My Moon Time: Stories on Womanhood and Bleeding - Part I

 

I have some vague memory of my first bleed, also called menarche. I was 11 and it was summer break. I was hanging out at a friend of a friend’s home when I went to the bathroom and came face to face with red panties. I didn’t tell the girls I was with and quickly came home shortly after and told my mom. I don’t remember exactly how it made me feel at the time. I was pretty young but I don't recall any negative feelings about it. I had friends who were already on their period and I just felt part of a circle. The circle that opens the door to womanhood in some ways. But of course, it was also unexpected and like stepping into the unknown. Something new that my body was producing and with that comes awkwardness. Learning how to use tampons and then hiding them in my hand at school while heading to the bathroom. Often asking friends if there was any blood stain on my jeans. The change of hormones, the moodiness, all mixed up with teenage years, you have an intense combination. 

 

At 17, I started the pill. In a desperate desire to get rid of my acne. I was that kid in middle school with acne, braces and a scoliosis. Yeah. Big sigh of relief and compassion for my younger self on the side note. So I had pretty bad acne and nothing else had worked. I even took that nasty Roacutane that did nothing but dry my skin and mess up with my body and hormones. At the time my periods were regular and without much symptoms. During the years I was on the pill, I didn't pay much attention to my period (well it's not an actual period on the pill but an artificial bleeding withdrawal). It was short and painless. I would sometimes keep taking the pill between cycles to avoid bleeding while on vacation or travelling. I was disconnected from my womb.

 

The pill quickly cleared my skin (which was a relief) but brought other kinds of troubles. Weight gain, stretch marks and a bloated belly. It basically messed up my gut health. I remember the years spent sucking my belly in and trying the latest diets for just those few extra kilos. The time spent on wishing my body to be different. When I look back at photos, I feel sad to have lost time and energy on hating my body when I could have enjoyed every moment. I took the pill for a good 12 years, with some off moments. I tried to stop a couple of times hearing the negative effects of taking the birth control pill. But every time I’d stop, my acne would come back. My gynecologist at the time, like many other ones suggested to go back on it as it was the only way to keep my skin clear. I was well aware that the pill was just a bandaid for an underlying problem that I was just masking and ignoring instead of taking charge and looking for answers. I finally stopped the pill for good when how much nonsense all this was and changed gynecologist at the same time - wondering at the time why I’d stayed so long with a doctor who wasn’t remotely interested in my health and wellbeing.

 

At 29, I finally quit the pill and went to see a natural medicine therapist to detox my body from all the chemicals and artificial hormones my body had ingested for years. It tooks 6 months of taking all kinds of natural remedies, drops and sessions. He cleansed my body from the pill, roacutane, vaccines and heavy metals. I remember at the time my healer telling me that the pill was the hardest to get rid of in my body. This detox brought back acne - my body was getting rid of so much toxins that it was the only way to release them through the skin - which is normal as it is the biggest organ of the body and part of the elimination system as well.

 

But since then, my skin has been radiant. I still have the usual pimple around my period but nothing to freak me out.

 

When I stopped the pill, I regained control of my body. Something shifted. I reclaimed my natural power and connection to myself. I felt like myself again. My libido came back (the irony of being on the pill) and a deep sense of being me. I also discovered a creative side that I thought I'd lost or never had. Those contraceptive pills can create a whole lot of side effects like loss of libido, health complications, digestive issues, it affects the liver and you may find it surprising but it alters your attraction to finding a partner. Yes. Research and studies have shown that women on the pill are attracted to men with similar immunity genes (as the pill mimics pregnancy) as the women not on the pill are attracted to opposite genes which is apparently better for different reasons. So basically, while on the pill you could be attracted to men you wouldn't have otherwise chosen if you were not on the pill.

 

A part of me was angry - to have trusted the doctors who prescribed me those pills and drugs from a young age, angry at myself for not knowing better and staying on the pill for so long. It messed up my gut health and hormones and I wasn’t even aware of at the time. Thinking it was all isolated small symptoms and just not knowing better.

 

And then I woke up. When I stopped the pill, I started to take care of my health. I paid attention to my food and what I was eating. I was always eating quite healthy, but I became much more aware of how food, exercise and thoughts were affecting my body and life.