We all know that once a girl reaches a certain age, her body changes slowly but surely into that of a woman. She grows and develops breasts and hips and she begins her period. That first period (menarche) starts a pattern that will continue for decades. The most notable indication of the pattern is she will get her period approximately once every month for a few days. But so much more happens every day between the symptoms of our periods and understanding the influence we as women are exposed to, thanks to our menstrual cycle, creates a heightened awareness, an invisible strength and empowerment.

This is the time of year for many new beginnings and I propose that if you aren’t already, you make it a time to chart your cycle and get to know yourself better and encourage your daughters, nieces, sisters and friends to do the same.

The menstrual cycle is intrinsic. It is faithful. We simply need to acknowledge and interpret it to the best of our ability to generate a source of great empowerment and peace.

The menstrual cycle is not just about the flow, although many assume it is. Sure, the days we have to care for our cycle are a bit of a nuisance and often come at an inconvenient time, but our periods are also a gift; a validation that our body is working reliably as it should.

Like my 14-year old daughter said “periods are gross and beautiful at the same time.”

Another integral element to our cycle is ovulation which is paramount to the entire process and has a profound effect on us.

When a woman ovulates it’s as though a light inside has been turned brighter and she glows, smiling and laughing, compelled by a wonderful energy that dances within her. It’s an elixir that can’t be bought (though many try). It’s Mother Nature in top form, astounding us in her beauty and purpose; life. We are a life force. Our hormones are surging and reaching a reproductive zenith which blazes across our body and spirit like a falling star. Recognizing that momentary burst of possibility is integral to managing one’s fertility wisely.

After the surge of hormones comes a drop off effect and some of us crash, physically or emotionally.. PMS is not a myth and affects approximately 85% of women over the course of their lives. Understanding your manifestations can be key to avoiding a crash through many means including yoga, herbal tea, solitude, sleep and of course, chocolate. We should permit ourselves small pleasures without guilt but rather with self-compassion and love, and oftentimes for the greater good. With this understanding also comes empathy by and for other women, who we can now recognize as experiencing their own incongruous symptoms and perhaps be kinder and gentler to them as well.

The menstrual cycle really is an amazing and somewhat mystical phenomenon, bound as it is with the moon and the oceans. Learning your own cycle will gift you with a genuine harmony that is invaluable.

Keeping track of your cycle is the first step in understanding it.

To do this you can utilize helpful websites, mobile applications, a cycle charting bracelet or simply track it on any diary, journal or calendar. If you want to start charting today, here is a My Monthly Menstrual Chart for you to download, print and use. There are also some great books for both girls and women!

Alison Sanchez, Founder & President, Femy Empowerment Inc.

Love Your Cycle, Love Yourself

Alison is a mompreneur who was born in Wales but grew up and still lives in Toronto, Canada. She has 3 teenage children whose constant questions surrounding puberty were the source of her inspiration for the Female Empowerment Bracelet. She enjoys gardening, reading, soccer, swimming and most especially; talking to young women about all things menstrual.