-Virgin-Crone cloth (it needs a catchier name!) during my last bleed. Its blurry but I love it. It speaks to the in-between of the bleed space and of the tiny death we undergo there as we grow into our next iteration of self.
At the start of a new cycle, during my bleed, I embroider the cloth to represent the completion of a cycle. I started this when my fertility returned post-birth so each fertility cycle from that point until reach menopause shall be marked and honoured in thread. Eventually it will be complete and I will bleed no more. The cloth will be a mapping of the inner journey I travelled from the maiden/mother gateway through Virgin into Cronehood.
In choosing to honour the my fertility journey on this cloth, I am choosing to write my own story about the value and power of my body and experience.
In the context of a culture that ‘skims over’ the cyclical wisdom available to women, one woman choosing to honour it in herself changes so much. These acts of honouring our fertility cycle send healing ripples out around us. Women, there is SO much power in honouring ourselves and our bodies.