Want to Understand Your Wife Better? Understand Her Cycle.
I believe we live in a world where women 'knuckle down' and continue as normal irrelevant of where they are in their cycle. In fact I think most of the time a lot of women don't know where they are in their menstrual cycle until they are suddenly in tears staring at the calendar in surprise.
That's how it was for me, Ben would know where I was before I did. He said my face would change, I would look at him differently. No doubt my face would display more irritation, that's often how I feel from ovulation... Like he can do no right. Suddenly the way he eats and drinks is loud and annoying. His stubble which previously sexy is now like gravel on my skin. His unloading of his day, which I love to hear now hurts my ears and my head is screaming "I too want to be heard".
Women play this down, we know its there, we know we've changed but we don't talk about it, and we definitely don't ask for what we need. And that's how we have to help ourselves better. Our needs change throughout the month. Some days or weeks our energy is amazing, we have clarity and focus, a drive and enthusiasm that we desperately cling to. But then there are the days and weeks where we question everything, we are desperate for a bed and a closed door. Some weeks exercise is easy whilst others we feel like we're walking through mud. Our bodies are showing us what we need, our wellbeing depends on us paying attention and responding.
I recently read Wild Power and have now started to track and pay attention to my menstrual cycle and it's been life changing. As patterns emerge I can start to plan around it so that I'm doing all that I can in my 'good weeks' and doing as less as I can during my period (and days leading up to it). It's also opened honest conversations with friends which makes me feel more seen and understood, more connected just as we should be.
Wild Power talks about the importance of us women having a cycle and that there is great power in it. As I turn the pages my eyes are being opened to my frequent inner turbulence, which can so easily confuse me. I'm excited to understand it - and myself - better. I'm open to seeing my cycle in new ways and realising my own potential from doing so.
Now men, listen up.
Women have periods, they are often a pain in our own ass, not just yours. They cause us pain and often melt downs. They cause us to withdraw at times and shut the world out. There is a reason for this, please understand it's not you; it's us.
When we look at you in a different way it's because we are also looking at ourselves in a different way. We are being critical of ourselves, our worth and we're questioning our place in the world. We don't mean to be irritable, we hate that we are but most of the time we cannot help it.
When we have our period - or it's looming, we need you. We need your compassion, understanding and support. We need to retreat a little and rest. We need to reflect, we need to feel heard. We need your patience whilst we navigate through it. We need your forgiveness.
Our cycles are important, in ways that many of us still don't fully understand. It's much more than, much deeper than having children. It's a part of who we are and how we belong in the world.
Pay attention to our cycles even if we don't and you'll start to see patterns which will highlight why we are acting a certain way. There is power in this for you too.
Men and women are different, and that's how it should be. We don't always understand one another's ways, how can we? As couples the treasure does not lie in perfect understanding. The treasure lies in our communication with each other, the sharing of the deepest parts of ourselves and the compassion that follows.
If you don't already, pay attention to your cycle. It can help us understand ourselves, our friends and sisters better. It can connect us. It can be a gift.
Listen to your body.
Lead the way.