Category Archives: Menarche

Fierce body nourishment …

Fierce Body Nourishment: 5 gentle steps | Victoria Erickson

Choosing to nourish your body from the inside out should be a fiercely decisive choice, but never drastic or highly uncomfortable. In fact, it can actually be quite gentle in an extraordinarily powerful way…

Step 1: Listen to your cells.

It’s a curious thing, how we all are born into bodies that pulse with ancient wisdom yet we forget over time, how to listen to their subtle signals. We’ll follow countless programs and strict regimes in a grand attempt to navigate our way through self-care, yet physical and mental disease surrounding food still runs rampant because we are neglecting to listen.

Your body is constantly sending signals of physical or emotional distress to your mind, and vice versa. Rather than completely disregarding these whispers by using various numbing tactics, take the time to tune in and listen, as every cell is always speaking.

The body just knows.

Step 2: Think in terms of oneness, not separate parts.

“The part can never be well until the whole is well.” ~ Plato

See your body as the connected field of energy it is, rather than a fixed, material thing with separate parts. Everything that happens in one area of the body affects all other areas. Our emotions from all experiences become stored inside of our cell tissue, and if ignored early on, will only resurface later in one way or another, often more stubborn and concentrated.

Try and be mindful of your thoughts and notice if anything feels tight. The body wants to heal itself but often needs your light assistance.

Step 3: Remember that we are essentially nature.

We are not separate from the pulse and wisdom of the natural world as our bodies are always in direct connection with the energies of this planet. Every one of us mimics the earth with our daily and seasonal cycles, and we’re comprised of the very same elements.

Place your hands into soil to feel grounded. Wade in water to feel emotionally healed. Fill your lungs with fresh air to feel mentally clear. Raise your face to the heat of the sun and connect with that fire to feel your own immense power.

Step 4: Accept your body’s moods and fluctuations.

Our bodies are constantly changing. There are weeks when we’ll feel vibrant and alive. There are weeks when we’ll feel achy and stiff. We need to do the best we can with honoring ourselves each day by noticing what is happening without judgment, then continue to do all we can to re-balance and renew.

Step 5: Let the body love what it loves.

The body knows what it loves and what it loves most are gentle yet powerful things, same as the way we must care for it.

It loves things like the space between a look and a kiss. It loves things like the release of memory stirred from a scent. It loves rocking of any kind, slow rhythmic rocking it can sigh along with.

It loves the rise and fall of the sun’s comings and goings, constant and consistent in announcing days and nights. It loves other bodies, their skin, and hands and heartbeats.

It loves the curves of waves and sand underfoot. It loves the caress of cool sheets, intense pursuit, and silent solitude. It loves curiosity and goosebumps and song and virtue. It loves foods grown from the ground and fluid movement and rest. It loves to protect, to thrive, to harmonize, to taste and feel blessed.

…Our bodies are both wildly powerful and frighteningly vulnerable, reflective of our human souls.

Let’s honor, polish and carry them well, my friends, because fierce bodily nourishment is truly one of the greatest and most noble things ever worth fighting for.

~ Victoria Erickson posting on Rebelle Society
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Photo by Betes de Mode

☾ Katharine Krueger ~ Occupy Menstruation
Girls’ Empowerment and Coming of Age
Coming soon: Online Moms and Mentor Training
Visit to be notified

Toxicity, Cancer & Tampons

Toxicity, Cancer, and Tampons | Dr. Nicole Rivera

…. Thanks to Sarah Hannah Martin for asking the question, “Has anyone ever connected cervical cancer with having a cotton tampon full of chemicals sitting on your cervix for a few days a month? ” in response to the tampon rant post… Here is one article that I found in response. ~Elena

“This is a must read if you are a woman who uses tampons or pads! For the men, the use of tampons by your significant other can be limiting your ability to conceive a child so please read and then forward this… to friends and loved ones. They will appreciate it!

Let’s start with the basic truth, the fact that the mucosal lining of the vagina is one of the most sensitive and absorbent areas of the body. However, each month women expose themselves to a variety of hazards through the use of tampons. Tampons may contain many chemicals and pesticides from the process of Non-Organic farming. Five of the top nine most harmful pesticides are used on non-organic cotton farming in the U.S. These five pesticides include Cyanide, Dicofol, Naled, Propargite, and Trifluralin and are known to be CANCER-CAUSING Chemicals. Besides these cancer causing chemicals, almost all non-organic Tampons contain two additional things that are potentially harmful. These are rayon (for absorbency), and dioxin (a chemical used in bleaching the products).

Dioxin is a potentially harmful byproduct of the chlorine bleaching process used in making tampons. Dioxin, can disrupt hormones within the body, and can lead to very harmful problems for women. Dioxin is cancer causing as well as toxic to the immune and reproductive systems. It has been linked to endometriosis, cancer, and lower sperm counts for men. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that people exposed to high levels of dioxins may be at risk for a damaged immune system, increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and reduced fertility. The EPA reported that there is no set acceptable level of exposure to dioxin given that it is cumulative and slow to disintegrate. Do you think being exposed to dioxin 11,000 to 13,000 times is acceptable? Females use an average of 11,000 to 13,000 tampons during their lifetime. This amount of exposure to dioxin is extremely dangerous considering Dioxin is cancer causing, disrupting to your hormone balance, toxic to your immune, harmful to your reproductive system, and leads to diseases such as endometriosis and cancer.

The other harmful chemical in tampons is Rayon which is a highly absorbent substance that can remain on the vaginal walls. When fibers from the tampons are left behind in the vagina (as usually occurs), it creates a breeding ground for the dioxin. It also stays attached to the vaginal walls longer than it would with Organic cotton tampons as they don’t contain any dioxin or rayon. Organic All-cotton tampons do not produce the dangerous TSS (toxic shock syndrome) toxin, Staphylococcus aureus, but all other varieties of tampons containing rayon amplified production of the toxin TSS-T1. This includes tampax, Playtex, and OB. Think twice before buying the most well known brands of tampons!”


Image: Louise Daddona

Leaving this post on a more hopeful note, seaweeds are both an excellent food for our cycles and help remove toxins from our bodies ~Elena

☾ Elena Zubulake ~ Occupy Menstruation
Sweet Earth Wisdom

Tampons for young women

Occupy Menstruation
Tampons for young women? Ask Aunt Flo

Q: I’d like your advice on tampons! My daughter hasn’t started her periods yet, but she does love to swim and dance so she will need to use something like a tampon for those times. What would you recommend? I am rather concerned about TSS. Thanks.
~ Rachel, Pembrokeshire

A: Hi Rachel, thanks for your question, it’s one I get asked a lot!

It’s a tricky one as I like to encourage women to take gentle exercise when they are on their moontime- but I’m not a huge lover of using internals like tampons unless really necessary. I would suggest that at least for her first 6 months of flowing she stick to pads, just to give her and her body time to adjust to having her moontime, and see how she copes with it. It’s only a few days out of the month so hopefully she wont mind missing swimming on those occasions. A bit of fun dancing is fine in a pad – she could have a go at home to see how it feels to dance and flow!

Encourage her to tune into her body and see if she really feels like swimming or dancing at that time. Being kind to her self is whats needed- so maybe introduce her to yoga or take her for a stroll under the moonlight?

When she does feel the need for using something like tampons, maybe show her some Moon Sponges (you can get small sizes, ideal for young women) or one of the many menstrual cups that are on the market? There are no known cases of TSS from sponges or cups.

I am proud to say that my eldest (now 23 yr old) daughter has never used a tampon or even a sponge or cup, she just hasn’t had a need to use them even though she is fairly active, cycling about the city and doing Bikram Yoga!

You might like to read my Menarche book with her, it’s a workbook for mums and daughters, with lots of info on celebrating her first Moontime, what’s going on in her body, choices in sanitary wear and lots more! Hope this helps, love Aunt Flo xxx

~~ Aunt Flo is Rachael Hertogs, author of the book “Menarche: A Journey into Womanhood.” Available on amazon or get a signed copy directly from Rachael at

Community – In the wake of Camp Gyno, the pro-tampon (and sort of pro-bullying, but that’s another discussion…) ad that’s been viraling about, what do YOU think about tampons for pre-teens and teens?

What are your thoughts and stories and questions about how to help young women manage their flow?

☾ Katharine Krueger ~ Occupy Menstruation
Girls’ Empowerment and Coming of Age
Soon: Online Moms and Mentor Training
Visit to be notified

Supporting menstruation

Please Welcome Guest Columnist Elena Flores: Her First Post

What a beautiful time to start this new adventure as I start to bleed this month!

This in itself is so radical for me, to be so open about my body and my feelings about it.

Growing up, there was no talking about this ”stuff”. It feels like everything important about myself was swept under the rug and a avidly avoided. The conversation about the monthly moon cycles with my mom was never had. I learned bits and pieces from my grandma and friends, and mostly I learned alone.

I grew up thinking my moon cycle is something that should be hidden and ashamed of, the emotions coming up with each phase had to buried and not lived.

I hid my bleeding just as I hid my feelings and was afraid to look anyone into the eye, God forbid they find out.

I was afraid of the mess, I was afraid of the pain, I was afraid of the smell, I was afraid someone would know I am at that time of the month….

So much fear and worry about something so natural and beautiful.
Many of us still live in this world of shame and avoidance.

The monthly bleeding is just a nuisance we have to deal with, the bloating is just another reason to suck up our belly and deny who we are.

As I turned 30 I started to notice…
Important things were beginning as I started to bleed.

This was a powerful times of release and initiation. I started to read, I started to look up and be proud of being a woman.
Of being influenced by the moon cycles and being a wholesome part of the universe.

The wounds of the child and the young woman are healing and with it a new passion is born. A passion to share my journey with my daughter and all my sisters who are still looking down in shame. To learn and to educate about all the choices we don’t know we have.

And mostly a passion to connect with the mother and the maiden in me and to hear all the stories my mother never told me.

Love and Light,
Elena Flores, Guest Columnist

Art: “The Red Thread” by Lisa J. Rough

☾ Occupy Menstruation

In my grandmothers tradition

This is absolutely beautiful …


In My Grandmothers Tradition – A First Blood Story

“I was really young when I got my first period – a month after I turned nine. It was on a Sunday. I remember coming back into the house after playing outside for the afternoon with my sister – who, ironically enough, was almost 12 at the time she reading “Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret,” and eagerly awaiting her own “journey” into womanhood. I told my mom I’d be right back (my sister and I were supposed to set the table for dinner) because I really needed to go to the bathroom. On my way there, I realized that something was going on down there that had never gone on before. I didn’t need to pee, but something was leaking out of me. When I pulled down my pants I saw a huge brown stain and began screaming for my mom and aunt.

They asked me to tell that what was wrong (it’s considered very rude to disturb a Filipino woman while she’s cooking), but I couldn’t for the life of me get the words out. My aunt showed up first, looked down at me, and said something in Tagalog ( I think the word was “Hisos!,” which means “Oh my God!”), and ran for my mother. Mom walked in thirty seconds later and flipped out. She had absolutely no idea how to handle the situation – I mean, the entire household was awaiting my sister, Chloe’s first menstruation, and there I was, barely nine years old, the baby girl of the family, just bleeding away.

So while I’m hanging out on the toilet and my aunt and mother are just looking at each other figuring out what to say or do, the absolute worst possible thing happened: my dad came home and called out, “Where is everybody? What’s going on?” My father is a great guy and all, but he was the type of dad who didn’t believe in hugs or show affection. He farted out the melodies of songs and sang Frank Sinatra’s “I Did it My Way” at the top of his lungs in the shower. My mother called him the typical “immature, machismo, unrefined Filipino boy.” So when he showed up I wasn’t thrilled. My mom yelled something at him in Tagalog and he did three things: appeared in the doorway, laughed at me for two seconds, and went about his business. I was so embarrassed.

While my highly religious aunt went to go pray for my soul or something, my mom put me in the bathtub, washed me down there, and prepared some underwear. She showed me how to use a pad, and took me into the garage for a “Chinese ritual” (my Mom’s father was Chinese and she practiced a lot of the superstitions). What happened next was the strangest thing: she made me jump down a flight of three steps, over and over again. She said that it would make my period last three days or something.

I remember thinking I was going through the single most unique and crazy period experience. Now when I look back on it, I think it’s kinda cool because it was, for lack of a better word…multi-cultural. But at the time, I wanted nothing more than to be an American girl experiencing the American version of a first menstruation.”

Story from a WMNS36 (Women’s and Gender Studies) Seminar (Spring, 1998) project at Kenyon College.

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Photo: Lemuelin Christ

☾ Elena Zubulake ~ Occupy Menstruation
Sweet Earth Wisdom

5 tips to discuss menstruation with your daughter


With some girls starting their period as young as 9, moms need to start having the period conversation early. But it can be an awkward subject to discuss, let alone just bring up out of the blue! Here’s some advice from Circle of Moms members on how to start talking to andpreparing your daughter for her period.

Keep reading.

1. Start Talking Early, and Talk Often

As one Circle of Moms member, Deanna J., points out, bathroom privacy for moms is a luxury. At some point, your child is likely to wander in while you’re changing a sanitary pad or hunting for tampons. That’s the moment to start talking to your daughter.

Several moms note that while starting the conversation can be tough, it’s easier once you get going. Pam B. says menstruation is part of growing up and suggests talking about how it is natural and a sign that your daughter’s body is changing (and will ultimately look more like yours) will put it in context for your daughter.

2. Be Age-Appropriate, Not Evasive

It isn’t uncommon to get caught off guard and unprepared to talk, as mom Cindy S. was when her 8-year-old was in the bathroom with her. She skipped the specifics “other then it happens once a month” and showed her daughter the feminine hygiene products she uses.

Brittany T. has already starting talking to her 4-year-old about “big girl” things without lying or misleading her. “I explain to her in a way that I feel is age appropriate,” she says.

Both mothers have the right idea. Speaking more generally with younger children is better than giving them more information than they can process. The most important thing is to tell them something honest; being evasive adds a sense of secrecy that can make you and your daughter uncomfortable.

Circle of Moms member Laura C.’s  philosophy is: “If they are old enough to ask then they deserve a truthful answer.” She has been answering her preadolescent daughter’s questionssince she was 5.

3. Look For “Teachable Moments”

Those questions are “teachable moments.” In the classroom, a teachable moment happens when an ideal situation arises in which to teach a concept or reinforce an idea. Teachable moments happen in real life, too. Grab on to them when you can! Leeann G. says she and her 11-year-old daughter have had dozens of “mini discussions” that often happen while watching TV or movies.

With the number of tampon ads on kids’ TV channels and sexual content on shows you might not expect, there are plenty of opportunities to open a discussion with your daughter. It can happen as simply as asking her, “Do you know what product that commercial was selling?”

4. Ask Questions

Once puberty approaches, it’s time to talk more seriously. While some girls start developing breasts as early as 8, most seem to do so between the ages of 9 and 11. Many Circle of Moms members suggest talking to girls in this age range in very simple terms, explaining that soon she will begin to menstruate or “get her period” and to discuss what that means practically as well as what’s happening physically.

It’s possible she already knows more than you think, but don’t assume what she knows is correct. Asking her what she already knows can help you avoid some of the eye-rolling and “Mo-om, I already know that!” reactions so common with preteen girls. It also gives you the chance to correct information she’s gotten wrong or, as Circle of Moms member Farrah A. puts it, catch her “before [she] gets different versions and becomes confused.”

5. Answer Unasked Questions

Quite a few Circle of Moms members rue that they never had a “period talk” with their own mothers and wish they had known more about what was happening to them. Your daughter will wonder a lot, too, but may not feel comfortable asking about what she’s truly wondering. Opening up a dialogue about your own experiences can help draw out her unasked questions. Here are some ways to do this:

“Sometimes I get cramps and . . .”
“When I was your age, I started my period at school. What would you do if that happened?”
“A lot of young girls keep a calendar because when your period starts, it’s not always that regular.”

How did you prepare your daughter for her period?