The first post in this series entitled Women are Bleeding Out received a huge response. It obviously touched a tender spot with many women. It has inspired me to continue writing on this topic.
The big question that came up to discuss is why are women bleeding out? What are the causes of this tendency for women to bleed too much?
There are many reasons I see and I would love to hear any of your insights on this as well in the comments. I do invite you, however, to pay attention to how you feel while reading this article. I list quite a number of sources of excessive menstrual bleeding, many of which are quite traumatic. I suggest that you connect with the beauty, comfort, and pleasure in your surroundings and in your body before you read on and commit to taking a pause to reconnect with that beauty, comfort, and pleasure if you feel yourself starting to get tense, anxious, fatigued, emotional, or numb.
The reasons women are bleeding out fall into several overlapping categories: physical, social, emotion, and spiritual. I will start with the physical reasons, but as you will see, there are no sharp lines between these categories.
1: Commercial menstrual products have been deliberately laced with substances that cause women to bleed more in order to create more profits for those companies. These are toxic substances that are absorbed through the skin and women's bodies do their best to eliminate them by bleeding more. For more information on this, please see a blog written by a naturopath I interviewed recently: https://www.goddessceremony.com/post/2018/10/03/its-time-to-throw-out-the-pads-and-tampons
2: Women are exhausted. In today's world, women are expected to work just as hard as men professionally as well as bear children, and all of the other unrecognized labor of household management that most men are taught to expect women to do. Every month, women's wombs swell up to three times their normal size with blood. This puts a lot of pressure on an already tired and very likely nutrient deprived womb. The muscle can't keep the blood vessels shut so bleeding happens when it is not supposed to. And then it is too fatigued to close again when the bleeding is supposed to stop.
3: Rest is not a socially condoned option. This one overlaps into the social reasons for the physicality of this phenomenon, as does the previous reason. Most women who I tell to go on complete bed rest when they are bleeding to keep from bleeding too much and give their body the rest it needs look at me like I am crazy. There are just too many jobs women are responsible for in their lives that seem essential and that there is nobody else to take over if they rest.
4: Chronic low grade trauma to the womb is something all women are affected by in the patriarchal society. And then, on top of that, huge percentages of women are survivors of acute traumas to the womb like sexual assault/abuse, sexual harassment, domestic violence, emotional abuse, invasive surgical procedures, miscarriage, abortion, and birth trauma. Our wombs can actually become open bleeding wounds.
5: Women often respond to this chronic and acute trauma by fawning on their abusers/everyone to somehow make the abuse stop by being the best wife, mother, daughter, employee, community member. The fawn response has been added to the list of stress responses, fight, flight, freeze, and fawn, in recognition of how people in abusive situations respond with selfless devotion to their abusers. This is a powerful coping strategy, especially for young children who are powerless to change their situation. I feel many women adopt this approach to the ongoing trauma of living in a patriarchal society, As the trauma is all encompassing, it feel inescapable. So women pour all of their energies into serving everyone else first, chasing after some recognition, some appreciation, that never comes. This pouring out of energies is directly reflected in the womb with the pouring out of too much blood.
6: As part of the patriarchal oppression of women, education about menstruation and what is healthy has been strongly suppressed and twisted. The source reason for this is to disempower women. Menstruation is a source of great power, the power to create new life. Suppressing this power through mythologies that portray it as a source of shame is very effective at disempowering women. Why and for whom it was and continues to be economically, politically, and socially advantageous to disempower women is a topic for another time. Suffice it to say, the information women receive from their parents, schools, and doctors is all part of this systematic oppression and disempowerment, perpetuating the unwellness that often results in women bleeding too much.
7: Dismissing, ignoring, and invalidating women's suffering, illness, and pain is central to the systematic oppression and disempowerment of women discussed above. It is much more acceptable for women to be in pain, suffering greatly day in and day out, than it is for men to be so. Hormonal birth control options for women are a prime example of this phenomenon. There are countless severe side effects that women are expected to simply bear, often without even being told about them. Yet, any attempts at creating a birth control pill for men fail, because each one submitted for approval by the FDA gets denied because they have some side effects.
8: Information about gentle, safe, low cost remedies for excessive menstrual bleeding has been vigorously suppressed for the reasons discussed above. In fact, the keepers of this wisdom have been violently persecuted for thousands of years. This process has been central to the implementation and maintenance of the patriarchal system. Even today, herbalists, midwives, doulas, and intuitive healers must struggle to gain recognition, swimming against the powerful currents of medical mythology that have been crafted to vilify their work.
9: Many women have internalized these systems of oppression and will defend them vehemently, to their own detriment. To do otherwise is a threat to the core of their identity. Awakening to how we have been complicit in these systems of oppression is deeply painful and our psyches will readily protect us by convincing us otherwise. So even when women are presented with information about how they can heal from excessive bleeding, they will often simply go back to business as usual, suffering in silence. Dissociation is central I feel to our ability to do this. We leave our bodies when we are in disempowered pain. We learn to do this as children, often never fully occupying our bodies in the first place. This makes whatever pain we are in seem like it is happening to someone else. We are numb. In this way we can carry on amidst great pain.
10: Because of the patriarchal oppression of women, many are struggling with economic disadvantages. In the US where I live, medical health care is extremely expensive for most people in any economic bracket besides the top 1% who own most of the wealth. So most women who struggle to pay their insurance bill every month just to ensure that they will have emergency medical care if they ever need it cannot afford to then pay for consultations with herbalists, naturopaths, and acupuncturists on top of that. This is the most common reason I hear for why women don't seek out the holistic support they know is available to them.
These are the top reasons I feel so many women are bleeding out. And why it seems so difficult to find remedies for this state of affairs. These are also the reasons I feel strongly that focusing our attention on empowering women to reclaim their menstrual power, coming back into balance and vital well being is deeply revolutionary. When the women of any community are healthy and well, the whole community benefits. May we find the wisdom and support we need to implement whatever action we feel called to make to these ends. And so it is.
I would love to hear any insights this article brings up for you in the comments below.
Sama founded the Womb Centered Healing Temple in 2018 as a collaborative space to support people of all genders to learn about the importance of our experiences in and of the womb, heal the wounds inflicted on all of us by the womb abuse and suppression of patriarchy, and reclaim the power of the traditions of womb reverence that predate the patriarchal system. Together we can remember, re-activate, and re-establish our Womb Power as our center of personal power and inner guidance that will correct the course of humanity away from self destruction towards harmonious communion and belonging in the ecology of life.
She is offering the first round of the Bio-Mystical Womb Apprenticeship program, mostly to women on full scholarship as case study participants in her book writing project, in service to the intentions stated above. To learn more about the program, visit this page: https://www.samamorningstar.com/bio-mystical-womb-healing-apprentic