Our Culture and a Woman’s Cycle

I was going to just post this quickly on the NKU Facebook page, but my commentary was becoming rather lengthy.

A few days ago Todd found the book “The Power of a Praying Husband” on our bookshelf. I purchased it years ago after I had finished “The Power of a Praying Wife” as I figured since I loved it and it really helped me understand my new spouse, that this one may do the same for him. Except he wasn’t a reader and the book just sat on the shelf through multiple moves.

Since I’m a book hoarder, I never got rid of it. And when he was looking for a book to read, this one stood out.

He never once mentioned anything written in it until last night, chapter five. Her Moods.

In his normal comic self, he began “reading” the book to me, and I truly thought he was making it up! I actually took it from him to read it myself and was just flabbergasted.
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*Ahem*

“A woman can be emotionally sensitive in the days before, during, and after her monthly cycle.”

Uh yea. If this were true, then we’d be talking about a month-long period. And then *nothing* would happen for a while before another month-long period. The monthly cycle is a month long and a woman’s cycle is not based solely around her period.

“That leaves about three days in the middle when she is normal, and one of those days she’s ovulating, so it’s up for grabs how she’s going to be that day. So I figure a guy has two good days when it’s safe.”

Say WHAT?!

I’m seriously just speechless. And yet, this is very much the culture surrounding a woman, her cycle, and her mood. Why do “we” as a culture feel that women are constantly unstable and not in control of emotions?

Because the fact of the matter is that there are only a few days, maybe just before and as menstruating begins, that emotions run high. The rest of the entire cycle women should be on a rather even keel.

And during ovulation?! That’s usually when her mood is the best. Otherwise no couple would ever conceive.

My question to you is what has caused this thinking in men? (and some women who use their change in hormones to excuse bad behavior)

One of my thoughts goes back to how we as women view our cycle.

So often in our modern way of life, we fight against every aspect of our cycle. We push ourselves to be extroverts and “doers” when our hormones are pulling us in, to be quiet and more introverted. I also find that most women don’t truly understand their cycle or where they’re at hormonally.

I know there were many years when I didn’t.

The truth is, I was actually more like *that* woman in the first few years of my marriage. I had no idea what the effect of estrogen was on my moods, likewise for progesterone. I hated feeling all over the place and fought with my inner pull daily. I also suppressed my hormone production with birth control pills, which made matters worse by the month. I didn’t know why some days I felt like I could rule the world, and other days I wanted to just stay in bed.

I also went back and forth from eating horribly and following the USDA dietary guidelines. My hormones were a mess! I was all over the place some days, getting through them without punching a hole in the wall only by the grace of God. I am so glad I’m not her anymore!

As women, we need to learn how our bodies work, and for that you’ll have to do a bit more learning past 5th grade science when we first learn about the birds and the bees.

My hope is that as our generation ages, we can teach ourselves, as well as the young girls of tomorrow, how to pay attention to the signals that come from within as well as learn how to nourish our bodies for proper hormone balance. Because this cultural thought surrounding women and our natural cycle needs to change.

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About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.

Comments

  1. Amen!

  2. I completely agree. Thanks for posting this!

  3. What a horrible book :( Yes, we are emotional creatures. We were created to be man’s complement. Not exactly like him. My husband and I see this so often in our marriage. We are so thankful for the balance we strike. This exerpt makes women look erratic, out-of-control, and something to survive. How is that helpful in building up a marriage? Down right degrading if you ask me.

    Christina Reply:

    @MrsD, I think the point was precisely to tell men that their wives ARE different- especially in the emotional aspect. It Is not meant to be degrading.

    MrsD Reply:

    @Christina, Oh I DEFINITELY got the author’s point that we are different. That’s kinda hard to miss;) I just think it’s VERY poorly written if their point is to teach husbands and wives to appreciate each others wonderful differences–at least in my opinion.

    April Reply:

    Great post! Don’t think I’ll be getting that book for my hubby anytime soon – although we’ve been practicing FAM for a while now, so he knows more about female cycles than he ever cared to :)

  4. Perhaps it was good thing your husband didn’t read this as a newlywed. It may have sent him running for the hills!

  5. That excerpt is hilarious. I would love to see the context for it in the surrounding chapter – I can’t believe the author could be serious.

  6. Hi Donielle! I recently found your blog, and decided to post a comment instead of just lurking around. :) My husband and I also chose not to go the birth control pill route, and I’m sure you can imagine how many strange looks we’ve gotten. Now we live in Korea, and I just found out from talking with my Korean friends, that hardly anyone uses a birth control pill. You can get it over-the-counter at the pharmacy, but American friends who have gotten it told me that the pharmacist told them, “Well, only certain types of women take this pill, if you know what I mean.” I’m still trying to learn more about Korea’s view on fertility before I post my findings on my blog, but from just talking with a few Korean girls, off the top of their head they could tell me what a woman’s fertility cycle looked like—something I couldn’t do until I took a natural family planning course two years ago! From my quick online research, something like 80% of Korean women say that it is a man’s responsibility (and choice) to use contraception. Completely unlike Western thought, right? Anyway, just thought I’d share this little tidbit. Hopefully I can find out more soon!

    Kathryn Reply:

    @Vanessa, wow that is so, so interesting!!!

  7. Wow…I have to say I agree with MrsD in that this sounds degrading. i get that the author though maybe he was being funny or ironic and just trying to find a way to show men that we are emotionally different BUT the excerpt pictured and the highlighted posts make women sound like horrors. I read this to my husband and even he thought it sounded ridiculous. If women were the emotionally-controlled creatures depicted here that means that men wouldn’t want to be anywhere near us 28-29 days out of the month! How does that make sense?

    As for the social parriah that is the woman’s cycle, specifically her menstruation, I think that this necessary part of a woman’s ability to create life is indeed given a bad wrap. We call it “The Curse” and complain about it, bemoaning its coming and forgetting it the moment it is over with. I think we could take a page or two from our primal ancestors. Women in nomadic tribes had their periods around the same time (the reason women tend to sync up when living together) and would spend this time in inner contemplation of their own mysteries and relaxing as their bodies released the residual creative energy that would have been used to create a baby.
    Today, it is treated as a nuisance in out busy, fast-paced lives.

    -deep breath-
    that’s just my two cents anyways…

  8. Jacqueline says:

    Very interesting! I’d love to hear more!

  9. I had to take a nutrition course as part of my psych degree. One of the texts I had to read for that class cited a study/survey of women in various countries about pms. Turns out that women in cultures that celebrate maternity and fertility do not experience the symptoms we call pms. Women who live in low birth rate cultures tend to view their period (on some level at least) as an annoying part of their biology that they’d like to forget and as an aberration from the norm , rather than as part of a normal cycle. Not surprisingly, modern, post industrial women have a negative experience of that part of there cycle.

    The most interesting part was that the study talked to both older and younger Italian women. The older women had no clue what anyone was talking about when it came to pms, and the younger women complained bitterly of their experience of pms. This is not to say it’s all in our heads, but rather that cultural context can have a real impact on health.

    The other thing is that a truly monthly cycle has only become normal in the last 60 years. Normally women do not actually ovulate like clockwork. Even if they do, that is naturally interrupted by nutritional fluctuations, pregnancy, and lactation. Forcing a regular, long term cycle instead if allowing nature to take its course can only put stress on the body–as it does when we try to force our bodies into other behaviors. And all of that is not to mention the known and documented emotional side effects of hormonal contraception (which it is safe to assume the author of the book takes to be a given presence).

    Thanks for the post!

  10. That made me laugh. I read a book early in my marriage that said, basically, the same thing. I remember my husband reading that section and then whispering, “Were you supposed to be like this? Because I think you forgot.”

    But I do think it should be noted that *many* women in today’s society ARE that way. For the exact reasons that you mentioned. We suppress our hormones, eat terrible diets, and whalla! We’re depressed and angry and blame it on our cycles. No wonder it is pictured like that.

    The point, in my mind, is that– it doesn’t have to be this way! That’s not normal and many women are living like it is.

  11. Who writes that $#!+ ?? Just because our emotions are a wee more expressive than others, doesn’t mean they aren’t valid. We’re simply more willing to express them, which may not be entirely bad news.

    I completely agree with your assessment of our need to come to understand our bodies, to nourish them properly, and to pass that knowledge on to our daughters. I used to suffer a lot from PMS, but now that I eat gluten free and clean, my cycle is the most reliable non-issue in my life.

    Great post!