As I sit and write this, I am sitting with belly bloated and womb cramping, feeling hot and tired, flat and emotional, creative and intuitive, sensitive to EVERYTHING...
But most of all, I'm feeling totally blissed out in this crampy-tired-emotional state.
I am riding the period wave with an immense amount of gratitude, more than there are even words for...
This is the second period I've had since a stretch of 8 months of no bleeding... but it's even more of a special situation than that...
My Amenorrhea journey has spanned about 8 years. Amenorrhea is s defined as the absence of a period for more than 3 months in a row. I had 6.5 years of no period at all. And now, in the past 2.5 years, I've had a handful of periods that were months apart.
The big deal about THIS ONE, is that it is the first time in 12 years that I've bled naturally 2 months in a row. I say naturally, as I was on the pill for close to 6 years in my late teens and I don't count the 'fake' bleeding as a period.
I have been on a very intentional journey through these past months in particular, of supporting my womb and inviting my cycle to find her rhythm once again.
At times, it has been extremely hard. I've been through waves of many emotional fluctuations and, oftentimes, feeling helpless. All I wanted was to feel these crampy feel and bleed the rich blood.
And it wasn't happening.
So a month ago, I had sensed it was super close to happening in the weeks leading up to the new moon. I was energetically syncing with the moon cycle to invite her in, when I did finally see that first pooling of blood on the exact day of the new moon, I was so happy I was a snotty mix of sobs and smiles.
And then after a month of continuing to support my body and phases of my cycle, I was hoping beyond hope that I would bleed again... I had the date of the next new moon marked out... very excited and also slightly nervous.
I told my partner the evening before the day of the new moon how all signs pointed to the bleed coming, yet I was scared. Scared of being of disappointed, of the bleed not coming. He listened beautifully as I shared that vulnerability. I went to bed with trust and faith, yet also non-attachment to whether she would come.
And in the morning I woke and have NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY TO HAVE STAINED MY SHEETS! At the time, I smiled like crazy and looked to my partner who was on a call in the room, and he instantly knew what it was that I was smiling at.
I want to back up a bit and share my journey through amenorrhea, as well as share my personal practices and tips for supporting womb health. (These are not meant o be medical advice to everyone, they are a glimpse into my womb support, in the hopes that it inspires you to anchor in more support for your womb, whether you have period challenges or not).
Let's start with: My Amenorrhea Healing Journey
Since I had gotten my first period back after long-term amenorrhea (a term meaning the 'absence of a period') about 2.5 years ago, I'd only bled a handful of times... probably around 5. This means, in the total 8 years that I had been missing my cycle, it was only about 5 periods.
And actually, if I were to add in the years I was taking the contraceptive pill, it would be a total of 11 years of getting very few natural periods (rather than the hormonally manipulated periods given by the pill).
I shared in a recent post on my Instagram (follow me HERE how many natural bleeds I’ve actually had on my life. When it did the math, I realized it was about 10, give or take a few. Yep. Only 10.
It was a sad moment when I contrasted that to how many potential bleeds I could have experienced in the 13 years since getting my first period (in the case that I was to have had a period every single month that whole time - which for MANY women, is rare)... but using that as a marker, it would have been 156.
10 out of 156. WOW!
Why has my period taken so long to come back?
Since I got her back with that first natural bleed about 2.5 years ago, there would be often many months in between bleeds, and I knew that this was part of my body finding her rhythm - setting her cycle, after the trauma she had felt from my past actions. I knew that it was normal for women healing from amenorrhea to take quite a while to have a 'regular' rhythm. Though 8 months was a long time. And since I never got a bleed 2 months (or more) in a row, I was still considered to have 'amenorrhea'... by the way, there is primary and secondary amenorrhea. Primary amenorrhea is where a woman never experiences a period. Secondary is far more common, where our period goes mia for a variety of reasons.
So in that recent stretch of 8 month of not having her, I knew what would have been contributing to that stretch. I was training for a marathon. Maybe you're thinking - well, of course, this happened! Why would you do that when you were already healing for amenorrhea? (It's well-known that women who are undertaking intense physical athletic training can lose their periods).
Honestly, I thought my body had regulated, and I assumed that giving my body enough fuel, and still doing my womb practices, I would be fine. After all, even in the first 6 months of marathon training, I had still been bleeding a few times. But right at the end of the training, she stopped.
Though I was eating well, napping, not going 'crazy-crazy' with my training, I was still putting my body through the intensity with what marathon training entails, so of course, she became absent again. Looking back, I feel that I was holding within me two competing goals:
1. Taking part in my first marathon, which was monumental for me and a journey that was so rewarding and incredible. (I LOVE RUNNING SO SO MUCH).
2. Also holding the 'goal' of regulating my cycle. I thought I could do both. My body chose that it couldn't. So when I didn't bleed again, I thought it may take her a few months to come back, and I was supporting her in the best way I knew how to invite her in. And still, no blood. Not until these past 2 months. I want to back up a bit first to give an overview of what first led to me having amenorrhea for about 8 years now, as well as what I have done since to care for my womb health physically, emotionally and energetically, and why I feel my period has now come twice in these past months.
How I Initially Lost My Period
This is the short-hand of the much longer story.
Basically, I feel there are two key reasons that my cycle was interrupted for such a long time.
#1: The Contraceptive Pill
When I first got my period, at age 15 (which was quite a bit little later than my friends at the time) I think I bled maybe 2 or 3 times before I went straight on the contraceptive pill. I've been told by some people in the medicinal professions that it would have been difficult for my body to set up its own hormonal cycle in such a short time before I replaced it with the manipulation and suppression of hormones through taking the pill. I was on the pill for about 5 years.
It saddens me that as a young girl, I felt that I had no information on the potential long-term side effects of the pill, and what it does to the body at that age as I was still developing in many ways. It was really just an easy visit to the GP and stating that I wanted it for contraceptive (as my boyfriend had told me to go on it because then we didn't have to use other protection and that was far more preferable for him).
It saddens me that this information about the potential dangers wasn't given, and also that I felt like it was something I couldn't talk about with any of the adult women in my life - because talk about periods and sex and contraception was 'hush.'
It also saddens me that I was excited to think that I could 'skip a period' have control over whether I bled or not.
'Cool!' I thought 'I don't have to DEAL with a period? That's great news.'
That makes me sad. That I grew up believing, as the majority of young women I believe still do, that periods are 'bad', 'annoying', 'dirty' etc rather than the actual magic and incredibly amazing processes of our womanly body systems that they really are. Our cyclical bodies are MAGIC, and harnessing their power and honoring this magic is one of the most special things I hold in being a woman. It's well known that the contraceptive pill can cause women to have amenorrhea for months or years after they come off the pill. So I believe that this definitely played a big role.
#2: I had an Eating/Exercise Disorder
I share about this in more of my earlier posts, so I won't relay the entire story and subsequent healing (awakening) journey that it later took me on, but in short...
After my mother's sudden death at 19, I numbed myself from feeling through the grief, and complexity of all that came up as my relationship with my mother throughout my life had been difficult/traumatic to begin with.
Instead of feeling through the pain, I busied myself with my university studies, and my passion for health and wellness (I had always been a runner, dancer, and loved moving my body throughout my entire life). My depression and anxiety became stronger as I then fell into what is called 'orthorexia' - an over-exercise and clean/under-eating obsession, often categorized as an eating disorder. My body began to shut down. I lost ALOT of weight in a very short amount of time. This was the same time - at my lowest point physically - that I came off the pill. So there was NO WAY that my body would have even been able to start a natural cycle again after not only coming off the pill, but also doing so when my body was extremely malnourished.
My healing journey - Amenorrhea Recovery
Thankfully, through a transformational time of self-work and inner healing, I came to a place of peace, understanding, and ultimately a love of life and myself that I had never felt before. Again, what I did to heal and move through this time is another story, and I'll continue to just focus on the womb-healing aspect here.
But in short - this was a time of devoting every waking second facing every shadow that arose and being aware of each thought, feeling, and belief. I entered this state of becoming a witnesser to all that was within me, ultimately unraveling everything that came up as it came up that was not the truth, love, and peace. After the first year, I still hadn't gotten a period, so I went to the doctor, got an ultrasound, and everything showed up 'normal', and I was told to 'wait it out.' I knew that it would most likely take me a while for it to stabilize and come back to deeper health, beyond the physical health I was at. I was at a healthy weight, not over-doing it with exercise (yet still moving my body) and diving deeply into spiritual practices daily. I was eating a vegetarian diet at this point, though almost fully vegan. And eating foods that are known to assist with women's hormonal cycles - like flax seeds, maca powder, etc. Beyond that, I was just 'waiting' it out, not taking any more real outward action.
Moving to Bali & Taking Action
Thrust into a lifestyle of being surrounded by likeminded people, yoga and wellness practices and therapies, and a way of life that felt far more in tune with my feminine essence of creativity and flow, I found a home in Bali.
In the first few years there, I was not really focused specifically on womb health and hormonal balancing. Again, I was 'waiting', yet not being totally proactive. There was a point, a few years after moving to Bali, where I was working as a yoga teacher, took up my love of running again, and was living with my partner, fully vegan now, where I decided to be more proactive about it.
I think actually a turning point was when my friend got her first bleed after years, and I didn't even know she had a similar challenge with her period. When I heard of her own challenge, and healing, and then began to hear more (ladies, this is so much more common than we think!) That sparked within me a fire to really focus on womb health more deeply. I was also, at this time, beginning a deeper journey in feminine embodiment work, especially in this partnership, as we practiced masculine and feminine relating in our connection and life together, and again, it was at the forefront of my mind to awaken this cycle to balance. It led me to see a woman in Bali who worked in a medical/alternative therapy based way, with a method that I don't even know has a name. I think her history of work was in osteopathy. I saw her for a 'treatment' and immediately did not get a good vibe.
Even as we spoke about why I was seeing her (she treated many different things at that time) I felt as if she was shaming me for what I had done to my body (I had done plenty of that myself!) and the actual 'therapy' was invasive, internal work where she entered my yoni and manipulated my cervix, kidneys and other regions in my body in a painful way, where I felt unsupported and a lack of compassion/kindness come through as she was doing so. For me, this was not a good experience. I can only speak about my own experience, and it didn't feel ok. I left that session and was in tears, distraught, feeling worse about myself and my body, and like I was 'bad.' My partner at the time - bless him - was so solution-focused (one of our masculine traits that we all have) that he said, 'but if it works, that's great, right?' Meanwhile, I felt like I had been through a strong trauma in that moment. I didn't believe that it would have helped.
Fast forward some months, and I met a radiant woman that I had just a short conversation with. We spoke about women's health, feminine embodiment, relationships, and more. She asked me 'do you have a relationship with your womb?' BAM. That was a turning point for me.
The rest of the magical story I share in this post HERE
But for now, I'll just say that a few weeks after that conversation, and after also intentionally creating a painting for my womb, I had that very first bleed. WOW.
Fast-Forward to Now
Since then, I had been developing a very strong connection with my body rhythm, energy, emotional fluctuations, libido, and womb center. In MANY MANY ways, I was supporting my womb. And she did come, again, that handful of times.
Then, the marathon training, then the 8 months dry-spell again. After the marathon, I got probably the most 'serious' I had been about inviting her in - WHILE, also being the most 'non-attached' to the outcome.
This is SUCH a fine balance.
There were two ends of the spectrum that I had been on in the past - just letting my body 'do her thing' and waiting passively, to being more 'proactive' to the point of trying to 'fix her' (while at the same time, making her believe she was a problem that needed real fixing).
The balance point for me is in framing it this way:
I am trusting in my body's wisdom, while also supporting her and nourishing her in the ways that feel delicious and loving.
How I got my period back: What I feel invited her in...
So without further ado, here are the ways that I was supporting her in these past months, and why I believe she came back 2 months ago. I'll break it down into the following categories:
Mental Support for Healing Amenorrhea
As mentioned above, I focused on holding this balanced mindset of support and trust. This, I believe, also reduced stress and tension from entering my system - not only embodying the feminine energy of trust and surrender but physically impacting my body with the thoughts and beliefs that I allowed into my system. So the two big keys are TRUST and SOFTNESS - trusting in my mind, softness from stress, and self-awareness to feel into my mental state of health moment to moment.
Lifestyle Changes for Healing Amenorrhea
Much less running. Still, I run maybe 2 tiimes a week, but intentionally I'm choosing not to run another marathon this year. By the way, this was one of the hardest decisions I have made. It may seem odd, but running is a passion of mine, and the path of for an event was incredibly rewarding. This isn't to say that I won't race or run long distance again. I just know that for right now, I will run less distance, less often.
I still exercise regularly, but more variation like weight training, slow runs, softer cardio sessions, not as much HIIT. And sticking to 1 workout a day with 2ish rest days a week, and often no more than 40 minutes of exercise in one go.
I also transitioned out of teaching yoga daily when I took my Claiming Feminine work more online and to focus on my workshops, retreats, circles, and 1-1 coaching. This was also aiding in less exercise, as I would previously teach a few classes a day, on top of some workouts/training - so I was super active and it became harder for hormonal balance in my system due to this, I believe.
Meditation & Massage & Naps
I have the gift of living in Bali where massages are super cheap and amazingly good, where women can come to my house at the end of the day multiple times a week. Massage is SOO GOOD for health in many ways - physically and mentally.
Also, I listen to subliminal and binaural meditation music on youtube (often 30 - 60 minute tracks) while getting massaged, while laying down throughout the day, or even sometimes in the background as I was writing. There are lots of hormonal, womb, period healing tracks to listen for free on YouTube.
More naps most days, or at least, lots of laying down and getting into the soft sweet yin energy that is restful and rejuvenating.
Art & Dance
More creative activities daily - painting and dancing, often in a sensual and intuitive way, which is a way to connect to the womb center, that is our creative and sexual center.
Connecting to my partner with an active sex-life is also very beneficial for hormonal and womb health. There are so many mechanisms at play here for why sex is so great for regulating our periods. I invite you to research it on your own!
Yoni Practices for Healing Amenorrhea
Yoni is a word that encapsulates the entire realms of the womb and vagina.
I had been using a Jade Yoni Egg for already 2 years, and in the time of this 8-month healing journey in particular, I did a little more.
More regular than the egg, however, was diving into Yoni Wand practices that are known as de-armoring (releasing the tension, trauma, energetic blocks) as well as pleasure practices that were heightened my connection to my sexual energy, while at the same time physically and energetically releasing and cleansing.
I also have been yoni steaming for a few months. It's so so relaxing and really potent as a ritual of softening into your feminine while providing your yoni some loving benefits from the herbs. More info on what Yoni Steaming is, and to get the herbs that I use HERE
Diet Changes for Healing Amenorrhea
I had been eating in the following way in the months (and in some cases, like in being vegan, for years) leading up to the past 2 months:
Eating more fruit - particularly daily dragonfruit paired with Passionfruit for vitamin C with Iron for absorption (to particularly to help with blood-building)/
Having regular fats and leafy greens.
Lots of water.
Lots of herbal teas - with mushrooms and ashitaba and ginger (more on herbs below).
I eat within an hour after waking up.
I don't do intermittent fasting - the longest I fast is 13 hours over the night while I sleep between an early dinner and early breakfast.
Lots of snacks, seeds, carbs - not cutting out or restricting on any macro and micronutrient.
I am vegan (have been for close to 6 years) and for me, I believe this enhances my health. I also don't drink or smoke, and haven't in MANY YEARS (I was never a smoker, but was a drinker in my late teens).
In the past month since getting my period, between this one and last bleed, I had made these additional shifts along with the same flow of diet above:
Focusing on cycle syncing my nutrition as outlined in the amazing book I've started to geek out on 'In The Flow' by Alisa Vitta (Link HERE). If you are interested in hormonal balancing and living a life where exercise, work, diet and all areas of life are optimized in line with living in a women's body, I can't it recommend it enough - it's hands down the best book I've read on periods!
Lemon warm water every morning upon waking (nope, not for 'fat burning' but for flushing hormones out of my system. to allow healthy hormonal flow).
Herbal Remedies for Healing Amenorrhea
Finally, I've been supporting my body with herbal supplements for a while - particularly the past 3 months I believe there has been a big improvement in my hormonal balance for my particular body through one key herb, but there are more to mention that I take as well:
Dong Quai is the key herb that I have felt my body absolutely LOVE.
Vitex is something I've also been taking for about 7 months, though I have since lowered my dose a lot since starting Dong Quai.
Medicinal mushrooms - I love this one from Host Defence (HERE) additionally, my partner makes the yummiest mix of different mushrooms in evening tea a few times a week.
Yin Tonic Tea blend (I have this a little bit before, and while I am bleeding) HERE
Ashitaba (Started having this as tea throughout the day every day when I started on Dong Quai)
Maca powder with my breakfast every morning.
Lots of ginger and turmeric in teas as well.
For any woman who is challenged with hormonal, body, mental, emotional issues - I feel you. I want you to know that you're not alone and that there is always hope. We each have our different paths of learning and healing to take place, and trusting in our own journey and the timing of it all will make it far softer along the way, though know as well that if you feel sad at times, that's ok too. With your inner trust, also know that there are many different ways you can support your mental, emotional and physical health, and I invite you to explore without the mindest of 'fixing', rather, from an energy of 'nurturing'.
If you have any additional questions, comments, shares, I'm here. I do not work specifically with women in hormonal imbalance, as that's not my professional expertise. I do, however, work with women who are seeking to claim their feminine energy, softness, sensuality, playfulness, and power.
If that is something you'd be interested to explore in my circles, immersion, 1-1 coaching or retreats, take a look at the work that I offer HERE
xxxxxx Love up on your womb <3