Years ago, my menstrual cycle, which I now lovingly refer to as my moon time, was a huge inconvenience in my life. I started hating my period as teenager when it showed up the day of a neighbor’s much-anticipated pool party.
Up 'til then I’d only worn pads during my moon time, which would mean I could not enjoy the day of swimming and celebrating with my friends. When a younger girlfriend offered me one of her mother’s tampons so I could go swimming, I jumped at the chance. I was too afraid to ask an adult in my family how to use a tampon (no Internet then), and fearing I would be made to stay home and miss the party, I winged it.
It seemed simple enough, and for a while everything was going just fine. We were all having fun, and although I felt a little awkward with this thing in between my legs, I didn’t feel any moisture, so I took it as a good sign. All of that changed the moment I got into the water. Not knowing how to use it, I had only inserted a portion of the tampon — the moment the exposed part touched the water, it started to absorb and expand between my legs. I didn’t know what to do, so I excused myself from the party, and hustled home. I spent the remainder of the day in my room.
I’d been down on my period for a long time until I joined a group of women in a private Facebook group who took a different attitude toward their moon cycles. It was in this community that I learned the sacred power connected to menstruation and how to love and celebrate my cycle.
These women helped me understand the connection of my moon time to the cycle of life and how amazing it is that a woman’s body prepares each month to become pregnant. I also realized that the moon time is a way the woman’s body cleanses itself and that the vagina creates a perfect environment of healthy bacteria for the creation of life. This most inspiring thing I learned is the relationship between our bodies and the phases of the moon, with the 28-day cycle the moon travels each month beautifully similar to the monthly changes we undergo during ovulation and the start of our moon time.
There is nothing more distinctly feminine than the fact that we bleed each month for days at a time without dying.
On a practical note, I was thrilled to learn about the Diva cup/menstrual cup. My days of using tampons are forever gone. The Diva cup is a soft plastic cup that you place in the vagina at the time of your cycle. Like a tampon it catches the blood, but rather than throwing it out when you need to change, you empty the cup and reinsert it.
I hesitated initially because I wasn’t comfortable sticking my fingers into my vagina, but once I moved past that, I was free and clear of the financial expense associated with purchasing tampons (not to mention the unknown factor of what chemicals are within those products. Having witnessed my mother experience toxic shock, I was always a little leery.) The Diva cup eliminated all of that, plus it gives me the feeling of being “green” in that it doesn’t produce waste products the way most feminine products do. After each use I empty it, rinse it with water, dry it with tissue and reinsert it. If I’m out in a public place, I wipe it with tissue. And when my moon time is complete, I soak it in a jar with water and apple cider vinegar to clean any remaining residue.
I was 40 years old before I started loving what it means to be a woman. In my view there is nothing more distinctly feminine than the fact that we bleed each month for days at a time without dying. It really does astonish me every time it happens. As I’m approaching menopause, I’m grateful that I came to appreciate and celebrate just how powerful and sacred it is to be a woman in my childbearing years. Women are the center of human creation, and their moon times provide a clear and concrete reminder for them every month.