How Many Periods Did You Have?

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Woman, art by Helen Claira5, smallHow many times you have cycled with the moon?
Here is some quick math: I started bleeding when I was 12, and stopped at 55. This is 43 years of cycling every month! Multiply 43 years by 13 cycles per year (there are 13 lunar cycles every 365 days. Women cycle with the moon!) The answer is: 559!! Really?! Even after subtracting 9 periods for my pregnancy, and a couple of years for breastfeeding, my body went through more than 500 cycles … It’s hard to imagine I had this many periods…

How about you? How old were you at your first period? Take a moment to think about this: Your current age (or the age you were on your Last period) minus your age on your First period, gives you the number of years you have been cycling. Now multiply this number by 13, and you’ll get the number of cycles you have had so far in your life, or during your entire bleeding years (if you have already Paused). Surprising, isn’t it?

What else in your life do you repeat this many times? Wouldn’t anything you experience this much become a topic of conversation, a theme of exploration, a field of support? What else do you do with such repetition? Food and Sex, probably… Indeed both food and sex are discussed interminably! There are talk shows, magazines, advise columns, therapists, healing modalities, support groups, forums, and whole industries devoted to food and to sex, not to mention their feature status in day-to-day conversations.

The silence we keep about Menstruation is loud and clear given the number of times we cycle during our lives. The absence of menstruation from cultural forums of discussion, and from casual daily conversations, breeds alone-ness and isolation for women worldwide. Each in the privacy of her own bathroom, women “deal” with their menstrual blood — quickly, quietly, and efficiently. There are no traces, no voice, no images, no waves. It is as if this was an event so rare, so negligible, that it warrants no attention whatsoever!

We need to start making menstruation visible! We must reflect the abundant presence of this phenomenon in our lives. Lets start talking, painting, photographing, documenting our monthly experiences: the onset of our Flow, the years of cycling, and and the waning of our internal clock into full Pause. The image accompanying this article is a lovely example of what’s possible. It is only “shocking” to those who are not used to seeing menstrual blood on a monthly basis. And it is only “gross” to those who are treating it an an enemy rather than an ally.

Yes, our blood IS an ally! It is a source of inner guidance and intuition. It’s an emotional thermometer. It’s our compass for rest and renewal. Yet in the absence of connection with it – our blood becomes alien to us…

This is a chicken-and-egg proposition, since you have to connect with your blood first, in order to become comfortable with it. Imagine your feelings toward a cousin you hardly ever see. You will obviously feel distant, and when you meet one another, once in a blue moon, there may be awkwardness and discomfort, which stem from lack of familiarity. Now imagine this cousin moving to live in your own neighborhood. Imagine seeing each other often, taking time to chat, sharing cups of tea and intimate conversations. Wouldn’t this create a level of familiarity, comfort, and trust between you, which will make your time together relaxed, flowing, and full of ease? Well, it could be the same way with your menstrual blood! The fact that it’s already not only in your neighborhood, but inside you, every month – makes for a great start!

How many periods DID you have?
Find out and post in a comment below…
Lets make menstruation visible!

21 Responses

  1. 274! Wow! And Ive probably o ly really been connected to the last 6 after 18months on the pill and choosing to come off of it to connect. Im bleeding now. Resting in a warm bath as I type. Bliss

  2. I am now 42 year old and have had my period for about 377 times.

    I luckly had some masters in my life that made the contact with my period somewhat easier and valuable but it is defiantly time to make it deeper….
    I am heading to my 50s and have a daughter of 10 years old with growing breasts and mood swings. It defiantly makes me re-think all this process and sure willing to make it easier and more powerful meaningful to my (inner and outer) maid/girl.
    It does call my attention the fact that we or I , indeed, try as much as possible to hide we/I have our/my period.
    I defiantly do that to other man.
    Luckily, I have a nice group of women with we openly talk about the subject (among other thing of course). May be the Brazilian background also help this openness a bit.
    But yes, there is still a lot to learn and to understand and to go deeper in contact with our periods and to understand/collect/absorb the gold of it.

    I very much would like to give my daughter a better awareness about it from an early stage and certainly an initiation moment.

    Thanks a lot for this space,
    It is very much appreciated,

    Carlota Granja

  3. Lovely blog DeAnna, I so loved it!
    Well I can tell you exactly how many cycles I had in my life so far, as I tracked it since day one, believe or not out of my own intuition!
    I had 422 cycles so far and yes, it is amazing how many times we cycle in our life and we ignore it …

  4. Hello :)

    sorry my english is really bad and I don’t know if I will be able to explain that I would want. Only I would like share with you one experience that I could live about one moth ago. It’s an exposition wich intention is, precisely, how you said, to start making menstruation visible!

    enjoi it :) and sorry again…

  5. I never considered this before now. From age 13.5 years to my PAUSE by hysterectomy at age 52.5, there would have been 507 moon cycles. Minus the cycles for 3.5 pregnancies and many months of breastfeeding (I have no record of when my cycles resumed during breastfeeding) I had cycled at the least 467 times. I, like you DeAnna, cycled about 500 times. Now is the time for me to honor my blood!

  6. That is really an very interessting calculation and it makes a lot of sense… and brings awarness. Thank you DeAnna. I cycled 383,5 times not including my pregnancy and breastfeeding time. Now I am in the pre menopause cycles get more unstable.Some month ago when I didn’t have my period for 3 month and I started suddenly to bleed again I was really happy cause I wanted to donate my blood to the erath in a little ritual and paint a picture with it. I feel ready for the next step, even though fisically I feel young and fit, spiritually I feel ready to welcome a more mature state of womanhood.

  7. I am now 71, and I really don’t remember when I quite cycling — or really when I started. as you pointed out, it’s so private, nobody else cares !!! I did have a lovely daughter, and so experienced Motherhood, but again, no surrounding feed-back and/or support.
    so now, i’m into “crone / elder” years, and as someone pointed out, I never even truly transitioned to “adult”, so I have no idea how to transition to “elder” !!!

    it’s time to step into FULL BE-ING…

  8. 455 times – approximately – just short of 40 years worth (with 4 pregnancies and lactation periods)

    This website is helpful in calculating your actual times . . . just put in the month and year when you started and the same for when you finish – divide the intervening days by 28 (lunar month) and that tells you how many times you have cycled (not accounting for pregnancies, lactating etc)

    Interesting . . . I still miss that cycling and the differences each season brought!

    1. Congratulations on walking this path consciously, Mariyah!
      May you have years of empowering cycles, may you listen to your body, rest, renew, and replenish with each cycle,
      and may you move with beauty and strength into your Wisdom Years, when the time comes…

  9. Wow i was 10 when I stared my fist period and I’m now 12…..I hate havin male teacher because they don’t understand????…

  10. Im 31 and started my period when i was 10..i have 2 kids so thats 255 for the last 10 years ive had a period every month never fails around the same date no birth control at all and have not got pregnant

  11. i started my period when i was 10 and im 31 years old now i have 2 kids and have not been on any birth control at all for 10 years now. I get a period every month never fails around the same date i bleed to death for about 4 days and have not gotten pregnant so that makes it 255 times = (

  12. Wow. I have had 469 so far and I am almost 50 I wonder when it will end, they say 300 to 500 eggs will be released, so I guess I am almost done.

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