Most of us as women have a conflicted relationship with the menstrual cycle.
It’s hard not to, when our first periods are a mixed bag of excitement and embarrassment, and then they’re followed by years of once-a-month messiness, inconvenience and pain. Most of us try to forge on and forget about the whole business as much as it’ll let us.
Until trying to conceive becomes a problem.
And oh, the irony. Because now the very aspect of being a woman that you may have resented and suppressed for decades becomes the focal point of your daily life.
And now, instead of just inconvenient, your period is a source of failure and frustration, too.
But there’s a way to change that.
Did you know that you have an ancient feminine heritage encoded inside you?
When I first learned about it I was dumbfounded: Why had no one ever told me this before?
But I felt a profound and instant sense of homecoming. Like I was claiming a birthright that had been there waiting for me all along.
This heritage is our menstrual-moon cycle, and it offers profound gifts of insight and self-knowledge, creativity and healing, an emotional and mental capacity that we can tune into if we learn how to recognize and flow with them.
Especially for a woman on the fertility journey, the wisdom of her cycle is an essential missing element. Instead of fighting your cycle, it’s possible (and, I promise, very liberating) to forge a nourishing relationship with it.
How do you do it?
Through the perspective change that comes from understanding how the menstrual cycle is reflected in the cycles of nature, and especially the moon.
Like the moon, we women have four distinct phases. We wax and wane from light to darkness, from the fullness and fertility of the follicular phase to the withdrawn interiority of the luteal phase.
Respecting and flowing with the movements of our own menstrual-moon cycles aligns us with this natural wisdom.
Let me show you how…
The four phases of the menstrual cycle are:
1. The pre-ovulation phase before we release an egg
2. Ovulation when the egg is released
3. Pre-menstruation as our bodies prepare to shed the lining of the uterus
4. Menstruation when we bleed
Each phase corresponds to a phase of the moon and goes hand in hand with spiritual, emotional, physical and mental changes, a cycle of shifting energy that we can tap into not only to help us understand and heal ourselves and our bodies but to support and renew ourselves throughout the fertility journey.
Phase #1: The pre-ovulation phase before we release an egg is symbolized in the energy of the Crescent Moon.
I call this the Maiden or the Go-getter because the time right after we bleed brings out our get-up-and-go energy. Just like the crescent moon waxing toward fullness, you’re growing and brightening, filled with new enthusiasm, mental clarity and physical vigour.
For women trying to conceive, pre-ovulation is a fresh month and a fresh start.
You find yourself reinvigorated — a confident, optimistic mother-to-be! In this phase, anything feels possible.
Phase #2: Ovulation is symbolized by the bright and vibrant Full Moon.
The earth is most fertile during the full moon time, and we are most fertile during our full moon time. This is the phase of the Mother when the hormones that peak in the body create the perfect environment for the support of a fertilized egg but also of your creative and emotional expression. This is the time when we’re most capable of nurturing ourselves, our loved ones, and our deepest desires.
Phase #3: Pre-menstruation, as our bodies prepare to shed the lining of the uterus, ushers us into the energy of the Waning Moon and the archetype of the Enchantress.
Once the crescendo of the full moon is reached, its appearance and its energy begin to withdraw. Farmers and gardeners consider this period the ideal time to weed, prune, and harvest.
For a woman trying to conceive, your waning moon time after ovulation can mean a natural time to turn within and take stock of how you’ve grown during the past cycle — to sift through your experiences, to journal, and to discard what no longer serves you.
The pre-menstrual enchantress energy can be emotional, wild, unpredictable, and powerful. You can ease the edginess as you allow yourself to feel, without judgment, the pain that stays buried the rest of the month.
Phase #4: The final phase of this cycle is menstruation when we are dark and interior like the New Moon.
The energy in this phase is intuitive and deeply spiritual. As the old cycle ends, we are offered a chance to rest deeply, reset our fertility intentions, and prepare to begin anew.
Relating to your menstrual cycle from a more receptive, positive, welcoming place is the beginning of your relationship with the feminine. It’s an important mindset shift that softens the negative feelings that are so easy to succumb to when struggling with infertility.
And as you embrace and learn to flow with your entire cycle, the pressure is lifted from ovulation in a way that allows you to relax open to the miracle you yearn for.
Psychotherapist and Yoga Teacher
Zahra Haji is a Toronto-based Psychotherapist, mind-body fertility coach, and yoga teacher passionate about women’s reproductive health and spiritual balance. Her signature fertility yoga and meditation program, Moon Goddess, has helped hundreds of women conceive in over 25 countries. Through Kundalini yoga and a conscious connection to the menstrual-moon cycle, Moon Goddess gives women a supercharged way to plug into the source of the feminine — the Mata Shakti, or mother energy of creation -that is essential to conception. To learn more about Zahra and her work, visit www.yogagoddess.ca.