Honoring Menstruation

I have debated in mind whether or not I should share this post, but when a thought doesn’t leave my heart, that’s when I know it is good and true, and that I should voice my thoughts.

Something wonderful happened in our family this past week. Our oldest daughter began menstruation. After school on Wednesday, our son Elijah barged through the front door and shouted “Mom! Mom! Oli has a surprise to share!! Your going to love this!!” He held the door open for his sister who was beaming from ear to ear and shared “Mom…..I started my period!!!!” Her older brother had his arm around her and was likewise beaming! All of her younger siblings gathered around to hear how she was feeling and looked at her with admiration. Kawika came home from work, and that’s when the celebration became exponentially louder and happier.

Upon coming home, she ran downstairs to fetch her handmade Days for Girls kit she had been anxiously awaiting to use. We gathered together as a family and celebrated her entering into another beautiful phase of womanhood where her body was showing her that she has the potential to one day be a mother herself (God willing) through which she would nurture and influence for good.

The reactions of her father, older brother, and younger siblings were priceless. They looked at her with an added level of respect, and she felt proud to be a girl.

I am sharing this for many reasons, but mainly to illustrate what I feel to be one of the greatest gifts we can give young women today, that is to cultivate “life-culture.”

I have recently been engaged in discussions surrounding abortion, a topic I am very sensitive to and which I am very vocal about. My thoughts on the issue mainly focus on this one idea that we as families, communities, and societies have a responsibility to elevate motherhood and matriarchy.

No woman wakes up one morning and says, “Today, I want to have an abortion!” This path is chosen by many because our families, communities, and societies have utterly failed them in creating “life-culture.”

What’s the solution? We must all do our part to regenerate life-culture so young girls growing up have a broad safety net of care and compassion so as to choose nonviolent paths for themselves. Currently, far too many societies perpetuate the lie that education, and meaningful work are at odds with motherhood. Essentially, that care-work is not work. This is a lie.

In a more matriarchal society, this would not be so. Women would be honored in ALL their roles, and motherhood and care-work would be central to the very foundation of that society. Men and women would work interdependently to abundantly offer up their unique and welcomed contributions.

Life-culture means that fathers care with tenderness and respect their daughters, wives, and mothers. It means that brothers rejoice and support their sisters as their bodies do incredible things for humanity’s sake. It means that men honor women and women honor men and the notion of human commodification is expelled from among us. Life-culture means that mothers collectively uplift and carry one another when our modern culture would have us at odds with, or competing against, each other. It means that neighborhoods are centered on families, and children are viewed as “the flowers that beautify the garden.” Life-culture means that “care-work” is understood and upheld to be the critical life sustaining work that it is.

For our female bodies to do what they do (that is, create life and nurture it to maturity), there is a very real level of sacrifice and vulnerability. This reality is why so many women reject this process even when it has already begun within them. If there is a collective grassroots elevation and respect of this very essential care-work, this process would be celebrated and women would be empowered enough to never seek to sever their biological ties to themselves and future generations. Women wouldn’t be shackled to the isolation and despair that comes from the violence that is abortion. Women would truly be emancipated.

dsc_5040-1-1 Carolina Allen, Founder of Big Ocean