A friend once said, “We women should bleed with pride every month. Periods are a freaking celebration because they show us that we are fertile.” Right she is! And yet, mood swings and abdominal pain don’t exactly help us pop the champagne corks every four weeks. Yet I find that knowing your cycle helps you get to know yourself better.
Why it makes sense to track your period? A change in thinking, a different way of talking about it and, above all, a more precise perception of one’s own body can contribute to a change for the better in one’s own perspective and thus also in the way one deals with the subject of menstruation. After all, most of us still perceive menstruation as something that has to be endured month after month according to the “eyes closed and through” principle. A fate, a Bürde.
Access to one’s own body was missing
Anyone who is over 30 today had hardly any opportunity to Google meaningful answers when all the fun started back then. And talking about it with friends or one’s own mother was not always easy either. There was such a strange shame. And actually, one was still somehow a child. There was a lack of access to one’s own body and thus also to what was happening in it, month after month, in secret. But then a new feminist movement caused a stir a few years ago: Young women demanded that men’s and women’s bowels finally become more menstruation-friendly. Periods should be as normal as blowing your nose, author Charlotte Roche once said.
How Period Tracking Improves Body Feeling
And what can period tracking contribute to this? It’s quite simple: as soon as we start to note down exactly when the first and last day of the period is, how we feel during it, when abdominal cramps, sensitive breasts, desire to eat or other symptoms appear, we gradually gain a picture of how the body is ticking. There are now countless smartphone apps that can be used to document all this. And the more information that is entered – temperature, discharge characteristics or sexual activities –, the better the clever algorithms spit out useful results in the background.
Listen to the signals!
Depending on how well you maintain the app, a lot of things come to light over time. A pattern of ups and downs, good and bad moments. Yes, it’s a cycle! Things come and go. Days when you feel anxious lose their terror because a glance at the calendar reveals that they always reappear at that time. We notice our ovulation, realize that the days before are the best for making important decisions and that we get sick faster in the period after. In fact, the female body is constantly sending signals, and those who learn to listen also learn to understand what they, and thus their own psyche, need at the moment. So it is not surprising that many women report a kind of awakening experience after they have stopped taking the pill. Perhaps this is exactly what is meant by female intuition or wisdom, which is revered by many primitive peoples to this day. To return to this ancient knowledge, therein lies our power. Men don’t have a cycle, this superhero power belongs to us women all alone.
PMS is also a message
Some might dismiss this as esoteric, but even science is slowly coming around to the idea that there is something to it. In one of our articles on PMS, gynecologist Dr. Sheila de Liz points out that the unpleasant pre-menstrual states can indicate a hormonal imbalance. Especially if they hit you particularly hard. "PMS wants to tell us: ‘Do some soul-searching! Is my current lifestyle really doing me any good?‘ The fact that we are more sensitive towards the end of the cycle should also be seen as an invitation to engage in self-reflection and remember to value ourselves." The good news is that debunked PMS is much more treatable.
Track your period and talk about it
Those who do not deal with their own cycle close themselves off from these possibilities. Or to put it another way: it is not only we women who have been asking for more from the (male) world for decades, the female body also wants to be heard and understood. And we should comply with this request, I think. By the way: among the Yurok Indians who lived on the coast of California, menstruation – unlike in most other cultures – was considered the greatest sacred power of women. The fact that this people was one of the most peaceful, contented and prosperous tribes may well be related to this.