This might seem like a funny topic for this Engaging on Campus series, but learning how to manage life with your monthly cycle as a mommy missionary is important! In the next two posts Dana will share what she has learned over the years and how to apply this knowledge.
Our bodies are especially created and equipped to have babies! We are lovingly created by God with ovaries which are the source of estrogen and progesterone, the two key hormones that control the reproductive system, including the menstrual cycle and fertility in women.
Presently, I am at the stage of life where I no longer deal with the monthly buildup of estrogen and progesterone in my body. Having PMS each month and the war with sensitivity and emotional control no longer dominates my landscape for living. It is different and I daresay, better! Of course with this excellent situation comes old age, saggy skin, many wrinkles and slowing down a bit. For us, (Tom and me) the stage where we no longer deal with the heaviness of the monthly cycle seems like a really good deal! I point out here that Tom and I both appreciate this stage of life because when I had PMS, Tom had PMS! My cycle was not the typical one learned about in H.S. biology with the given norm of 28 days. My ‘normal’ was about 35 days. During my PMS days I had to make every effort to not dismantle our home, crush my children, or sabotage my marriage.
So, young flourishing vibrant fruitful mothers in ministry, let’s address the topic of PMS and it’s savage ambition to prevail about two weeks out of every month. For some it is a desperate time. It is emotional and it is draining. First, I will share what characteristics we typically experience during our cycle. Then I will speak especially to the lie of the ministry mom as she manages her choices each month.
I. Back to Biology Class – What Happens Every Month
When I was in your season of life, I began to read and study about the ebb and flow of the feminine system during said monthly cycle. This really helped me to understand how I was made, what to expect and why life was so difficult for me during certain times of the month. I learned that, basically, after we define how long “our month” is that we could divide that month in halves. Both halves of the month have certain characteristics that reflect what is going on biologically inside of us.
The first half of the month begins the day your period starts. For the majority of women the first half is reported to last 14 days! As I studied I learned that during the first half of the month most women experience similar features. Around day 7 our estrogen level begins to increase and dominate. As a result, the most outstanding and common trait we experience during this time is that we tend to be more energetic, more active and upbeat. We feel we are at the peak of “expression.” Our bodies want to ‘move and do’ in a way that is highly unlike the second half of our month. This is the time we naturally want to initiate new projects or create new ideas. Some find that this is when they might do a major house clean. It is during this time we appreciate sexual interaction! We learn to look forward to this half of the month! The overall descriptive words for this half of the monthly cycle are “creative, energetic, and engaging.” For our understanding we will call it, The Creative Half!
The second half of our month starts the day we ovulate and continues until the day we start our period. Our estrogen level drops and progesterone continues to increase. As a result, this is the half of the month where “PMS” rules. It is a time when life is more arduous for us. I remember feeling like I gained fatty weight at my waist, my pants always felt tighter than normal and I felt cranky! I was both physically and emotionally sensitive. These characteristics are common during PMS! It is during these two weeks when we can be overly ‘critical’ or ‘picky.’ Dullness sets in. We are prone to inactivity and can feel lethargic. If we could choose we would want to retreat, stay at home, read a book, or watch a movie all alone…all while eating a box of our favorite chocolates! But we know that is not going to happen! The descriptive words for this half of our monthly cycle are “reflective, reclusive, and analytical.” For our understanding we will call it, The Reflective Half!
Before we go further in this post let’s remind ourselves that this is all part of how we are made by our Creator!
So how might knowing all this hep mommies in ministry?
- First, just knowing that God made us this way should indicate that PMS has value for us
- Secondly, as we accept our design and that we have personal needs during our monthly cycle we can make choices in accordance with our bodies if allowable. If not we can enter into situations realizing why we feel sluggish or lack motivation and make the necessary effort to give and certainly look to receive!
To contact Dana please email her at: Dana.Yeakley@navigators.org