Honouring my cycle and reconnecting with the Divine Feminine
For the majority of my adult life, I have used hormonal contraception. I tried almost every method available and read a lot about and experienced many side effects of those various methods.
I’ve been on the contraceptive pill for almost 15 years with little stints of other methods in between, like the ring, or short breaks from contraception.
When my last relationship started I was in one of those breaks and determined not to go back on the pill. Too many hormones had already been put into my body for too long. I was 30 and with no desire to get pregnant, after a lot of research, I opted for the hormonal IUD, also known as Mirena or coil.
A small T shaped device, made of some flexible rubber like material, which is inserted into the uterus and stays there for up to 5 years. It has the lowest dose of hormones that I could find at the time compared to other methods and although I really didn’t want more hormones, it seemed like the best option.
The hormones in the pill control your ovaries and uterus by preventing ovulation (making the body believe it is already pregnant!) and thickening the mucus on the cervix. No ovulation means there is no egg available to be fertilised by sperm, so pregnancy can’t happen. And thicker mucus means sperm can’t enter the uterus, so it can’t reach any possible eggs that might have been released ‘accidentally’. In most cases, you take it for 3 weeks and during the 1-week break, you have your period.
The hormones in the Mirena don’t prevent ovulation, but they also thicken the mucus of the cervix. On top of that, it thins the lining of the uterus. This is how menstrual bleeding is suppressed: basically, the body has nothing to shed.
In a normal menstrual cycle, the body prepares for pregnancy by building up lining in the uterus, so that a fertilised egg can easily attach to the lining and get comfy there, ready to be nurtured by the body, by that higher natural intelligence, into a full grown baby, all without our conscious effort or input. When pregnancy does not occur, the lining of the uterus is shed and released together with the menstrual blood.
When I chose to have the IUD inserted, I didn’t care much about these things, I was just happy to have found the option with the lowest hormonal impact on my body and if I wasn’t going to have periods - even better, from a. practical point of view.
However, a lot has changed for me personally since then and the idea to interfere that much with nature is simply not sitting well with me anymore. After 3.5 years, the time had finally come to remove all external hormones and foreign objects from my body and let it go back to its natural state.
I’ve been in India now since the start of lockdown in March and the thought of removing the IUD already came to me before I left the UK, however I thought I’d be gone for just 6 months or so and I’ll just get it removed when I’m back home. Little did I know that India would become my home and with no plans of returning to Europe anytime soon, I figured it was time to look at options to have this removed while I’m here.
In Rishikesh, we had such a great community going throughout the lockdown and Monsoon season. There were yoga classes, workshops of all kinds, women’s circles, cacao ceremonies and so much more. I asked in one of the women’s WhatsApp groups if - by chance - anyone had experience with having an IUD removed here in Rishikesh or close by. And indeed one girl gave me a lead: the name of a doctor and hospital where she had her IUD removed just a month earlier.
I sat on that information for some time.
One day, I went to see an Ayurvedic doctor for a general consultation. I wanted to know my dosha and any other information he could ‘diagnose’. One of the first things this doctor told me is that I think too much.
Tell me something I don’t know ha ha.
That wasn’t news to me… Some other interesting stuff came up and so I went to one of my favourite spots in Rishikesh for lunch and a massage, to let this all sink in and digest - as you do.... That pressure point massage turned out to be incredibly painful I must say, physically and emotionally. Sure stuff came up and was released but what really blew my mind was this: At the end of the massage and with no way of knowing, the guy asked me if I had any issues with my period. I said that I haven’t had one in years because of this IUD and he said, “ah yes, that’s why you have all this tension in your hip area!”
Excuse me? Come again? Mind blown!
So I finally booked an appointment with the doctor and went to see her full of hope that this will be a straight forward procedure. Basically just open up and pull it out. Every IUD has threads attached to it for this exact purpose. In a normal case, when the time comes, a doctor can easily just pull on the threads and the IUD will come out with minimal discomfort and no need for any narcotics.
The threads of my IUD unfortunately were cut too short when it was inserted and had retracted into the cervix. They were nowhere to be felt or seen.
The only way hence to have this removed, was to undergo minor surgery. When the doctor told me that this was required and gave me a list of 7 tests I would have to have done, before they would be able to operate, I thought ‘maybe now is not the time’. So I just left the hospital. In that moment it just didn’t feel like the effort would be worth it.
Then I kind of forgot about it again for a while. 10 days later I flew down to Goa. Me and my friends all had been in Rishikesh for a while and wanted to see something different. I was missing the ocean and the beach so badly. Even back home in Edinburgh, the beach is not far from my place and I always enjoyed a stroll along the Porty Promenade after work or at the weekend.
I had no intention of returning to Rishikesh anytime soon and pushed this IUD thing to the back of my mind. Only 2 weeks later, a number of people called me back to Rishikesh to join a 300 hour Kundalini yoga teacher training. Initially I just said, thanks for thinking of me, but I’m good. When those messages kept coming, I eventually listened and thought, ok, let me go with the flow. I have always loved Kundalini Yoga with Jenny on a Friday night at my favourite studio in Edinburgh, Calm on Canning Street, so learning more about it and being able to teach it seemed like a great opportunity. 3 days later I was on the plane, heading back North to the Yoga Capital of the World.
During the TTC, thoughts about removing the Mirena came back to my mind. I was talking about it with a few people around me too, and slowly slowly they were getting bored of listening to me going on about this topic but doing nothing about it.
I guess maybe I was waiting for a sign to give me the final nudge I needed to proceed.
And in Rishikesh, if you ask for something, you will get it. The energy in this place is incredible that way. Your spoken word sometimes manifests quicker than you can say ‘Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung’ (the longest German word I could come up with just now).
The sign I received was in form of a small blood blister that I obtained by accidentally pinching the skin on the tip of my little finger. It looked like a small drop of blood just sitting there. And I thought ok… I’ll take it.
On top of that I met up with my Kundalini teacher from the TTC a little while after the course had finished and just a few days after this blister came. I told her about my situation and when she heard that I’ve not had a period in 3.5 years she immediately declared that I should get it removed asap! That was exactly what I needed. Someone to give me that final push.
This meeting was on a Saturday, the following Monday or Tuesday I was back in the hospital to get the blood tests done. Turned out to be not that much of a big deal really. Then, with test results in my hand, I booked another appointment with the doctor and she was happy to see me again after a couple of months and just asked if I was ready to proceed now. I said yes, I’m ready, and she booked me in for the minor surgery three days later.
I was admitted to the hospital for daycare and under full general anaesthesia, the doctor performed a Hysteroscopy, a procedure where they use a hysteroscope, a thin tube that is inserted into the cervix to examine the cervix and inside of the uterus. What she found was that the IUD had attached to one side of the uterus and was stuck there. Luckily she still managed to remove it (with a little force I guess, but what do I know, I was somewhere in dream land…) and the overall procedure went to plan with no complications.
When I woke up from the general anaesthesia, the first thing I asked was if I could please see the IUD and if I could keep it. I needed to see it with my own eyes that it had been removed and also wanted to capture photographic evidence!
The next day I woke up and I felt so energised. I haven’t had that much energy in a while and the delight to be free of hormones and foreign objects was something else. Within a couple of days I felt less bloated too. I was back to my morning yoga practice and I felt more flexible in my twists and enjoyed the flow of movement so much.
Later that day, I’m browsing around the shops in Rishikesh and one of the shop owners starts asking me the typical questions like ‘where are you from’, ‘what’s your name’ and so on. He tells me that he’s an astrologer and asks for my name. Not expecting much, I tell him my name. He does some sort of calculation on his hand and then starts telling me my prophecy. One of the first sentences that comes out of his mouth: ‘your health wasn’t so good recently, but now it’s good again’. Can you imagine me standing there a little gobsmacked, one day after IUD removal, some random person telling me that now my health is good again?
I mean you can believe in these things or not, but for me it was just another message from the universe that it was the right thing to do.
The next day I catch up with a friend and he says ‘you look different’. And I’m thinking ‘really? Is it that obvious?’
I am beyond excited to get back in touch with my natural cycle and understand myself better. Before the removal, because I never got my period, I never knew at which point in my cycle I was. So any mood swings or breakouts seemed completely random to me and most importantly not predictable.
Reading up on the natural stages of a cycle, I came across a number of articles (see list at the bottom), explaining that the four weeks in a cycle can be viewed as seasons and how to utilise them to fully tune into your Devine Feminine power and harness your strengths at different points in your cycle.
Decades and centuries ago, ancient tribes used to see a woman’s monthly bleeding as a sacred event and provided so called ‘Moon Huts’ where women could spend the first few days of their periods in seclusion to be able to harness their spiritual power in the most optimal way. Women are prone to absorb energy at all times, but especially during those first few days of the period, they are seen as even more receptive. To protect them from unnecessary negative energies, this safe environment is created for them. Women’s cycles would very often synchronise with the cycle of the moon, hence why these huts were called Moon Huts and periods sometimes are called Moon Time or Moon Cycle.
It is for similar reasons that women were originally not allowed into temples when they were menstruating. Because there is a lot of energy in temples being emitted by the place itself as well as the people who come to visit and pray there. And this energy is upward flowing in nature, lifting people up closer to the higher realms. This is a direct contradiction to the downward flowing, grounding energy that a woman experiences during her period. To avoid this conflicting energy flow - for the comfort of the woman - they would refrain from visiting temples during those days.
Unfortunately this explanation is not well known anymore these days. Any woman who has visited Asian countries is likely to have come across this rule that she is not allowed to enter the temple if she is on her period. But the explanation would most likely have been very different. Usually there’s some narrative around blood being impure and that being the reason why she can’t go inside. Not to bring impurity into the sacred temple.
How the world has changed…
Now I am not saying that when I get my next period, I will suddenly have supernatural powers and become psychic and predict the future, BUT what I am really looking forward to is being able to predict mood swings before they happen. In that way, I will be able to communicate with the people close to me, ask for their understanding and also be more aware and conscious of my own actions, reactions and behaviour.
So much gratitude for the Divine for sending me the signs and nudges I needed to proceed, in moments of doubt, and so much gratitude for my body and the way it has been dealing with all that stuff I’ve been putting it through. Enough is enough. Now we’re back to natural ways and I couldn’t be happier.
Here are some of the articles on the energetic and spiritual meaning of your period and how you can harness the different stages of your cycle to your advantage:
With much love and light,