Friday, July 9, 2010

That cup isn't for drinking, my dearest.

I have been issued a challenge by the ever thoughtful and lovely Lori.

" you, should you choose to accept it- to write openly and honestly about the topic of menstruation, without Puritan instincts kicking in..."

I've debated and pondered this challenge, thinking about it as I lay on my bathroom floor, begging for death today.  (Food poisoning is a cruel and heartless mistress when you're in her clutches.)  It kind of amuses me that I can ponder blog topics while I vomit up internal organs.  Anyways.

While I lack Puritan instincts (as anyone who knows me IRL will tell you that, with a sigh and a shake of their heads,) I certainly have a hesitancy to bare it all about menstruation right now.

It has not always been like this - normally, I am all too happy to tell you precisely how much I bleed and how terribly I was once afflicted with cramps and leaks and stains and stress.  I will wax poetic about my menstrual cup and cloth pads, and try my hardest to get you to think outside of your tampon box for a few moments and consider that your period might actually be a satisfying thing.

I'm vulnerable right now.  Vulnerability hits me hardest when I am conflicted, and now is one of those times.

I missed it quite a bit while I was pregnant with Bug.  Part of that was due, I believe, to my unhappiness with the circumstances I found myself in.  I won't lie or sugar coat the truth - I was angry, and I resented that little life inside of me more often than not.  It was a very real case of dueling emotions - one moment I would be mournful that I felt his kicks, wishing more than anything that I could go back to the day he was conceived and change it, so that instead of pointlessly buying a pregnancy test four weeks later to satisfy a question I already knew the answer to, I would be buying a case of back-up pads instead, experiencing one of the most bountiful withdrawl bleeds ever.  The moment that would follow that would be spent awestruck at the love that I had for him, and terrified about how strong it was despite my moments of resentment.

After I worked through my resentment, I found myself yet again wishing for menses.  Not because I was angry, but because I hurt.  Physical pain, emotional pain, the pain of wondering if he was well, the pain of knowing that my daughter was moving on in life as I sat and watched, unable to partake, for Bug's health and my own.

When he finally made his entrance, I bled enough to satisfy those months of wishing.  Granted, not quite the same, but blood letting is blood letting, in an odd and unexplainable way.  It was as if my body was making its own atonement to the universe for my negativity, and even though it fell on the delivery room floor (and the doctor's feet, and the nurses' feet, and splattered the walls, and their legs, and my legs, etc. etc.) and not into the earth, I felt a certain and strange peace.

I spent the next few months fighting the battles that were put in my path, and didn't once think about the absence of my menses.  When all had settled, I went in to be fitted with my little borg implant, my friend, my copper IUD named Optimus Prime. 

At the time, I had not resumed menstruating.  The day of the insertion, I found myself excited for the things to come:  No more pregnancy (hopefully,) no more artificial hormones flooding my system and giving me a false sense of security, no more terror at the thought of falling pregnant with a bad choice.  I was nervous, though.  Was I setting myself up for heartbreak?  Would I, who was blessed with the type of fertility that a rabbit would envy, somehow curse myself?  Or worse, would I be one of the percentage of women who fell victim to one of the nastier potential side effects and not be able to even ponder any more biological children?

I brushed it aside, I went through with it.  I remember thinking to myself, as the CNM parted my labia with an uncharacteristic gentleness that sticks out in my mind, "It will be okay.  Just breathe."  The insertion was fast and painless.  And... once again, my body offered up blood.  "Is it normal for her to bleed that much?" questioned the nursing student I allowed to sit in on the procedure.  The midwife simply smiled at me and said far better than I could have:  "Well, Miss AccidentallyMommy has her own thoughts on blood and bleeding.  There is no normal for her." 

Again, months melted away - a bit of spotting here, a few false starts there, but all in all - nothing that really screamed "You're back to where you should be!" to me.

I have had two "real" periods since then.  Periods where I could pinpoint my fertility without question, without temperatures or cervical length or dowsing with a crystal over my belly.

And you know what?  They have turned me upside down.

Gone is the time where I look forward to the days when I can break out the cloth pads and the cup that I so lovingly stored and missed so desperately, gone is that time where I can take geeky, suppressed-researcher joy in measurements and observations.

It's like puberty all over again.  A total rebirth into being me.  Leaks and cramps have returned, cycle days are unpredictable, and I find myself no longer at peace - I find myself filled with nerves and stress and generally being displeased.

I will come full circle again - there is no doubting that, that is the way life works.  I will stop being horrified with myself when I find myself debating the pro's of the disposable products that make me rash and itch, simply because they're so much easier in a time where nothing is any longer easy.  Gone will be the time when I find myself telling Kinder Major "No, baby, that's not a cup in the drinking sense.  Right now it's just decoration." because it can no longer handle the bounty that my body is offering up.

For now, though, I wait.  I wait for my patience and my re-establishment as a woman (in my eyes, above any,) to return to me.


  1. Wow. That was fantastic, so honest and beautifully written. Thank you for taking me up on my challenge.

    And i am so investing in a cup just as soon as my period returns!!

  2. This too is a great post!
    I'm not quite there yet...