For Women Only
This month, I bled.
Last month, I bled.
Every 28-ish days since I was 12 years old, my fertility has made itself known with piercing abdominal pain and blinding red disturbances throughout my day.
I have never missed a month.
Whether I embraced my femininity then, or ran away to the woods to dirty myself in mud, letting the rain wash away the dirt in streaks down my cheeks, the way of Eve has always flowed through my body. From the first time to even now as an adult, my period dips into my days with an abrupt arrival.
While sometimes we focus on the physical aspects of getting our period: cramps, bloating, digestive changes, mood swings, and body tenderness; there are also many underlying feelings that accompany the monthly bleed.
Women experience any range of emotions during their monthly bleeding, ranging from ordinary to disorienting. No matter our relationship status, age, stage of life or career; one flash of color sometimes triggers sentiments we didn’t know we were hiding.
I often don’t know how I am going to feel during another month of menstruating and un-pregnancy until after I see and feel the subtle signs that my period is coming. I pay attention to how much I cry, how tender my body feels, what day it is in the month and when my period was the previous month.
It shocks me to realize how many times I have said to myself, I wonder if I’m pregnant?
Because of my history with infertility, it’s easy to beat myself up for even thinking I could be pregnant. The calendar may tell me I am right on time, but because a day passes and there is no blood, I can’t help but sense the teensiest jolt of electricity. The narrow possibility that something has clicked with my fertility and an embryo has nestled in my womb touches me with a sliver of hope.
I hate that.
Because of course, I always bleed. The hope of pregnancy swirls away from me with the blood.
Those who struggle with infertility should not believe their bodies are broken. We should be appreciative of our internal organs even if they don’t follow Eve’s lead. We should accept our lives the way they are.
I’ve given up on “shoulds.”
Because no matter how beautiful my little girl is, and how full my life is, and how content I strive to be, there is always that dumb, monthly reminder that pricks me and tricks me into believing my body is broken.
Do you understand what I mean?
What does your period tell you? How does it make you feel?
Angry? Hopeless? Thankful? Miserable? Depressed? Relieved? Guilty?
Whatever rises to the surface, it’s okay. However the blood speaks to you, it’s okay. We just have to do the work of separating the truth from the lies.
For me, I don’t have to believe the lie that says my body is broken, but I often grieve that it doesn’t produce life. Romans 12:1 encourages me to view my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God as my worship. In my pain of infertility, I can offer my body to God and let Him do what He deems best.
As women, we don’t have to push away the thoughts that come with each monthly period, but we can, with strength, confront the emotions it conjures up.
God didn’t create women to experience shame, and if that is a part of our mindset when our body bleeds; we can release that. We can find healing in His grace that whatever we are going through, He is with us and He can handle even our darkest thoughts.
And trust me, I give Him my darkest thoughts many a month.
Here is what I resolve:
Though I can’t birth children, I can raise them.
Though my conflicting emotions are fierce, I can rest under the shelter of His wings and depend on His strength.
Though I can’t give life, I can nurture life.
Eden’s birthmother gave her life, just as my mother gave me life, and dozens of mothers before all of us. God created our bodies to birth, to nurse, to nurture and care for the vulnerable. So anytime we take care of others with even just a cup of water, we are Eve enough.
In the giving of life, we gain life. And God is before, behind, and strong among us, breathing as we give to others.