My Menses and Steam Story

bleed

Let’s time hop back to May 2000, it was the last week or so of school right before my 12th birthday. I was at school and I went to the bathroom like any normal potty visit and I was shocked to see what was in my panties. It honestly scared me a bit even though I was aware from our super awesome Sex Ed given just months prior what I was about to face.  * Insert eye roll* Fortunately, I knew one of my friends already had her period so I was able to seek her out right away and she helped me with a pad for my underwear and a hug for my child heart dissipating before my eyes. 

I remember telling my mom later after we were picked up from school. I am the eldest daughter of 3, my brother is the middle child and my sister is the baby. I don’t recall having any real conversations with my mom about my period. But when I let her in on what had happened that day we went and got the supplies I needed. I certainly wasn’t dismissed, but it wasn’t a joyful celebration and welcome to womanhood rite of passage. My period was something to be tolerated, not embraced, and definitely not celebrated. 

I struggled as an athlete when I was bleeding, between 12-15 I had many embarrassing situations in which I bled through my shorts, or even worse, blood dripped down my leg. Once I was bleeding through my pad and shoved some toilet paper up there to try and dam it….. guess what fell out of my shorts during the basketball game…. Talk about wanting to throw up in front of the whole gym. My mother never really engaged with me, on my cycle. I knew she was available to ask questions, but I guess I wasn’t super sure or confident in what I was missing or what I needed to ask. As the eldest daughter, I certainly tumbled my way through menstruating the first 5 years or so. 

Then comes college. I left Colorado essentially by myself and moved to Southern California, Long Beach to be exact. During this time, I got on hormonal birth control, even though my boyfriend at the time was back in Colorado. But I thought that was the right and responsible thing to do. I certainly did NOT want to get pregnant in college. I am lucky enough that I never really had issues as far as STIs or unwanted conceptions, but just going to Planned Parenthood for my yearly and getting my birth control refilled was the least desirable thing on my list each year. I had not been to a Planned Parenthood in Colorado, but I was SHOCKED, that the doors were locked at the center and you had to have an appt and be buzzed in. I’m sorry what???? People are really attacking sexual health care centers. What a time to be a woman. It really blew my mind. 


Let’s flash to getting married in 2016 to my sweet, wonderful husband. We had been together for 8 years and we had been talking about babies for quite some time. Like a good girl, I had been on my hormonal birth control since 2006….. a literal solid 10 years. What they don’t tell you when you take birth control for that long, is how your body may not be able to get pregnant until it returns to balance. You’ve been taking synthetic hormones for a decade, and now your body needs to kick that cycle back on. Needless to say, it took us over a year to conceive. (Please understand that this is my experience and others may have had a different experience after long-term BC use).

My pregnancy was ok until it wasn’t. I had my first baby boy at 30 weeks gestation due to preeclampsia. An emergency C-section resulted in a 68-day NICU stay and lots of trauma for this momma and my womb space. The first year of his life was a blur and whirlwind. So much going on but I did get my period back about 6 months postpartum. I had decided to get the copper IUD since I was trying to avoid getting back on hormonal birth control knowing how hard it was for my body to regain balance. I chose wrong yall. I had the worst menstruation I have EVER had in my life. The most painful, the heaviest flow. I honestly thought, how am I still upright with all this blood in my toilet, did my whole uterus fall out? Dark almost black blood, huge clots, week-plus bleeding days, and irregular cycles every month. I finally took the copper IUD out after just over a year even though I knew we were not ready to begin trying for another baby. But keeping the Copper IUD was not worth the pain and suffering I was facing. I decided I needed my body and womb space to reset. Find its way back to homeostasis and we had to start with no birth control hormones, pills, patches, no IUDs, just precautionary on-demand birth control…. Condoms. 

About a year or so after removing the copper IUD a friend of mine who was trying to conceive started talking about vaginal steaming. I had come across vaginal steaming on Instagram but I had not ever met anyone who knew what it was or was openly discussing it. Her husband had customized a stool for her steam sessions, and I was intrigued right away. I attended a vaginal steaming talk at a local acupuncture business, and many different types of women and needs had shown up to get more information on this healing modality. The more I learned, the more I yearned for more information. This was resonating with me at my core, this was some of the matriarchal knowledge I was missing in my life and guidance. 

I signed up for a steam consultation, and I received my recommendation and the herbs I should use. First off, the herbs were so beautiful and smelled amazing. In the first session, I was sold. And I couldn’t believe I had never heard of this before, why weren’t more women talking about this? I kept a regular steam schedule, once a week, and an extra steam before my bleed. My goal was to heal my womb physically and energetically, to find a place of homeostasis. 

I did meet my goal. Once my husband and I were ready to start to try for another baby, I added in acupuncture alongside my weekly steaming, and within 6 months I was pregnant. I absolutely chalk up my second pregnancy to the healing of my womb and uterus with steaming. 

After my second son, I was able to incorporate Yoni steaming back into my weekly ritual after my 6-week postpartum checkup with my OB. I have seen such a dramatic change and efficiency in my healing after this second birth. I chose to stay off of any birth control and used steaming as a place of nourishment, pause, peace, gratitude, reflection, and growth. My periods have synced back up nicely with the full moon, and my bleeding days have been regulated to 4-5 days each cycle for the last year. The matter and consistency of my menses are also important to note. It is now beautiful crimson fresh red blood, and thin tissue is present but there are no large dark clots. No brown residue at the beginning or end of my bleed, no dark red and old blood lingering. When you get your period to a state of homeostasis and efficiently cleanse the inside of your womb it truly is a marvelous thing to bask in and honor. 

Because this modality has not only healed my womb space, physically, energetically, and holistically but the knowledge and confidence that has been infused in my cells begs to be shared and passed on. As a mom of boys, it’s important that they are aware that women bleed, and it’s a sacred time(for the whole household). It is so vital to me that I share and pass on this knowledge to as many women and girls as possible. This matriarchal knowledge is the missing piece that many women don’t know they need. 

How empowering that we can take healing and action upon ourselves for our bodies. How empowering is it to set time aside for ritual and pause, to honor the divine feminine.  I am honored to be able to share this knowledge and power with my fellow wombholders. 

 

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