Updated: Nov 6, 2021
My Womb Wellness Journey is an on-going act of possibility and healing. From the strength of women that came before me and the hope I have for women that will come after me.
I’ve had a lot of conversations with women who are in their 30s and 40s about the challenges of their menstrual cycle and what their on-going journey looks like to restore and amplify their connection to their womb. I am now having more honest conversations with myself and women in their 20s about this, too. I hope to see more talks with young girls about creating lifestyles that nourish and amplify their connection to their womb throughout their menstrual cycle, understanding and trusting their intuition, and being with their sexual energy rather than suppressing it. These conversations are vital because our womb wellness does not begin when we are sexually active or seeking ways to begin a family. We should be encouraged to be curious about our womb when we first have our period or even before that through age appropriate discussions.
I personally wanted to go to the gynecologist when I was a teenager to understand more about how I can take care of myself during my cycle but this desire to visit an OB/GYN office was meant with fear. Let me name this fear, it was fear that my parents might think I was sexually active and gaslighting myself for not having a “real” issue to go to the OB/GYN office in the first place. So what happened was I continued to experience insurmountable pain during my cycle and slipped into a resilience trope where I suppressed and gaslighted my feelings and needs. One of the many moments I chose to hustle through my pain was in high school. I was experiencing throbbing cramps that had me sweating, feeling light headed, and straight bothered during class. It got to the point where I ended up in the nurse’s office and waited to be picked up. Prior to being picked up I chose to go back to my English class to take a quiz and I remember literally pushing down my pain so I would be able to concentrate on the quiz for 10-15 minutes.
At my grown age, that quiz could have waited for another day. Honestly, I wish I was able to demand time for myself to not take that quiz. I told myself staying to take this quiz while I am on the verge of tears was worth it and was a reflection of me as a hardworking student. When really it was one of many moments where I chose to disregard dis-ease within my body to produce work. Ask yourself this when you are experiencing dis-ease within yourself and you are still pushing yourself to work, how are you able to sustain the longevity of what you produce in this world with lack of care and respect for your mind, body, soul? Is your work more worthy of care than you are worthy of care? Not a read, just an urgent call for you to choose and to be kind to yourself when you fail to choose yourself.
My introduction to my cycle was met with uncomfortableness where I felt out of my body, fear of pregnancy, uncertainty of womanhood at the age of eleven, and lack of emotional support. An advice that had me in shambles then and made me more reflective now was “don’t act on what you are feeling” which was told to me by an elder of mine. This advice is complex because as an eleven year old hearing this, I immediately began policing myself over my feelings and what I was daydreaming about. On the other hand, this advice teaches me now to be grounded and sift through all my feelings in a way I am able to respond and act on clear level-headed feelings. Back then I internalized this advice and fostered shame and guilt within myself when I experienced feelings of desire, longing, and even lust to keep it real.
In the beginning of 2020 I would randomly feel nauseous which came right before I would go to sleep. Then I experienced sharp pains on my right side which happened about three times before diagnosing myself. Through my research which extended beyond WebMD, I thought I was experiencing appendicitis at first, then I figured maybe a symptom of endometriosis was at play here, and finally my intuition led me to believe I had an ovarian cyst. Of course I hoped that was not the case but the more I practiced listening to my body and writing down what I was experiencing, it sadly made sense. I brought this up to my OB/GYN twice before sis believed me and at first I told her I thought I had endometriosis which she dismissed with a study. The study was informative but the study was not going to dismiss the symptoms I had felt. I followed up the next month demanding to check for a cyst and she ordered an ultrasound. Guess what was on the ultrasound, a cyst. I wanted to tell her “I told you so” so bad but what was that going to really do for me. Now, that I had my answer it was time to further my questions. How can I help decrease the size of the cyst? She told me it will go away on its own within a few cycles. The following month in August on the first day of my cycle, I experienced the most excruciating pain I have ever felt. It was pain that even breathwork or 500 mg Naproxen could not fix. I thought my cyst ruptured. So, I went to the ER. As I share my experience I am mindful that I am in charge of what I do and do not want to share, so I’ll spare you some details moving forward. Before I got checked at the hospital I was gaslighted by a male EMT worker and older black women. All I have to say is we have to do better. We need to end the cycle of expecting those who come after us need to experience the same level of pain and suffering as those who came before us. That's a convo for another day. Enduring and normalizing pain will be the death of us on a collective and individual level.
I followed up with my OB/GYN after the ER visit and I was met with the same advice. I had enough. I was the only one who saw this dis-ease as an urgent manner. So, I did my research on the interwebs and scheduled a womb wellness consultation with Honeydewholistics via Heal Haus. I had money on the side and told myself that I need to invest in my health guilt-free. She suggested her “Wise Womb Tea”, and “Herbal Detox'' in addition to dietary recommendations, information on herbal remedies and supplements, and a detox guide/plant-based recipes. I felt skeptical because I was used to managing my cycle and never had a routine that addressed the root cause of my period pain. We are so used to pain that we don’t question it. Dis-ease and pain grabs our attention and asks us to seek the answers that are stored in the cells and tissues of our body.
Shifting My Mindset from Management to Elimination of My Period Pain
I have come to learn and believe that period pain is not normal and I have told myself I am not deserving of suffering like this each month. So I began to really reflect on my diet and understand what was the root of how pain manifested itself during my period. The pain was stemming from inflammatory foods I was consuming throughout the month outside of the week I menstruate. Between March and August I was eating more meals that either contain dairy and/or was fried. I have decreased my dairy intake ever since transitioning to plant based milk since 2019 but when a mac & cheese dish came my way, I wouldn’t turn it down. You see my dilemma? Anyways since August I have been intentional about asking myself this question, is this meal nourishing or detrimental to my body? From there I was able to increase my intake of dark leafy greens, decrease the amount of meat I ate and cut out pork and beef for good, being consistent with the vitamin supplements I was taking on a daily basis and herbal supplements I was adding to my green smoothies. I view the week of my period as a check-in/report card of the past month. I added a spiritual perspective to how I view my cycle which is bringing awareness to how that time of the month is a time for my body to release emotional heaviness and baggage.
August into September, I was all about investing into my health, especially my womb wellness. That meant investing in vitamin and herbal supplements, teas, and a heating pad to support me on this journey. I was determined to alleviate and hopefully eliminate my period pain on top of decreasing my cyst. In addition to what I was consuming to restore my womb wellness, I was mindful of how I taught about myself during my period. I held space for the highs and lows of my emotions by telling myself that I am not being irrational because I am on my period, I am intuitive and I am feeling all the feels. Did you know you are more intuitive during that time of the month? What if we tapped into that power and intuition more? I look forward to releasing a lot of emotional baggage and surrendering to rest during my cycle. My body tells me to slow down, rest, and rest some more.
Quick update since September: December is the first time I did not need to take the Naproxen for my period because I was not experiencing cramps just mild discomfort.
Around September, I was starting to read Stress Free for Life by Ra Un Nefer Amen which helped me analyze how we have been conditioned to manage stress caused illnesses versus eliminating stress caused illnesses. The preface alone was a deeply introspective read because I was questioning whether or not I am contributing to the management or elimination of my own womb wellness. My experience is an on-going act of possibility. This possibility exists for me as a way to heal from the trauma of my maternal line which I may never know of but is present within my womb. Healing my womb is a part of the inner work. As always the inner work requires consistency, discipline, effort and the willingness to seek liberation.
You are your #1 advocate! Self-Advocacy is essential every time you step in that doctor’s office knowing deep down in your body that something is causing you dis-ease. Every time you get disregarded by a professional or someone else, ask yourself this: do they know what you are feeling, experiencing, and going through in YOUR body? Really sit with this question because too often people acquire the audacity to gaslight your intuition (word to Maryam Hasnaa) and your lived experience in YOUR body. If this is accessible to you, learn what tests you need to take as it relates to your age and familiarize yourself with your family history, blood type, and sensitivities.
My Menstrual Cycle Routine
Before my cycle
Since I am being more intentional about decreasing the amount of meat I eat (I will have to part ways with seafood at a later date because shrimp, lanbi (conch), and salmon have my heart and belly for right now). A great tea blend I drink for its anti-inflammatory properties is The Herbal Scoop’s (Instagram: @the.herbal.scoop) “Get Well, Stay Well” which is known for its immune boosting benefits. This blend will get you right! I usually drink Honeydewholistic’s "Wise Womb Tea" daily or every other day and increase my intake right before and into my cycle. In addition to this tea, I add the Herbal Detox powder into my smoothies every other day but not during my period. Before my period I make sure I take 3-4 days to use my castor oil pack where I put the pack over my lower abdomen/pelvic area and lay down for up to an hour. I haven't tried yoni steaming but I look forward to this experience soon. I am mindful of what I eat most of the time and try to eat more iron rich foods to nourish my body in preparation for the amount of blood loss during my cycle. Also, I add a few drops of chlorophyll in my water.
Tap into my Womb Wellness Resource guide to lead you to practitioners who can help you figure out what foods you need to eat during each phase of your cycle and other tips.
During my cycle
I rest like it’s nobody’s business. I have to bring attention to the fact that I am not in school and that has given me more time to simply rest and really take care of myself. Sometimes I massage my essential oil blend above my pelvic area and back and place my heating pad on the area that is hurting more. I listen to a meditation that is made for menstrual individuals in mind and that has calmed me down and allowed me to meditate over my womb as it is releasing what is no longer serving me. After day 2, I invite some movement by flowing through a restorative and/or yin yang yoga practice which are my favorite to do on and off my period.
After my cycle
Towards the end of my period I made it a practice to indulge in (vegan free, soy free, and gluten free) cacao chocolate. Cacao is a replenishing replacement for any sugar craving you may have and it also improves your mood swings, iron levels, and so much more. R.I.P to my OG fav Kit Kat! At this point I am motivated to become more active and tap into my sensual side, I usually dance and get my hips moving. I pretend I’m at an Everyday People x Reggae fest function to really shake up the table.
This is not every single thing I do before, during, and after my period. I want to share most of what I do and remind you that I am one individual trying to see what works for me. This does not mean to use all the products mentioned. I am not sure if some of these items will be a permanent part of my monthly routine because I am still figuring this all out. As I am writing this I am trying a whole different routine to bring more balance to my hormones. Next month may call for me to lean into something else so be very open and aware of what works for you during this month versus another month or whenever you get your period. You get to see me figure it out and hopefully this inspires action to restore your womb wellness.
What are your needs during your cycle? List your emotional, mental, and physical needs.
What are routines, rituals, or products that support you?
What emotional baggage do you want to release during your cycle?
What do you want to affirm while you are experiencing your cycle?