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This guest post was written by Kelli Delgado and originally posted on The Guiding Star Project blog.

They call it, “The Curse.” It’s a subject that makes us squirm in our seats or feel embarrassed in the grocery check-out line. Most of us are not comfortable with the subject of menstruation. We certainly don’t have positive associations with the event. It’s gross. Embarrassing. Something we don’t want anyone to know about. Uncomfortable and even painful for some. Inconvenient. Unclean. Scary. We get PMS (which I’ve heard some men refer to as “Shark Week!”). With all the negatives, how else could women possibly feel about their menstruation?

But is it possible we’re thinking about this all wrong? Is there another way to think about menstruation? Could it be . . . empowering? Fascinating? Sacred? Special? Miraculous? Something to be proud of?

After all, we cannot separate our life-giving, co-creative abilities from our periods. During our cycles, our bodies carefully build up a rich, nourishing cushion to cradle any new life that happens along. This is a very special and unique substance. Without it, life would be lost. If we do not conceive, the nurturing lining that waits to embrace the potential new life is shed: behold, a period!

For pubescent girls, how their culture represents menstruation is especially important. How a girl feels about getting her period can set up how she feels about fertility, her body, and her self-worth for the rest of her life. A young woman raised in a culture that embraces the negative view of menstruation is at risk of feeling traumatized, frightened, and ashamed when she arrives at menarche (her first period), and discomfort and embarrassment for every one thereafter. But what about a culture that treats this time with honor and respect? Traditionally, among the Lakota Indians a woman’s first period was a time of great public celebration. Depending on her family’s financial circumstances, she might be paraded around the whole camp in a place of honor, with songs being sung about her. She would have worn beautiful new clothes, and the part between her braids painted bright red. A banquet would be held in her honor, and her family would give away expensive gifts. She might be inducted into the Buffalo Woman Society, a prestigious women’s group. All of this because of her first period!

During this time she would move into a special secluded hut. They knew menstruation was instrumental in the creation of life, so the flow was treated as being too powerful and sacred to be in common contact with the rest of the camp. It was something that needed to be disposed of in a special manner, directly back into the earth. Their bodies had worked hard to prepare to grow a new life. They were not expected to pretend that nothing special was happening, and simply go about their lives as usual.

Contrast this with the messages we are bombarded with in modern American culture. We have commercials for “cleaning” and “odor protecting” products that suggest we are dirty and smelly during this time. We have pills that promise to make menstruation go away entirely, right along with the rest of our ability to give life. We are told it is a time of suffering and pain, and for some, it is. So we throw more pills (including contraceptives) at the problem, treating the symptoms and never going further to figure out and correct the real underlying health issues.

Ask many women today in the U.S. what happened when they got their first period and, depending on a girl’s family, she might not have even known what was happening to her. She might have thought something was wrong. She might have been embarrassed or ashamed, and not have wanted to tell anybody. Her mother might have quietly slipped her something to take care of it. For many young women in our culture menarche is far from being a proud and joyous event.

The truth is, we cannot simultaneously form a Culture of Life AND reject our periods. I’m not saying we need to parade in the streets! (Though wouldn’t that shake things up a bit!!) But we also shouldn’t resent it, or treat it with disgust, or contribute to the popular perception that it is something we would be better off without. Fertility is an intimate part of our feminine design and our period is simply another piece of this honorable process. So the next time “Aunt Flo” visits you, remember that this is nothing less than the material that exists precisely to nurture new life, and proof of the great power you have as a woman.

This guest post was written by Kelli Delgado and originally posted on The Guiding Star Project blog.

Author Bio: Kelli is kept busy by a husband, two toddlers, and a rag-tag farm in Montana. When she isn’t busy at home, she works as a substitute teacher for nearby middle and high schools. Her hobbies, if she had time, would be too numerable to list, but might include reading, making pretty things, learning new things and exploring new places.

They call it, “The Curse.” It’s a subject that makes us squirm in our seats or feel embarrassed in the grocery check-out line. Most of us are not comfortable with the subject of menstruation. We certainly don’t have positive associations with the event. It’s gross. Embarrassing. Something we don’t want anyone to know about. Uncomfortable and even painful for some. Inconvenient. Unclean. Scary. We get PMS (which I’ve heard some men refer to as “Shark Week!”). With all the negatives, how else could people women possibly feel about their menstruation?

But is it possible we’re thinking about this all wrong? Is there another way to think about menstruation? Could it be . . . empowering? Fascinating? Sacred? Special? Miraculous? Something to be proud of? After all, we cannot separate our life-giving, co-creative abilities from our periods. During our cycles, our bodies carefully build up a rich, nourishing cushion to cradle any new life that happens along. This is a very special and unique substance., Wwithout it, life would be lost. If we do not conceive, the nurturing lining that waits to embrace the potential new life is shed: behold, a period! For pubescent girls, how their culture represents menstruation is especially important. How a girl feels about getting her period can set up how she feels about fertility, her body, and her self-worth for the rest of her life. A young woman raised in a culture that embraces thea negative view of menstruation is at risk of feeling traumatized, frightened, and ashamed when she arrives at menarche (her first period), and discomfort and embarrassment for every one thereafter. But what about a culture that treats this time with honor and respect? Traditionally, among the Lakota Indians, a woman’s first period was a time of great public celebration. Depending on her family’s financial circumstances, she might be paraded around the whole camp in a place of honor, with songs being sung about her. She would have worn beautiful new clothes, and the part between her braids painted bright red. A banquet would be held in her honor, and her family would give away expensive gifts. She might be inducted into the Buffalo Woman Society, a prestigious women’s group. All of this because of her first period!

During this time she would move into a special secluded hut. They knew menstruation was instrumental in the creation of life, so the flow was treated as being too powerful and sacred to be in common contact with the rest of the camp. It was something that needed to be disposed of in a special manner, directly back into the earth. Their bodies had worked hard to prepare to grow a new life. They were not expected to pretend that nothing special was happening, and simply go about their lives as usual.

Contrast this with the messages we are bombarded with in our contemporary modern American culture. We have commercials for “cleaning” and “odor protectingproducts that suggest we are dirty and smelly during this time. We have pills that promise to make menstruation go away entirely, right along with the rest of your ability to give life. We are told it is a time of suffering and pain, and for some, it is. So we throw more pills (including contraceptives) at the problem, treating the symptoms and never going further to figure out and correct the real underlying health issues. that may be lying underneith.

Ask many women today in the U.S. what happened when they got their first period and, depending on a girl’s family, she might not have even known what was happening to her. She might have thought something was wrong. She might have been embarrassed or ashamed, and not have wanted to tell anybody. Her mother might have quietly slipped her something to take care of it. For many young women in our culture menarche is far from being a proud and joyous event.

For our sisters suffering from the emotional distress that accompanies trouble conceiving, their period could be a painful reminder of that which hadn’t happened yet.They too should feel supported in their body’s beautiful cycles and movements, even when it’s not a cause for rejoicing.

The truth is, we cannot simultaneously form a Culture of Life AND reject our periods. I’m not saying we need to parade in the streets! (Though wouldn’t that shake things up a bit!! Lol)But we also shouldn’t resent it, or treat it with disgust, or contribute to the popular perception that it is something we would be better off without. Fertility is an intimate part of our feminine design and our period is simply another piece of this honorable process. So the next time “Aunt Flo” visits you, remember that this is nothing less than the material that would have nurtured your baby, and proof of the great power you have as a woman.

hey call it, “The Curse.” It’s a subject that makes us squirm in our seats or feel embarrassed in the grocery check-out line. Most of us are not comfortable with the subject of menstruation. We certainly don’t have positive associations with the event. It’s gross. Embarrassing. Something we don’t want anyone to know about. Uncomfortable and even painful for some. Inconvenient. Unclean. Scary. We get PMS (which I’ve heard some men refer to as “Shark Week!”). With all the negatives, how else could women possibly feel about their menstruation?

But is it possible we’re thinking about this all wrong? Is there another way to think about menstruation? Could it be . . . empowering? Fascinating? Sacred? Special? Miraculous? Something to be proud of? After all, we cannot separate our life-giving, co-creative abilities from our periods. During our cycles, our bodies carefully build up a rich, nourishing cushion to cradle any new life that happens along. This is a very special and unique substance. Without it, life would be lost. If we do not conceive, the nurturing lining that waits to embrace the potential new life is shed: behold, a period! For pubescent girls, how their culture represents menstruation is especially important. How a girl feels about getting her period can set up how she feels about fertility, her body, and her self-worth for the rest of her life. A young woman raised in a culture that embraces the negative view of menstruation is at risk of feeling traumatized, frightened, and ashamed when she arrives at menarche (her first period), and discomfort and embarrassment for every one thereafter. But what about a culture that treats this time with honor and respect? Traditionally, among the Lakota Indians a woman’s first period was a time of great public celebration. Depending on her family’s financial circumstances, she might be paraded around the whole camp in a place of honor, with songs being sung about her. She would have worn beautiful new clothes, and the part between her braids painted bright red. A banquet would be held in her honor, and her family would give away expensive gifts. She might be inducted into the Buffalo Woman Society, a prestigious women’s group. All of this because of her first period!

During this time she would move into a special secluded hut. They knew menstruation was instrumental in the creation of life, so the flow was treated as being too powerful and sacred to be in common contact with the rest of the camp. It was something that needed to be disposed of in a special manner, directly back into the earth. Their bodies had worked hard to prepare to grow a new life. They were not expected to pretend that nothing special was happening, and simply go about their lives as usual.

Contrast this with the messages we are bombarded with in modern American culture. We have commercials for “cleaning” and “odor protecting” products that suggest we are dirty and smelly during this time. We have pills that promise to make menstruation go away entirely, right along with the rest of your ability to give life. We are told it is a time of suffering and pain, and for some, it is. So we throw more pills (including contraceptives) at the problem, treating the symptoms and never going further to figure out and correct the real underlying health issues.

Ask many women today in the U.S. what happened when they got their first period and, depending on a girl’s family, she might not have even known what was happening to her. She might have thought something was wrong. She might have been embarrassed or ashamed, and not have wanted to tell anybody. Her mother might have quietly slipped her something to take care of it. For many young women in our culture menarche is far from being a proud and joyous event.

For our sisters suffering from the emotional distress that accompanies trouble conceiving, their period could be a painful reminder of that which hadn’t happened yet.They too should feel supported in their body’s beautiful cycles and movements, even when it’s not a cause for rejoicing.

The truth is, we cannot simultaneously form a Culture of Life AND reject our periods. I’m not saying we need to parade in the streets! (Though wouldn’t that shake things up a bit!!)But we also shouldn’t resent it, or treat it with disgust, or contribute to the popular perception that it is something we would be better off without. Fertility is an intimate part of our feminine design and our period is simply another piece of this honorable process. So the next time “Aunt Flo” visits you, remember that this is nothing less than the material that would have nurtured your baby, and proof of the great power you have as a woman.

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