Is it that time of month? Aunt Flo come to visit? You must be on your period!
We’ve all heard it. And yes, sometimes we do feel a little more irritable during our period, but sometimes it’s just life, and sometimes the other person is just being a jerk! Needless to say, we’ve all heard this said before, but do we believe it ourselves? And what about the mood fluctuations? Are we going crazy? Thankfully, that’s a no! And we have lovely people like women’s reproductive health and fertility coach Zahra Haji to help remind us that we’re not psycho, we’re cyclical.
In honor of International Women’s Day (March 8th) Zahra is hosting a webinar on that very subject and is aiming to start a movement inspiring thousands of women to change their Facebook status to: “I’m not psycho, I’m cyclical, period.” or use #NotPsychoPeriod on Twitter.
We checked in with Zahra ahead of the day to ask he about her own personal story and inspiration behind Not Psycho Period, what advice she has for responding to the tired old period-blaming, and what benefits everyone, including non-menstruators, can receive from becoming more period-positive.
When did you first realize that you’re not “psycho” but cyclical?
Zahra: It was in 2006 when I first found Dr. Christiane Northrup’s book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom that I found out out our psyches and our menstrual cycles were intimately connected. That it was normal for us to party hard and get a ton of work done for half the month and then want stay home clean, organize and read self-help books for the second half. For so long I questioned whether something was wrong with me because I would change like this every month from bright and sunny to dark and reflective. When I finally got how my hormones worked – it was like wow – I’m not psycho, I’m cyclical! I honestly couldn’t believe there was nothing wrong with me.
We may know it’s natural, but society is slow to catch up (that’s hopefully changing!). What’s your suggestion for the best response when friends or family say the stereotypical “you must be on your period!” or that you’re PMS-ing?
The first line of defence is knowing how your body works. I mean I was 31 before I really understood when ovulation took place and what cervical mucus was! There is something magical that happens for women when they realize how their hormones harmonize with the waves of the ocean and the phases of the moon. Because we’re not linear, we’re beautifully cyclical. There is real power in this knowledge. When more women embrace their feminine power it will be easy for the cultural conversations around periods to change. I’m seeing it happen naturally amongst the young daughters of my friends.
It’s International Women’s Day on the 8th but what do you hope everyone (including men!) will take away from more period awareness?
That we’re not psycho, we’re cyclical, period! I want to teach women what they never learned about their hormones and their cycles on March 8th so they too can realize there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them. In fact, there is real power in working with your hormones rather than against them. And that in working with your hormones you can solve your period problems whether that’s uncontrollable mood swings, constant fatigue, painful, debilitating periods or even deeper hormonal health challenges like infertility, PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis and amenorrhea – when you heal your relationship with your womb you begin to heal the root of these painful conditions.
Are men and non-menstruators invited to the webinar as well?
Why not! I actually think men are our biggest allies in this conversation. Whenever I meet a man and I tell him what I do he asks me if I will talk to his wife/girlfriend/sister because men can easily see how our emotions ebb and flow. Once we’re able to articulate what’s happening for us, the men in our lives will be so relieved because now we’ll understand why we’re not the same all the time. In realizing and embracing our cyclical nature we can finally relax into our natural flow. And who doesn’t want that?