The Female Reproductive System
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With many fertility rites of spring upon us, let’s take some time to discuss the female reproductive system. This article is geared toward women, but I urge men to give it a chance, you have a role in this topic.
What comes to mind when you think of the female reproductive system? Blood? Childbirth? Pain? Mystery? Shame?
With the help of a seed, women create life, grow life and birth life. Life. Giving birth may be common, but always remarkable. It never ceases to amaze when we experience the continuation of the species. We know from nature that nothing is always good and nothing is always bad. Nature requires balance. With the wonderment of birth comes blood and pain.
Another attribute of the female reproductive system, in humans, is mystery and thus shame. While mystery can be intriguing and exciting, the unknown often leads to fear, misunderstanding and shame.
In terms of medical sciences, the female reproductive system has only recently been discovered. Much of what we know about how a woman’s reproductive system works only dates back to the 1800s, when J. Marion Sims performed mad experiments on female slaves, often without anesthetics. Oddly, doctors were creating complex vaccinations for smallpox before they understood the uterus that brought them into the world. How could such a basic bodily function be avoided for so long by the medical community?
A common trait of Pagans is an openness to sexuality, nudity and the human body. Let’s make sure we include our reproductive abilities as well. Observing and commenting on the reproductive system with knowledge and respect for the mysteries can prevent the fear, shame and misunderstanding that promotes disrespect. Our menstrual cycles are not a curse but a natural part of an amazing ability.
So far this spring I have watched a cat birth six kittens and a sheep nurse her newborn lamb, the experiences were amazing, even though they ate the placentas! Nature doesn’t know shame or disgust, it follows it’s course and lives in harmony with whatever life throws it’s way.
Here are some ways we can change the tone to respect for the female reproductive system.
• Check your rhetoric. Despite the cramps, discomfort, and inconvenience that comes with a woman’s period, consider it a badge of honor. Be honest with how you feel, without over dramatizing.
• Learn your cycle. A menstrual lunar calendar is easy to make and even easier to buy.
• Be gentle with yourself. When you understand your cycle, you will begin to notice patterns associated with your cycle and how you feel emotionally and physically. Use this time as an opportunity to pamper yourself.
• Keep an open line of communication with your sons and daughters about their reproduction systems and allow them to ask questions without embarrassment, fear or shame. Acknowledge awkward situations instead of shying away from them. A little humor and lightheartedness goes a long way.
• Give your daughters a maidening. A maidening is a coming of age ritual for girls who begin their period and are entering into womanhood. Maidenings usually consists of a ritual and female bonding with women in your close circle of family, friends and spiritual leaders sharing personal experiences and knowledge of womanhood with the young lady. Allowing her to ask questions and talk openly about her fears and concerns. This is a good time to dismiss myths. Sons can also experience a similar rite of passage with the men in their life, once puberty comes. Sometime a camping trip is involved to further male bonding, time for talk about manhood and a ritual honoring his transition.