Catching the tiger by the tail…

Our last baby has just reached her first birthday. An enormous milestone for us parents as much as our baby. We know she is our last because we took definite, final steps to ensure this.

The day after her birthday my most recent Amazon order arrived. In it was a book I had discovered… Red Moon: Understanding and using the creative, sexual and spiritual gifts of the menstrual cycle. I won’t be needing this for a while, I thought, and put it to one side.

Two days later my period came back.

So now I am at the beginning of a new phase of my life. Free for the first time from the worry of getting pregnant. Free from the wondering if we want any more children. Knowing that each moon will bring the light and dark of my soul. My creative surges and moody exhaustion. That the only babies I will be able to make now are the children of my creativity rather than my body. My nurturing self is mine alone. That is a very empowering thought. To have that clarity. And yet I am only approaching 31. So I know that I face another 10, maybe 20 years of periods. Unending, ceaseless cycles. Cramps and crankiness. And inappropriate tears and tantrums.
After 6 1/2 years with less than a year’s cycles, it will take some getting used to for me… not to mention my husband and family. Mounting the rollercoaster of my hormones once more, I cannot say I am without trepidation.

This is a little discussed subject. I remember reading in The Wise Wound the fact that there was no research anywhere on the impact of women’s cycles and PMT on children… and yet an effect there must be! We joke about women on the rag. Those around us suffer too, but we do not discuss it, or re-think family life at these times. They also see and feel the effects of our enhanced creativity, libido and need to retreat within. The whole family sails the seas of a mother’s cycles.

Which is where the book comes in. I want to deepen my work with my own cycle. Work that I started before I got pregnant for the first time. So that I work with myself and not against my own rhythm. So that I can catch the tiger by the tail and ride her with grace, wisdom and abandon.

My closest friend and I exchanged moon letters for a year on to explore our feelings, our cycles and the journey we were on.
Others have a moon lodge, a space where menstruating women can go for sanctuary. There they have a moon book where women record their insights to share with others.
Others journal or chart their cycle privately.
Other cultures in other times had the Red Tent. There are many red tent celebrations around the world now, some annually, some monthly.
Others have women’s groups…
How do you ride the tiger? How do you nurture and care for yourself and balance your family responsibilities at this time?

Wonderful resources:
Red Moon: Understanding and using the creative, sexual and spiritual gifts of the menstrual cycle
The Wise Wound
Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom
The Red Tent
Thirteen Moons and now also on Facebook

And check out Facebook for a wealth of wonderful Red Tent groups including: