My blood came unexpectedly, and I was navigating life as a new mom.
I was feeling resentful and annoyed.
I felt shame for not welcoming my cycle.
I believed that I should be welcoming my cycle with open arms, surrendering to the wisdom and power of the menstrual cycle, as I had been doing prepregnancy and daughter.
Well, as I thought I had been doing.
When I had first started paying attention to my menstrual cycle (pre-baby days), I felt that if, and only if, you bled on the New Moon and ovulated on the Full Moon, then you were in tune with the feminine and with Mother Nature.
Online and across different platforms, many women seemed to be having the same thoughts and feelings as well, and as a result, there was a whole lot of shaming being projected within this conscious feminine conversation.
I was open to menstruation and my personal experience of my menstrual cycle, but just as long as it fit into a perfect little package of what I thought it should feel like. Now here, I was repeating the same cycle (pardon the pun) of thinking.
A few postpartum cycles in, and for no particular reason, I decided to get curious.
Instead of trying to “heal” myself to have the perfect 28/29-day cycle syncing with the New and Full Moon as I wanted it to, I opened my heart and mind to observe.
I considered the inner seasons (phases) of my cycle in relation to what was going on in my life, how I was feeling, and also factoring in the stages of the moon.
>> Winter: inner work, hibernation, moving slow, menstruation
>> Spring: emerging, socialising, new ideas, follicular phase
>> Summer: peak energy, being seen, active, high productivity, ovulation
>> Autumn: reviewing, releasing, preparation, winding down, luteal phase
Phases of the moon:
>> New Moon: sanctuary, grounding, intuition
>> Waxing Crescent: thinking, perspective, exploring
>> First Quarter: connections, creativity, negotiation
>> Waxing Gibbous: navigation, observation, discovery
>> Full Moon: big energy, being seen, revelations
>> Waning Gibbous: reflecting, consideration, clarification
>> Last Quarter: releasing, understanding, reviewing
>> Waning Crescent: resting, forgiving, nurturing
Previously, I had thought women were supposed to bleed during the most low energy season of the lunar cycle; upon consideration, that made no sense to me and my life now, being a mother in the 21st century. How would I ever make it through the day?
At that point, every cycle of mine was beginning on the Full Moon. Now that was making sense to me. I was a mother who was getting little to no sleep; I had no support network surrounding me; no parents or family (mine live abroad) or friends, as we had just moved interstate during COVID-19.
That revelation was major for me. Bleeding on the Full Moon meant that I could do a little extra during my inner winter season, since the luxury of resting just wasn’t (and still isn’t for the most part) available to me: mother of a toddler and keeper of the home.
That revelation was marvellous, but putting it into practice was a little harder. The timing was off.
My father-in-law, Jonny, passed away in January, and my husband was, naturally, fairly absent after Jonny’s death. There were boxes of personal things at his father’s house to sort through and for about two weeks my daughter and I hardly saw him.
In and around that, he was closing bank accounts, cancelling insurances, and organising funeral preparations. I was trying to wrangle all the day-to-day stuff, as usual, but without my one and only support person—him.
I did the most with that Full Moon energy in mind but knowingly pushed the limit far beyond what I should have.
Whilst navigating the grief that had touched our family, I was belting out my days at full steam, no matter the phase of the moon. So it goes without saying that I came crashing down hard during my inner summer. I felt so low and ended up falling quite ill.
Upon falling ill, I felt like my inner summer ended abruptly, and out of nowhere, I was in the inner autumn phase. Then came inner winter, and even though it was rough, I had pretty much recovered and was optimistic about my inner spring, which was due to arrive.
But it did not.
Even though I stopped bleeding and should have been transitioning to inner spring, I still felt heavily restricted, energetically speaking. I felt no inspiration to emerge into the social scene or blossom with ideas and creativity—as is the nature of the follicular stage of inner spring.
My cycle didn’t feel cyclical at all, more so just one long and drawn out inner winter. It wasn’t fun. I had things I wanted to do—needed to do. I was still responsible for a young child and a long list of household chores that I had no help with.
Then when my inner summer was due to come around, there I was, still in the cool darkness of the inner winter. I could not move. I was being held back from physically breaking, and I was done fighting, done resisting, and let myself fold in.
It was a beautiful feeling and a huge relief. Mother Nature, the heart of me and all things, had taken over when I was just too tired to take care of myself the way I should—the way I wanted to in moments of clarity.
I surrendered to it. I found ways to carry out my day-to-day living within my energetic limitations.
Unsurprisingly, the start of a new cycle began not on the Full Moon as usual, but on the Waxing Gibbous. Yes, Mother Nature was letting me know that I still needed to take it slow.
Yes, I surrendered. I surrendered over and over again. Every day, I had to make the choice to surrender. In every moment that I was challenged with my desire to do more, I had to consciously choose to surrender to doing less.
Just like overwhelm takes over a child, but then dissolves as they sink into their mothers arms, I felt the tension disappear when I fell into the arms of Mother Nature.
In a society where being busy and active and productive is valued and praised over taking time and simply being, it can be downright challenging to be a woman.
Men’s hormones fluctuate over a 24-hour period, and a woman’s fluctuates over the course of a month or longer. Despite this, society expects women to adhere to this 24-hour period of rise and fall.
This is a recipe for disaster for us women. Even for myself, who has known this information for some time, I’ve still fallen (and continue to fall) into this patriarchal mentality. Be like a man, work like a man, do your woman’s things, but do them like a man. Do it all. Seize the day.
On the flip side: when we surrender our motives to this cyclical way of living, we’re replenished and restored. This harmonious existence is actually designed to see us thrive.
So, I will move slow and walk with the Moon. I will sometimes go inward and other times outward. I will engage in a present and loving relationship with my femininity and my feminine cycle.
I will honour the connection that my menstrual cycle has with Mother Nature, knowing that my cycle is natural and therefore a part of Nature. The Moon is a part of me, and I, a part of her. And both a part of One.
The One that ebbs and flows and moves in imperfect perfection, thanks to all the little pieces that work in harmony when they surrender and bask in that beautiful feeling—like a drop of water being moved by the vastness of the ocean, while simultaneously being the ocean itself.
And so, as our cycles ebb and flow and move within the phases of the moon, we can find peace in knowing that we are right where we need to be. We can trust in that. We can say: I release any shame for not menstruating or ovulating on any particular phase of the moon.
Everything is right. You are exactly where you are meant to be, for your absolute highest good.
Surrender, and all will be revealed.