When you’re passionate about this work, it’s easy to paint all women with the same brush:
“You should sync with your menstrual cycle because that’s what’s good for you.”
When saying this, we often cite the following: if you are post-menopausal, have had a hysterectomy which included removal of your ovaries, if you are a transgender woman or if you are on the pill; sync with the moon.
What we ignore by saying all of this (and I say this because I’m guilty and calling myself out along with everyone else) is the fact that many women are not living a life which is autonomous enough for them to sync with their cycle:
- Women living on, below or close to the poverty line
- Women working shifts, airline workers, women who work in the emergency services
- Women working ANYWHERE that doesn’t respect their cyclical needs
- Parents; it’s easy to cite that this is harder for single parents but I don’t know any parents who breeze through without a struggle
- Women who are trafficked
- Women who are slaves
- Women in unsupportive relationships
- Women who struggle with boundaries
- Women who struggle to speak up for themselves
- Women who are homeless
- Women who have irregular cycles
- Women with ill health
- Women with a destructive relationship to their body or their cycle
The truth is that cycle syncing in its fullest expression is most readily available for:
- Privileged women
- Women who work for themselves
- Women who are fully supported by their friends, family, workplace, partners and themselves
- Women who are confident at setting boundaries and asking for what they need
When you successfully add cycle syncing into the equation, in ANY situation, you watch the woman excel. The woman feels more grounded, the woman feels increasingly sure of herself, the woman feels aligned in what she is meant to do.
When we introduce cycle syncing to a privileged woman who is already thriving, she can do anything she sets her mind and her cycle to.
When we introduce cycle syncing to a woman who does not have authority over her own life, it can feel like another way in which she is not good enough or not succeeding.
It’s easy enough to say that achieving your goals is easier when you start with cycle syncing, and it really DOES improve your life. But it is naïve to assume this narrative can apply when the goal is to put food on the table for your family, to not increase debt further, to survive the next 24 hours or to buy the products you need for your next period.
When the conversation moves from syncing to contraception, it is easy to bash the pill and to assume that fertility awareness is the way for every woman. But again, in this situation we ignore the women who don’t have autonomy over their own bodies. We also ignore women who don’t wish to engage with their fertility, women who like the pill and either don’t experience side effects or who don’t care about them, the women who work shifts or have small children and can’t afford a TempDrop to iron out their temperatures.
It is important that we recognise and support ALL women and that we acknowledge our privilege when implementing cycle syncing in our lives and use what we know and learn for GOOD.
It doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t sync with our own cycle. The fact that the richest, most privileged women working for big companies can’t or struggle to sync at work shows how we are ALL trying to get by in a man’s world. It is our duty to do this for ourselves AND to use increased power for good.
It looks like:
- Donating pads and tampons, time and money to local menstrual poverty charities
- Donating resources, time and money to charities supporting women who are suffering
- Normalising talk about periods and cycle syncing from your position of privilege so that we can expand the reach of this work
- Considering and acknowledging your privilege as you do ‘the work’ on yourself and improve your own life
- Using your skills, whatever they may be, for the benefit of society as a whole, not just for yourself
If you become as impassioned as I am about this topic and if you choose to share this work with the women in your own life, remember the women for whom this is less available as you share.
It’s easy to assume we know best. This is your reminder that we don’t and that assuming we do is anti-feminist. We can EDUCATE, we can SERVE and we can SUPPORT. We must never assume, belittle or degrade.
Use your power, use your knowledge and do it with all the grace and determination you can muster. Do it for the benefit of ALL women, never for the benefit of your ego or your privilege.