"I suppose I never thought that I would regard the menstrual cycle, and the female reproductive system to be up there as well because it is amazing. I mean when was the last time you cleaned behind your ears, never mind creating a cocoon fit for new life to be conceived and nurtured"
Growing up, I was a bit of a late bloomer. I was incredibly small, like super small with my full-sized adult teeth. My teachers would always say that my smile lit up the room, maybe that was just because my smile took up 68% of my size. I can laugh about it now because my body caught up with my smile and thank God at least I am in proportion. I remember sitting in my year 5 classroom during our living and growing (sex education) lesson as we spoke about the female reproductive system. I don’t know which bit was more confusing, the fact that their words and diagrams made no sense or the fact that one day it was going to happen to me.
"you get to the point where you attempt to read your body like you’re doing a weather forecast"
We may not be in year 5 anymore, but I can tell you, I don’t know one woman who has got it down. Some people like to skydive, swim with sharks and bungee jump because they live for the adrenaline. I would like to see them try wearing a dress, anything white, nice underwear, sleeping on a bed at the end of your monthly cycle, talk about adrenaline. I have known women pack and prepare for periods like they are going on a SAS missions trip with pads, tampons, moon cups, bath bombs, soothing music, hot water bottles, as well as a cocktail of Superdrug's finest pain killers. May the odds forever be in your favour my sister! Sooner or later, you get to the point where you attempt to read your body like you’re doing a weather forecast. Like a weather forecast, they are mostly right, but on occasion, a hurricane hits from nowhere.
This post is a light-hearted introduction into a crucial part of a woman’s life aimed to educate women on what is going on with your body and to educate men on how great God made us women. It is my pleasure to introduce the menstrual cycle (a.k.a. period). Just before I go into the science, I want you to have this simple imagery in your head. It is like a blank piece of paper, as you know, that paper can be drawn on, can be made into a boat or a paper aeroplane. The paper in this analogy is a combination of the egg, the thick uterine wall, and the hormones associated with the reproductive system. When nothing is done with the paper after 4 weeks, then the paper is scrunched up and thrown into the bin. The process of scrunching up the paper is the period. Does this make sense?
Your body goes through a hormonal cycle. And at specific concentrations of these hormones, other hormones are triggered. The stars of the show are Oestrogen, Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Luteinising hormone (LH) and Prostaglandins.
Let’s begin after the last day of your cycle. The old paper has officially been scrapped, and a new one must be put in its place. To do this, your body relies on a specific sequence of the hormones mentioned above, beginning with Gonadotropin-releasing hormone which is secreted from the hypothalamus in the brain. This triggers the release of hormones called FSH and LH in the pituitary gland. These steps are important in the reproductive systems of both males and females. FSH ripens the follicles in the woman’s ovaries. You must be thinking, ‘what the heck is a follicle?’ ‘I thought I had eggs in my ovaries’. Well, follicles are small fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries that have the potential to ripen (with the help of FSH) and to release an egg at ovulation. Mind blown; I know.
The magic continues as these hormones dance around each other to produce something which is out of this world. Or out of this womb (insert laughter). As a human race, we have seen some of the greatest creative and mathematical minds design and construct the most amazing bridges and buildings. I suppose I never thought that I would regard the menstrual cycle, and the female reproductive system to be up there as well because it is amazing. I mean when was the last time you cleaned behind your ears, never mind creating a cocoon fit for new life to be conceived and nurtured. This system is another example of great design and ingenuity, and I don’t know about you, but it makes me consider the great designer.
"Someone essentially did ctrl alt delete on her uterine wall."
I must mention something. The process of scrunching up the piece of paper is better described as a demolition site. I have watched enough grand design episodes to know that demolition doesn’t just involve the breaking down of the unused structures, but also clearing up to make way for something new. As you can imagine, this is a very painful process. So painful in fact that it can leave some women bed-bound, not because they are not strong enough, but because someone essentially did ctrl alt delete on her uterine wall. Some women experience PMS (premenstrual syndrome). In my own experience, sometimes it feels like you’re being stabbed by a knife; repeatedly. You’re tired, constipated, spotty and all you want is a hug. But you have to get on with your life. You have to go to work, school, keep healthy relationships and be a nice human being. All of which seems like a chore sometimes. But guess what, we have next month to try again if this month doesn’t go so well.
All of this is to say, God really did fashion women to be special. We were not only made to be carriers and nurtures of children but also to be ones who are strong and resilient. If we can learn anything from our wombs, it is that sometimes, when things are out of season, and they have met their expiry date in your life, its okay to tear it down; because there is something new for you.
See you on the next post.