New Moon Guidance
YOUR PHYSICAL BODY
During this time, you may experience bloating, pelvic cramping, backaches, low energy, and cravings. Vaginal mucous is hard to monitor because of bleeding; the cervix is low and firm. During this time, our body is shedding the uterine lining and experiences a stop in progesterone production and an increase then a decrease in estrogen. These are our sex hormones that cause us to feel relaxation and emotions. A common side effect during menstruation is...poop. Like, diarrhea or constipation. This is because your body also produces a hormone called prostaglandin and this controls muscle contraction and relaxation causing not only cramps but also changes to your bowel movements ie. yes, they wreak havoc on your trips to the porcelain throne.
Even if you don’t experience bleeding, at this time in your cycle, your vital energy is at its lowest point. Imagine that your womb-space is a bowl. That bowl either gets filled or drained of energy. Some days we feel like we can do it all; other days we find ourselves not wanting to get off the couch. This is because of the ebb and flow of your vital energy. Because the New Moon causes a drop in energy, it’s important to conserve it as much as you can during this time. When you are on your New Moon/ Menstrual phase, decrease the amount of vigorous exercise and switch to more nourishing forms of movement like restorative yoga or walking.
Your Hormones: during the end of your pre-menstrual phase and the beginning of your menstrual phase, your levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are are pretty low- this causes you to feel foggy headed or off balance (both physically and emotionally!) After the first couple of days of bleeding, estrogen levels rise, flooding you with endorphins. This is often why it can feel like a relief once you begin your period! Despite perhaps being told that bleeding women are emotional, this is actually a very clear time, mentally, in the cycle since that fog has lifted. Estrogen is the hormone linked with emotions and this hormone also reduces the stress hormone, cortisol. So, once your hormones are balanced and you allow this estrogen to increase, your period can be a time of heightened creativity and even joy!
YOUR EMOTIONAL BODY
During bleeding, you may feel withdrawn, spiritual, still, sexual, low energy, not concerned with everyday details, emotional, creative, and clear-headed. Of course, every woman is different, so you may only feel some of these aspects or you may experience all, at full force. Even though four phases make up four weeks for the month, you may not experience each phase for exactly one week. This is a flowing cycle and changes for each woman from season to season and year to year. Typically, the Menstrual phase lasts anywhere from 3-7 days. It is the shortest phase of our cycle.
YOUR SOUL BODY
Historically, most women would begin their cycle on the same day and would retreat into moon lodges, where they would gather to rest, create and nurture themselves during this sacred time. The time of bleeding is the most spiritual phase of a woman’s cycle. Whether she bleeds on the actual new moon (outside) or whether her (inner) new moon comes at another time, she moves into an introspective, somber and clear energy space.
We embody a different archetype during each of the phases the Moon cycle. The Crone, Wise Woman, Baba Yaga; these are all archetypes for our new moon time. Embody your inner Wise Woman by not bothering yourself with social affairs, or new work projects. Use this time to be alone as your old cycle sheds and your new one begins. In folklore tales of the Crone, she is all knowing. There are no blinders of love or false notions; the Wise Woman sees clearly. Speaking the truth and seeing a deeper meaning can allow you to truly embody this goddess during your New Moon phase.
Now that you've begun to become more aware of the physical and emotional changes in your body during your New Moon, it's time to start to shift your daily habit patterns to focus around YOUR unique cycle. Your bleeding time can be one of great sensitivity, and also great pain. Be gentle on yourself, however you experience this time. If you have irregular cycles and are not bleeding regularly, begin to set an intention each month. This intention could be as simple as journaling why you would like to experience this phase of your cycle. You could even list the things that you don't mind about your period and the things that bother you. Start to tune into your deepest womb-space and know that all is coming and all is well. You are amazing and strong and are taking a beautiful step towards empowerment and reclaiming your cycles.
Remember, not every who bleeds is a woman, and not every woman bleeds!
If you have menstrual issues, no bleeding, excessive bleeding, menopause, or are without a uterus:
1. First, just know that you are still amazing and still cyclical and still as just of a woman as those who bleed regularly and with little pain.
2. If you WANT to bleed but don't, set an intention each morning when you wake-
"I am embracing my inner wise woman. I will welcome my blood when she is ready to come. I will respect and honor what my body needs."
3. If you are going through peri-menopause or are through menopause, allow yourself to begin to notice when you FEEL like you're on your period, emotionally. In a calendar, mark the days with a symbol, that you feel most creative, connected to spirit, or withdrawn. Over time, you just may notice that you do indeed experience your Moon-time!
4. If you experience excessive bleeding (menorrhagia) or irregular bleeding (amenorrhea) or painful bleeding (dysmenorrhea):
Know that your body DOES have the ability to heal itself. Sometimes we have to pinpoint not only physical actions that may be harming our bodies, but also emotional and spiritual ones.
Here are a couple of examples:
Hannah came to me because she had been bleeding pretty much constantly since the birth of her daughter; almost 2 years. Hannah was exhausted and tired and felt like she had run out of options. I met with her in a Skype session- she told me that she had been to countless gynecologists and doctors and all that they did was prescribe her birth control. Hannah couldn't take birth control because it causes severe depression for her. So, I began by asking Hannah about herself. I asked her what her typical meals looked like (very erratic eating schedule and food with little-to-no nutrition) and how she felt about that. She wanted to change; so we created a special meal-plan for her. Within one month, Hannah finally stopped bleeding. She lost 30 pounds in just a few months and has a regular cycle now and feels great on a daily basis.
Jessica came to my home office in Austin for a session. She was experiencing very irregular periods and had been diagnosed with PCOS. Jessica started the session by speaking entirely in words alluding to either the past or the future; she wasn't embracing the present moment. Because in the present moment, she was in pain. I invited Jessica to lie down with me and do a womb-meditation. I told her that whatever noises or sounds she needed to make, was fine. Immediately after we began, she started to sob. Big, alligator tears that needed to come out for a long time. After our meditation, she was glowing. She spoke about herself in the present moment and realized some big changes that needed to happen regarding how she spoke to herself each day. A couple of months later, Jessica began to notice a shift in her menstrual cycle; she started to bleed and ovulate regularly and over the course of half a year, her cysts were eliminated.
These real-life examples are to show you that not only can YOU heal yourself, but each woman's journey to healing is totally different. Some of us literally need a protocol of nutrition, life-style, other changes. Some of us need to heal old wounds that are deeply layered in our ancestry.
Whatever you feel the need to heal from, know that you are not alone, and the power is IN you.
"One of the central outmoded ideas governing our health care system is the notion that the processes of a woman's body are designed to cause suffering and pain, and that women require a great deal of medical care and testing to stay healthy. In fact, the female body was designed by our creator to be a source of pleasure, fertility, movement, strength, and well-being. Our bodies connect us with the moon, the tides, and the seasons. We are meant to flourish.
We, the human race, have come to a crossroads, a turning point when old, unsustainable ideas and behaviors are breaking down all over the planet... There is no need to fear the crumbling of the old, for it opens a space for new, more sustainable, healthier systems and ideas to be created in all aspects of the human experience on earth, including how we handle the experience of living in a female body."
-Dr. Christiane Northrup, M.D. (author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom)