How I Got My Flow Back
For most of my 20s, I didn’t get a period. I stood on the sidelines of the female community and watched — but I really had no desire to ask why. I figured that it would arrive when it was ready.
But then something shook my biological world: I watched my younger sisters start to have babies. I very quickly realized that Mother Nature had sent me a message, and it certainly wasn’t a love letter. Rather, it was a warning, a natural red flag, if you will, that what I was doing just wasn’t right.
I probably won’t be ready to have a baby (or two or three!) for at least a few years. But even if I decide never to get pregnant some day, wouldn’t I at least have the ability to make that choice for myself? I knew the time had come to listen to Mother Nature, and my own body, and make an honest attempt not just to get my period back, but to keep it running at a regular pace.
Here are some of the things that I believe heavily contributed to getting myself back on track:
I ate all the fat.
Instead of giving my veggies a steam bath, I decided to sauté them in coconut oil. I treated myself to creamy avocados, dark chocolate, and almond butter. My most decadent delights were macadamia nuts lightly roasted with sea salt.
Ironically, this didn’t cause me to pack on the pounds. Calorically (if you’re into that sort of thing) I was still taking in the same amount of energy a day, but I had substituted some fat where sugar had once been. This certainly told my lady parts that I would starve them no more, but I had no idea how much I was missing when it came to my skin, mood, and brain function.
I stopped freaking out.
From the time I was 16 until I was 27, I was juggling a highly stressful job in the fashion industry. My cortisol was through the roof, and I never felt like I could just sit back and let myself relax. My body was run down and working overtime.
Then I underwent a major shift in my professional life: I quit my job. Once I did that, a weight was lifted and I was finally able to take a deep breath.
I rested and recovered.
After a bunch of stellar running achievements, I started to feel a little stale. I got tired and wanted to reboot. But before I made the conscious choice to take an off-season, my body made one for me. I had a terrible string of injuries which cut my mileage from 70-85 miles a week to 0 miles a week.
But for the first time in years, I got my period back. And to my great surprise, it stuck around when as I gradually re-established my training.
What’s more, it has introduced a natural modification to my routine. Since my period returned, I have tuned into opting for one extra rest day – the day just before my period is scheduled to come. Sure enough, just like clockwork, it does.
I let go.
For a long time I had created and believed a personal myth that getting a period meant that I had to be an adult. Not having it made me feel like I was living in limbo, and that I could exist removed from the path to being a grown up. When I opened up to my partner about this, he was sympathetic and told me that I could finally stop worrying about all that stuff, and that getting my period would actually keep me young, healthy, and vital.
Then he bought me more ice cream, and I ate it.
It’s been almost a full year that I have had a monthly reminder that things are working just right. And unlike the common hyperbole equating menstruation with a “curse,” I’m thrilled every time I get it.
Just minutes before the recent solar eclipse, I got my period. The sky grew dark, but I saw the light: “OK, Mother Nature, you win. I’m sorry I ever tried to defy you.”