Australian folksinger, "period preacher," author and educator Lucy Peach, is a fierce advocate for period positivity and a firm believer in the power that truly understanding your menstrual cycle can yield.
In this Q&A, Lucy touches on how she links each phase of the menstrual cycle to a verb— a topic she covers in-depth in her Explore Your Power course, and explains why it's so important to understand our cycles.
My mission is to empower as many people with periods as possible. For so long cycles and periods have been cloaked in shame and stigma but with the cultural shift that is finally happening and education, we can move into a time where having a cycle is a source of power and pride.
In my work as a sexual health educator I could see that young people were initiated so early into a negative narrative about their own bodies. Shame was so normalised.
We need new stories and dialogue about our bodies. About the hard bits, the painful bits and when we need help but also the mega super powerful bits.
We need to normalise understanding our whole cycles, beyond just the bleeding part. We are so much more than that and our cycles aren’t just for making babies - they are who we are.
Using the seasons as an analogy for the cycle was coined by Alexandra Pope, one of the women behind Red School.
It's helpful to have different words to find what resonates with you. I loved the idea of giving each of the four phases (menstrual, pre-ovulatory, post-ovulatory and pre-menstrual) a verb, to remind people of the overarching call to action for that phase.
When you are bleeding you need to care for yourself and fuel up for the month ahead but without hormonal influences you are also able to be with your deep self and think about the month you’ve just had and the one ahead. I call this the Dream phase.
When you are getting ready to ovulate (day 5ish until day 13ish or whenever you ovulate) you have rising oestrogen and a shot of testosterone and this is a very driven, focused time (provided you got enough rest in Dream!) - I call it the Do phase.
With ovulation brings progesterone, nature’s feel good hormone and the evolutionary function of this phase was to connect, to the person you potentially just procreated with!
Obviously now we only use our cycles for this purpose a few times if at all but you can pour this energy into the relationships in your life and the projects that reward you - I call this the Give phase.
When you are premenstrual your hormones are crashing and you are coming to the end of your cycle and getting ready to let go and Dream again.
Our energy for other people and projects can be lower and that's ok. There is a time for everything and this is the time for you to take care of yourself so you can do it all again.
No-one can tell by looking at you, where you are and what you need. I call this the Take phase to remind you, take the comfiest chair, take the biggest piece of cake (your metabolism is also at its highest right now) and instead of expecting yourself to maintain the physical and emotional energy of the last two weeks and feeling guilty that you aren’t able to, take what you need.
This is a time when energy is also best directed into something YOU love. Something that makes you feel like you.
Every one has a different experience of these phases and all versions deserve to be normalised and celebrated.
Track your cycle. Every day, ask yourself-
1. What day am I?
2. What do I need?
3. How can I use this power today?
1. It's important to know where you are in your cycle so you can take care of yourself accordingly.
2. It’s important to practice asking yourself what you need. Allowing yourself space and time to feel into your needs is a skill that needs to be learnt, so be patient with yourself.
3. My favourite - how can I use what I have? How could I reframe having lower energy into a super power? The world rewards us for being fast and strong and consistent but what about the deeper gifts of being intuitive, observant, perceptive, able to connect? We are multifaceted and this should be seen as a resource to be channelled, because it is!
I wish for all menstruating people to feel they can be where they are. I wish for all menstruating people to have a deep connection with their own nature and the time and space to be able to nurture it. The world needs you just as you are.
artwork: nancy spero
Lucy is a long-time champion of the power of the menstrual cycle and an advocate for self-love and positive body literacy. She’s educated and empowered thousands with her theatre performances, workshops, and book, using science stories and songs to shift the period narrative in our culture from one of shame to one of pride.
Lucy has spent the past two decades studying human biology, woman’s health & wellbeing, and Menstruality Leadership. She has a Bachelor of Science in human biology and biomedicine with honours in medicine, and a graduate diploma of education in human biology.
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