*Warning – this is one of those posts that the reader may feel to be TMI. As I stated in my Welcome & Disclaimers page, I will deal with all aspects of life, and there is very little that I’m shy of speaking of. The following is case in point. The subject matter is menstruation & female hormones. You’ve been warned. *
I’ll start this by saying I’ve not done all the research that I want to, this is just my thoughts in the process.
Have you heard of the red tent? I’ve only heard of it, never actually read anything about it, but the story is that it was the place that the Hebrew ladies went during their menses. Various other cultures and traditions have similar stories – the women had a place to “be” during menses, away from the rest of the community…
I think they were onto something.
This month, my hormones have been exaggerated, in every way…
For most of my life the cycles of hormones have been barely noticeable. Natural Family Planning techniques helped me see slight variations, but overall I’ve been an even keel, non PMS suffering woman. Yes, I have been more prone to tears and being somewhat emotional during menses, but compared to other PMS sufferers, my life has been very, very mild. Until recently.
First, there was hormonal birth control that within a year had me the worst raging bitch I’ve every thought of being, and then some. Having figured out why I’d gained 15 lbs and a massive cyclical attitude in one year, I vowed to end that quickly. The next month, as my body adjusted to being off of those hormones, I had my first migraine headache. Except, it wasn’t a headache. It was “silent”, meaning my head didn’t really hurt until days later, as it was wearing off. It hit hard and fast at ovulation with the fluctuation of estrogen, which can affect blood flow in the brain… I was dizzy. As in, “move my head at more than a snail’s pace and throw up immediately” dizzy. My eyes hurt. The sun, oh the sun was so bright. I was in bed for 4 days.
Within two weeks, I started a cleanse for 21 days, and the next month was so much better. I did have a headache, but I didn’t get dizzy, and I didn’t throw up…
Since then I’ve been in a pretty good place, except for a couple of months, and this is one of them. Exaggerated hormones all over the place. A few weeks ago, I learned that what my momma had told me about being a middle-aged woman was true. Today tho, I’m wishing for a Red Tent. Let me go away and just be, just cry for no reason, just go off and vent, just… just… AGHHH!
Thankfully, my in laws are here, and shortly after Rudy laid down for a nap, they took the boys to the park and haven’t yet returned. The silence and time to reflect has been incredibly nice.
It all makes me think maybe YWHW was onto something with his “Niddah” (which literally means “separated”) laws. Niddah refers to a woman in menses or prior to having mikvehed (taken a ritual bath) after menses. In summary she was to be separate from the congregation as she was ceremonially unclean. If anyone touched her, or the chair she sat on, or the bed she laid on, they became ceremonially unclean, (same as if a man ejaculated) and could not join in worship at the Tabernacle, Synagogue or Temple until they took mikveh and evening came. The rabbis as with everything, took the directives even further, but that’s the basics.
I’ll be honest and say I don’t see YHWH coming down hard on the man for touching her – as in lovingly touching her. (His directives against intercourse is a bit different in wording and negative import). Yahweh is just saying that the man won’t be going to the tabernacle, or the synagogue for the day, in the same way that he wouldn’t if a loved one died and he had to take care of the funeral arrangements. This me think that, once the husband has touched the wife, maybe a good cuddle on the couch would be a really good option. You can’t go anywhere anyway! Sounds like perfect medicine to me. Of course, if He was a Levite, or he needed to go to the tabernacle for some reason, then, obviously, he wouldn’t touch his wife till his other obligations were over. And, she might just go to a set apart tent for the purpose of being separate until the bleeding was over. I don’t see that as a bad idea at all!
Science backs YHWH’s directions up … Christine Northrup, MD, who specializes in Women’s health has much to say about the connection between our hormonal cycles and our emotional and eventually physical health. The more we overlook the nudges that our hormones give us, in terms of taking care of ourselves, drawing us into introspection and inner heart work a week or so out of every month, the more likely we are to have increasingly bad PMS, Post Partum Depression, and eventually Menopause… And, if we ignore our body’s prompting to deal with our hearts on a regular basis, thru menses, Post partum down time, and menopause, we set ourselves up for an early death… Not to point fingers, or judge, but my grandma died at 63… so very young…
In Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, Dr Northrup writes; ” There is no doubt that premenstrually, many women feel more inward and more connected to their personal pain and the pain of the world. … During the premenstrual phase, we need time to be alone, time to rest, and time away from our daily duties, but taking this time is a new idea and practice for many women. … I think that majority of PMS cases would disappear if every modern woman retreated from her duties for three or four days each month and had her meals brought to her by someone else.”
Point being, based on YHWH’s directions and medical fact – if I disappear for a few days, in a few weeks, don’t be surprised to find me hanging out in a red tent up on some mtn… 😀
(okay, that’s completely wishful thinking as a full-time mom, but hey, one can dream – and think of realistic ways to slow down, rest, etc.)
Note, this post was begun back on the 3rd of September. It is not currently relevant, but I wanted to post it anyway – it’s therapy to finish up writing a thought, and edit for publishing to my blog. Hence the date stamp is for when it was begun, not finished.