All posts tagged: Menstruation

The Mazel Tov Slap: The Jewish Tradition You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

When I told my mother I got my period for the very first time, she slapped me across the face and shouted, “Mazel Tov!” It wasn’t a punishment slap — more like the way you’d slap a person who fainted, or something out of the Marx Brothers — and it didn’t feel violent. I don’t remember the moment in great detail, and I don’t remember it as something terrible that happened to me. I mostly remember knowing that it was part of long-standing tradition from shtetl times, passed down from Jewish mother to Jewish daughter, the purpose (supposedly) being to bring the color back to your face (because it’s all draining out through your vagina now!). It’s possible I even knew it was coming, that it was something we discussed in advance — probably with all of my female relatives! — as I eagerly awaited the big day. And yes, I so desperately wanted my period, because at 14, it felt like ALL OF MY FRIENDS had theirs, and I was on the outside of this magical …

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margit

An IVF procedure (Photo: Shutterstock.com) Over the last three years, my body has slowly closed up shop. Four months between periods, then six, then almost a full year. So, I guess we’re done here. It’s a weird, bittersweet feeling — no more bloats, stains and mishaps. I’ve started to feel as if I’ve floated into another galaxy, where most of my friends are still on Planet Menses. That one time a year when it does arrive, it’s cause for a minor celebration. I secretly tell myself, maybe, just maybe at 47, I could still have a kid. Even though I know it’s a distant, nearly improbable concept. I do have a few friends who’ve had planned kids at 45 or even second and third “oops” kids at 45-plus — one, in fact, who grabbed me by the proverbial collar the other day, glared at me and said, “what have I done?!?” I’d never once fantasized about the perfect family, being a mom, spending time packing up carrot sticks in plastic baggies. That was, until I met my wonderful …

The 7-Year Prick: Chinese Medicine on Age & Fertility

Here are a few ways that classical Chinese medicine describes a women’s aging process once we get to, oh, about mid-century: “Our rich essence wanes.” “Our volume of precious fluids diminishes.” But one of the starkest might have been from my favorite Chinese medicine teacher in grad school: “Once you’re 49, your eggs are cooked.” Cooked! The class laughed. To be clear, this teacher lived through the Cultural Revolution. She was a medical doctor and acupuncturist/ herbalist in pre-revolutionary China, and had to start all over when she came to the States, ultimately becoming an amazing acupuncturist and revered teacher of Chinese medicine. She had a full head of white hair and wore stretch pants unabashedly. [pullquote]Every wrinkle is earned, each gray hair has a tale to tell.[/pullquote] And she did not mince words. Back in my 30s I was among those amused in class. Now, in 2015, as I experience my own personal wanings and diminishings, it seems a bit harsh. I became a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist almost 13 years ago, my specialty is women’s …

16 and Not Even Close to Pregnant

At 16 years old many important teenage milestones had been checked off the list: Drivers permit? Check. Sweet 16 co-ed birthday bash? You bet. First kiss? Well…yeah. A few years ago. But there was one important thing that had hadn’t happened yet. One big thing. No I’m not talking about getting into an R-rated movie or being invited to that kegger in the woods (this was the mid-‘80s, people). I’m talking about getting my period. If getting your period meant that you were now a woman, that meant that despite my big boobs and insanely-intense interest in boys and Mick Jagger, I somehow remained a little girl. My gang of girlfriends, along with what seemed to be the rest of the world, had morphed into adulthood – what was the matter with me? I had been to the gynecologist who said to be patient, every girl develops differently, it would come, just give it time. I started getting sympathy cramps when my best friend Susanne had them. I started wearing a maxi pad “just in …