For the last few days, my low back and belly have ached with more intensity than I can remember feeling since my last labor. In a way, the pain harkens back to the raging period lead-ups of my teens and early twenties. That overwhelming, all-consuming, cloud of discomfort that I would only stand a chance of getting out in front of with 800mg ibuprofen and a flesh-melting bath.
However, unlike both those tsunamis of sensation, where there was the imminent breaking of the tidal wave of discomfort and release into the next thing- be it a born baby or the start of a new cycle- this time there is just a vague uncertainty of cramps followed by… nothing. I mean, maybe I’m going to get my period?
I’d really love to get my period. I'd love to start calling back blood. It’s been 20 months since my last one, since getting pregnant with the surprise little thistle. And even though these cramps seem promising, (I want them to be promising), it wasn’t until the big kids were 2 years old that my period came back again. So, I’m not getting my hopes up, and yet, I’d really love that beautiful red release to land for me again sooner than later.
When I was younger, I liked the big ol’ break from all of the blood. I don’t think I really missed it. But in the decade since my last postpartum season, my cycle has shifted significantly. My late 30s and start of my 40s saw my flow dwindle- along with the cramps might I add- and I had to work at maintaining a rhythm to my cycle. This chapter of my reproductive life is a bit of a paradox. I spent the better part of a half-decade working to conceive, (and have it stick), and as much as I had to really coax my period into being complete and cleansing every 28 days, I also really didn’t want to get it either. I wanted another baby. I wanted to grow our family. Despite hating pregnancy the previous 2 times, I wanted to suck it up and not move on but rather do everything in my power to invite and host our little one into being.
I also didn’t want my period to simply stop. I really did not want, and still don’t want, an early entry to menopause. So, I became a disciple of my cycle. I keep her in consideration with every choice, be it sleep, or food, or movement, or herbs. I make offerings to her longevity.
And I guess it worked. Cuz here I am, almost 11 months post-delivery at 42 years young, with a whole rack of cramps that please lord let mean I get to spend at least another decade with the grace of my menstrual cycle. As much as it is nice to have a break from the messy and often unpredictable inconvenience of bleeding, I’d take that any day to the hormonal flatline of an absent period. I want the ebb and flow, the rise and dip, the charge of energy that makes me want to try new things or tear my clothes off and howl from a mountain top.
I guess all this to say, I’m cool if you come back now, please. We don’t need to wait so long this time. Now is good. Please, and thank you.