Tag Archives: coming of age

My First Blood Story

by Karen Tinner
I wish that I could say my first blood was an encouraging departure from how menstruation is treated in Western cultures, but sadly, it wasn’t. Rather, it embodied every negative association. I had just turned 11 years old less than a week before, and had never been informed about menstruation. Although I was well-read for an adolescent, I was not yet interested in anything to do with maturation, reproduction or sexuality and no one, either at home or in school, had shared any information with me. Further, although I knew of one or two girls who had “gotten their period,” they were 2-3 years older than me. When I started bleeding, I remember running to my mother and telling her that something was terribly wrong, that I was afraid I was dying. She simply scoffed at me, took me to the bathroom and showed me the sanitary napkins. Still shaken, I remember telling her that I was “too young to go through this,” that I “wasn’t ready,” and that I was “afraid.” All of this fell on deaf ears. There was only the inference that menstruation was a dirty, distasteful fact of a woman’s life, an inconvenient reality to be endured as tidily as possible. The home I grew up in consisted of my mother (born in 1946) and her parents, and as an isolated only child, there were no other women in whom I could confide my feelings. This theme of isolation would be carried over into all of my journey to adult womanhood. Matters of romantic love and sexuality were never addressed, and my isolation was greatly compounded due to my mother and grandmother’s activities in the pseudo-Christian cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses. My grandfather was an emotionally cool, somewhat dictatorial man who demanded respect but never communicated with me with any degree of warmth or positivity. My mother and grandmother lived up to his expectation that women be uncomplaining and subservient. And my father was absent, divorced from my mother due to alcoholism when I was two years of age. Needless to say, I grew up feeling as if being female was an unfortunate accident. In the years since, I have been caregiver to all of my family of origin, saying goodbye to all of them within a five year span (my mother succumbed to terminal cancer in 1997, my grandfather to terminal cancer in 1998 and my grandmother to autoimmune disease in 2002); was married; birthed a son and a daughter; was widowed; remarried; birthed a second daughter; and have returned to school to complete my undergraduate education, switching from English (and Philosophy and Women’s Studies) to Psychology with an eye to obtaining a Master’s in Counseling. All of these experiences have helped me to replace the ambivalence, misogyny and emotional vacancies of my upbringing with healthy, positive and empowered images and narratives. My awareness of and appreciation for the unique emotional, intellectual and physical capacities of women grows with each day, and I am happy to say that I have embraced my good fortune to have been born female! My older daughter has just turned 7 and my younger daughter is 2 1/2. Even before I conceived my older daughter, I resolved to ensure any daughter I might birth would have a very different experience in growing into her womanhood. Both my daughers will be well-prepared to celebrate their first blood. Even now, they are aware that being female is a gift. Further, my son, who is 9, is being raised to appreciate the contributions of women, not least of which is the fact that all man- (and woman-) kind comes into this world by way of a woman’s love and physiology. In part through my children — and also through the career I am preparing for — I hope to make a meaningful contribution in effecting positive change in the way women experience their rites of passage, view themselves and their life experiences, and in the way women and men value one another.
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How to Discuss Menstruation With Your Child

by DeAnna L’am

“This is my Moon Flow,” I said to Ellah, who was about 4 at the time, when she saw me changing a pad. I never saw my Mom changing pads, and hence committed to not hiding my natural flow from my daughter. Without my flow, my girl would not have been born… How could this be anything but a source of joy in my ability to give birth? An ability she will one day share!

“All women flow with the moon,” I added, “and you, too, will flow when you become a woman.” Ellah smiled with the promise, and at four years of age this was enough. I didn’t refer to the flow as “blood” until much later, since I didn’t want Ellah to associate it with an “Ouwy.” The purpose with young children, both girls and boys, is to introduce, and talk about, this natural bodily function in the same neutral way as you do when talking about eating. Gradually, as the child matures, it is good to tie the flow to its purpose, which is a woman’s ability to give life.

If you find that you have some charge about your menstruation (such as physical or emotional pain) it is best not to introduce the subject to your child until you work through your difficulty and gain some balance for yourself.

Generally, it is best not to bombard children with information, but to wait for their questions. When Ellah was about seven, she asked me where does the Moon Flow come from? My answer was inspired by the Waldorf educational approach, and I explained that the Moon Flow is “Mom’s Nest.”

“Mommy’s Nest???” she asked in amazement.

“Yes,” I said. “When a Mama bird prepares for a baby bird to be born, she makes a nest. She flies in the forest and collects leaves, feathers, boughs, branches, and bits of fluff, and she weaves a nest for the baby bird to comfortably lie in.”

“Well…” I continued, “it’s the same with me. And with all women! Every month a woman’s body prepares a nest in her tummy, where a baby can grow. Her wise body gathers tissue and blood from inside her, and makes a warm and comfortable nest. Then, if no baby starts to grow, there is no need for the nest. So Mamma’s wise body sends the nest out in a big whoosh. That’s why the flow is red, because it’s made of all the good, nourishing blood that was ready to help the baby grow.”

“Every month,” I shared with my daughter, “I thank my body for being such a miracle, and for knowing how to make a baby grow inside… I also thank it for the wisdom of letting go of the nest, when I don’t need it…” Ellah was fully satisfied. She had a clear picture in her mind, and the Moon Flow made sense to her.

Telling your child a story of this nature doesn’t only encapsulate the physical facts associated with menstruation. It allows you to start instilling the awe, which our bodies deserve for their amazing abilities. Beyond that, you are actively bucking the cultural current of taboo and shame around menstruation. You are raising a girl or a boy who will have a different narrative with which to counter the cultural beliefs when they encounter them.

barAbout the Author:

DeAnna-Sacramento-WEBDeAnna L’am, speaker, coach, and trainer, is the author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’. She is the founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™ . She is the founder of Red Tents in Every Neighborhood.

A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming lives around the world for over 20 years, by helping women & girls love themselves unconditionally!  She teaches women how to dissolve PMS symptoms; draw strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); model self-acceptance, self-care, and self-esteem to their daughters; and hold Red Tents in their communities. Visit DeAnna at: www.deannalam.com

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DeAnna L’am is excited to announce…

2nd Annual Red Tents In Every Neighborhood ~ Global Summit:

OUR DAUGHTERS, OURSELVES

 “A Mother-Daughter Interview in the Red Tent”
a New Video by Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost  and Teresa Moorehouse will be featured during the Summit.

What messages did your mother give you about being a Woman?

What messages are you offering your daughter, or son, about being a Woman?

What legacy would you like to pass to Today’s Girls?

About the Red Tent World Summit:

Join me to listen to Womb Wisdom, to Honor Our Mothers, Ourselves, and Today’s Girls! Get Inspired by Leading Visionary Women from Around the World: U.S.A, Spain, Austria, Italy, France, Ireland, India, Mexico, Chile, and New Zealand, with Special Guest – MARIANNE WILLIAMSON!

Our FREE Global Summit will air February 1-28,

and you can watch it from the comfort of your home!

join-the-telesummit

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Filed under ageing, and Hormone Cycle, blood, coming of age, daughter, DeAnna L'am, growing up, menstruation, moon, mooncycle, moontime, mother, motherhood, parenting, red tent, Reproductive Health, womb

I have heard so many women say…

Women know instinctively that when we bleed, we enter a different kind of time and space. The Red Tent gives us the permission we don’t get from the larger culture to slow down, honor ourselves, and experience fully our physical and emotional processes.

Join us in the virtual “Red Tent” for today’s episode of Red Tent TV.

After you’ve watched the episode, I’d love to know…

When you give yourself permission to slow down what do you do (or not do)?

I look forward to reading your comments below.

If you liked this video, subscribe to our channel & sign up for our free weekly episodes of Red Tent TV at http://www.redtent.tv/

Missed my most recent episodes? Watch them here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmZGBmANkmSBD1337JiQWbw

Enjoy the video and have a fantastic day! Thanks for watching!

My YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmZGBmANkmSBD1337JiQWbw
Website: http://www.redtent.tv
Friendship on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/redtentfilm

Opening song “Red Tent Temple” by Mother Turtle. http://www.motherturtle.com/

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", DeAnna L'am, Red Tents in Every Neighborhood

HorMoon Awareness Guide

by Leslie Botha

Click here to download the HorMoon Awareness Guide

HorMoon Awareness Guide

 A new book!

Understanding Your Mind, Mood, and Hormone Cycle was written for women who want to understand the sometimes, confusing physical and psychological changes they experience each month. It is also suggested reading for men who deal with hormonal women daily; and for educators, healthcare and social welfare professionals who support women of all ages that are struggling with physical and behavioral issues caused by hormonal changes. It is the product of a nine-years of research, analysis, and writing.

Purchase the book for $24.93 on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Your-Mind-Hormone-Cycle/dp/0989010104/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374691726&sr=8-1&keywords=leslie+botha

Purchase the book on amazon

This richly illustrated, pioneering, book is co-authored by Leslie Carol Botha and H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik, with original graphics by Nicholas Batik. Medical researcher, H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik provides extensive clinical background to support the findings of this book. The conversational writing style makes it easy and compelling to read, while the richly footnoted text makes this a valuable resource for professional healthcare providers. The book explores on the very essence of a woman’s being — the fundamental nature of the female hormone cycle; and was written to fill the void of practical, menstrual health education that focuses on understanding the delicate mind/body connection — a connection that has the power to bring about health or disease in the body. Contrary to current medical thinking and pharmaceutical industry messaging that encourages women to deny, ignore, suppress and replace their natural hormone production with synthetic hormone birth control and hormone replacement therapy, Botha and Chevalier-Batik believe that the hormone cycle is the foundation of women’s health and well being. Modern medicine has promoted the concept of specialization, encouraging women to consult specialists to treat isolated aspects of our body and mind, rather than consider our body as an integrated system, and exploring the relationship of the hormone cycle with other cycling systems in our body. Creating health begins with a shift in this perspective to one that recognizes the whole body is greater than the sum of its parts; a shift that recognizes that health is our birthright and represents our natural state. Such a change in perception can change how we express vibrant health and inner peace. Using the tools and information provided in this book, women can learn to perceive symptoms as biometric feedback from our bodies about our diet, lifestyle and the state of our mental, emotional, and spiritual self. These symptoms are the “tell” for conditions such as: hormone imbalances, depression, mental confusion, exhaustion, autoimmune disorders, allergies, and reproductive disorders. The purpose of this book, is to help you tap into the magnificent intelligence of your body and interpret its profound language to finally understand your mind, mood, and hormone cycle. Using the tools and exercises provided you will learn to live with in your hormone cycle to prevent re-occurring gynecological problems and mental/emotional imbalances; Perhaps for the first time in your life, you will feel like you can reach your full potential by acknowledging your strength and who you truly are. It is our goal to open your eyes to the real you — a woman who can trust herself, has confidence in her actions, understands her feelings and knows how to create a fulfilling life by living with her hormone cycle With brilliant simplicity, the authors tie the menstrual cycle into the other natural cycles of the universe and to the Paleolithic wise women who tracked their cycles on antler bones. These wise women understood that menstruation was vital natural cycle that held power. These foremothers became the first mathematicians, agriculturists, and healers by applying their menstrual wisdom to their culture’s survival. It is imperative that we understand all of the cycles in our lives. Women must be pro-active in all aspects of their wellness. Education and the willingness to ask questions and demand answers is a start.

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Filed under ageing, and Hormone Cycle, beauty, coming of age, growing up, Guest Blogger, healing, Leslie Botha, Menopause, menstruation, menstruation history, Mood, moon, mooncycle, moontime, PMS, Post Menopausal, Reproductive Health, Understanding Your Mind

Coming of Age

by Torey Donato
When a young girl menstruates for the first time, much fear and insecurity can go into this experience. Confused about the functions of her body, the first bloodstain can be frightening for the first time. Our culture has made us believe that we must “silence” our menstruation and be shameful. Through menstruation product advertisements, one can see the reoccurring theme that our menstruation cycle is unimportant and a hassle and Mother Nature has placed a “cursed” upon us. Our language changes when we speak about menstruation through words, for example, “my days” or “Aunt Rose.” In “Gender and the Problem of Prehistory,” Ruether suggests that “the only way we can, as human, integrate ourselves into a life-sustaining relationship to nature, is for both of us, males as much as females, to see ourselves as equally rooted in the cycles of life and death, and equally responsible for creating ways of living sustainable together in that relationship (Merchant 36).” While many believe in the significance of the cycle of life and death, many do not value the menstruation cycle. In order to connect with nature, one must not only be “equally rooted in the cycles of life and death,” but also the process of learning the importance of the “cycle of menstruation.” However, there are many groups and communities that celebrate a young girl menstruating for the first time. The Kinaalda celebration performed by the Apache Native American tribe, celebrates these “Coming of Age” ceremonies. The ceremony signifies her transformation from a child into a woman (Kinaalda: A Navajo Rite of Passage). “The ceremony is centered around the Navajo myth of Changing Woman, the first woman on Earth who was able to bear children. The legend of Changing Woman purports that the ceremony gave her the ability to have children. Because of this, all Navajo girls must undergo the ritual so that they will grow into strong women who can also bear children” (Kinaalda: Navajo Rite of Passage). The Kinaalda celebration believes that cycle of menstruation is equally important as the cycle of life and death, and therefore the entire community joins in celebration.
One particular woman, Hemitra Crecraft started “Coming of Age” ceremonies for women and girls in her own community in 1994 and created a website on “How to start your own Coming of Age ceremonies” in your own community  www.womanwisdom.com). She still continues to have these ceremonies today. The women in the community give words of wisdom, dance, enjoy food, and socialize with one another. Their belief is that beginning of one’s menstruating cycle is a time of celebration and importance, unlike societies perception.  These women have made an impact on many girls and mothers, believing “It takes a village to raise a child.”
Work Cited
“Kinaalda: A Navajo Rite of Passage”. Create Space. 7 Dec. 2010.<https://www.createspace.com/293447>.
Merchant, Carolyn. Reinventing Eden: The Fate of Nature in Western Culture. Taylor and Francis Books: New York, 2003. Print.
“Woman Wisdom”. Woman Wisdom. Web. 13 Dec. 2010. <http://www.womanwisdom.com/w_coa_forward.shtml>.

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