From well before puberty until we’re out of menopause and beyond, most women are given mixed messages regarding our bodies and the vast and common changes we undergo. There is much to celebrate about a woman’s body — all the people who have ever lived got their start inside of one, for starters.
However, given the stresses and demands of daily 21st century life, it can be hard to appreciate the female body’s needs, pendulum swings, impressive versatility, and ever-changing state. There are five techniques every woman can actively practice that will assist all of us in loving our bodies’ astounding and magical cycles more and more.
1. Daily Mindful Attention
Paying attention to the present moment is one of the best practices anyone can engage in for better health and inner peace, but for the woman seeking to love her body’s cycles, it’s especially useful. An intimate knowledge of how your body feels will put you more in tune with the ways in which it’s communicating with you leading up to your monthly menstrual cycle and ovulation.
If you’re a woman entering, or in the midst of, menopause, be mindful of the ways in which that change manifests itself — from the ebbing and flowing feelings of heat to the moments of anger, sadness, and joy. If you have never practiced mindfulness or meditation, start slowly. Recharge with a cup of tea that aids in reproductive health, and as you drink it, center your thoughts on your body and the wonders it holds.
2. Track It
For women of childbearing age, few practices are as helpful as that of tracking your monthly menstrual cycle, and if you’ve never made it a habit to do so, now is a great time to start. Not only will such recordkeeping assist you in ob/gyn visits and pregnancy hopes and scares, but you will also be able to better understand your own physical and emotional state as each relates to your monthly cycle.
3. Make a List of Positives
Because the evidence of a woman’s reproductive system is so commonly associated with language and attitudes that are negative, it can be hard to forget that your body’s cycles are why human life is able to at all. When you’re feeling blue about your body’s needs, set aside some time to list all the positives associated with being a woman. Some suggestions include:
- Your monthly cycle is a good communicator of both health and illness.
- You are not alone — most women know what you are going through.
- Your body can grow another person.
- Your body’s changes help keep you present to the reality that life involves change.
- Life is dynamic — your body’s shifts are proof of that.
Women often try to ignore reproductive changes as though what is happening to their bodies is no big deal. Miscarriage, cramps, labor, hot flashes, endometriosis, cysts, pregnancy, morning sickness — the female reproductive system is its own universe, and at times, it can bring about significant bodily, psychological, emotional, and financial chaos.
When anything seismic happens to you, instead of pushing through and trying to act “normal,” pause and reflect on what it is your body is managing. The work of a woman’s reproductive system deserves attention and respect, but that can only be granted if there is space made for it. So take time out to pause the next time something related to your cycle causes you pain, fear, heartache, or joy. You deserve it.
5. Talk About It
One of the best ways women can learn to appreciate their bodies’ reproductive system and cycles is to talk about their experiences with other women. Call up your mother, and ask her to tell you her birthing stories. Ask your elderly neighbor what her experience of menopause was like. Find out where The Vagina Monologues are being performed near you and attend with your sisters and girlfriends.
In any way you can, break the strange code of silence that sometimes surrounds the female body. By doing so, you’ll find you can not only open up to the other women in your life more easily, but that you’re also able to open up to the wonder that is your own body as well.
Your body is an astounding place with cycles that are integral to all of human life, and by practicing these five techniques, you can learn to love it better.
About the Author: Cher Zavala contributes content on a variety of subjects to a number of high-quality websites.