Hi everyone! I have butterflies in my stomach. We’re about to explore the intense and miraculous process that is the female hormone cycle, otherwise known as a woman’s “period”. We’re going to own it; it’s ours!
What a privilege we have to inspire women to love their bodies and nourish them and use them as sacred spaces to change the world. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a history of seeing my body as something that needed to be tamed and controlled in order to not be seen as crazy or anything less than perfect.
One of the areas that I have felt shamed, disgusting and crazy is in my female hormone cycles. Can I get an Amen and Hallelujah? I mean seriously. The last time I went to buy tampons, there was a male at the check out. I quickly jutted past him to the self-checkout because I was ashamed I was buying tampons. What. The. Actual. Heck.
On that very same day, I noticed a very subliminal slogan on my tampon box, “Power over your period.” As if my period is something that needs to be contained and controlled. The larger message being that one of the very things that makes me female needs to be subdued. Horsesh….crap.
I’ve been planning this blog series for a while, but after that particular day, I thought, “Enough. We’re tackling this subject first because we need freedom here. Full stop.”
So, we’re going to start off this four part series with the actual physiology of what’s happening monthly hormone cycle. By the time we’re done I am praying that you see your female hormone cycle as a masterfully crafted circle dance.
I just mentioned a circle dance. The concept of a circle dance, a cycle of movement that keeps going around and around fluidly expanding and contracting, is a powerfully universal theme that happens in all of creation. After this blog series, we’re going to explore this concept more, but we’re going to take a very small dive into it right now.
Let’s start with Day 1 of your cycle. This is the day when your period begins. Your body has just come through an intense hormonal chain of events that culminates with a drop in estrogen and progesterone triggering the beginning of your menstrual flow. This is the day, ladies, where typically we feel a great relief in the intensity of emotions that has been building for the past week.
As your cycle begins again, those low levels of progesterone and estrogen not only trigger the beginning of your period (which is the shedding of the lining of your uterus if you did not become pregnant) they also trigger the pituitary gland (that little guy is in your brain) to produce Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). FSH triggers the ovary to begin the process of maturing a follicle (the little sac that holds an egg awaiting fertilization) to come to maturity.
As the follicle matures, it produces estrogen which triggers your uterus to prepare for a potential pregnancy. Around the 12th to 14th day of your cycle, the increasing levels of estrogen cause a terrific spike in Luteinizing Hormone (produced by the pituitary gland) causing the follicle to drop the egg it has been maturing so it’s ready for fertilization. The remnants of the follicle, the corpus luteum, stimulate the production of more progesterone and estrogen to further prepare the uterus for pregnancy.
If the mature egg is not fertilized, your levels of estrogen and progesterone drop as they know they are not needed. About 28 days after your cycle first began, your hormones reach a point where they signal the uterus to shed its lining and your period (menses) begins.
Ok, let’s pause and breathe. I am in absolute awe and wonder at this process. Our bodies just do this on their own. And it happens month after month, year after year. The only time this process stops is when we get pregnant or we reach menopause.
But do you see what your body is doing? It’s going through a dance. It’s like a storm. Storms gather moisture out of the air and continuously cycle the moisture up into the upper layers of the atmosphere until it is so saturated that it rains or snows. In between those times, you have sunny days and cloudy days. It’s sunniest right before a storm because the moisture is at its most intense at the top of the atmosphere.
Those days with low levels of female hormones are the sunny days in which things are slowly building up. You have some gray days (ever have a day in the middle of your cycle when you feel gray and crummy??) where your body is in a ready state but nothing is actually happening. You’re neither up nor down, you just are. Your body continues to collect those hormones to prepare for pregnancy, just like the atmosphere holds moisture. When you don’t become pregnant, you unleash the storm. Your cycle starts and all the hormones, the moisture in the atmosphere, comes crashing down. And we start all over again.
Does anyone have a new appreciation for why we feel such a swing of emotions during our monthly cycles? This stuff is intense!
Ladies, the first step in thriving during your menstrual cycle is taking pause to reflect on the amazing things happening in your body. We get so many messages that our cycles are negative and inconvenient and cause us to act like a bitch, when in reality this is the process by which human life continues. It is not negative; it is not inconvenient. This is a process to be revered and treasured.
Your job today is to either journal or talk to your body and thank it for all that it does. Thank God for creating you to be female. If you are in the midst of your monthly cycle, do something really nourishing for yourself like taking a hot bath, going to be early or doing some gentle yoga (no inverted poses, please!!).
Beautiful one, there is nothing wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with me. There’s everything right. And it’s time to celebrate it.
Affirmations to Support Your Female Hormone Cycle:
- My body is amazing.
- My hormones are miraculous substances.
- I am not crazy.
- I deserve to love what makes me female.
- I love what makes me female.
- God created me and I am loved.