1) Period Cramps are Normal
Thankfully, there is much more information out there about endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS, and other medical conditions that can cause excruciating cramps. We are aware that this type of pain is not something women should experience and that severe cramping is a sign that something needs to be addressed. Yet, we think that "small" pain is normal.
Menstrual cramps are common, but they are not "normal." Any pain that has you glued to a hot water bottle or reaching for the Advil is unnecessary to your body's healthy function.
In optimal position, your uterus is tilted slightly anterior (forward toward your pubic bone), and your vaginal canal extends at a 45 degree angle. This layout allows for greatest ease in shedding the uterine lining. A little shivershake and out it slides.
When your uterus is tilted backward, to either side, or too far forward, it is much more difficult to shed the lining. Your uterus squeezes (cramps) to compensate. Working with a bodyworker or pelvic floor specialist who practices modalities like Arvigo Maya Abdominal Therapy (like me!) will help to realign your uterus and make your periods infinitely easier.
Other causes of period cramping include
-excess inflammation in the body
-the chemicals in your pads and tampons
-emotional holding (more on that in point 3)
2) Sex Physically Changes Your Vagina
The state of a woman's hymen has long been used to certify her as virgin or not, and subsequently as "worthy" or not. If she bleeds when she first has sex, she is pure and good. If she doesn't, she's a whore. It's an awful, damaging outlook for many women, including myself at one point.
And it is based on complete fiction.
Hymens come in several different shapes/sizes. This means some women bleed every time they have sex. Some women never bleed at all. And some women may require surgery to open the hymen to allow for penetration.
Ultimately, hymens do not break. They stretch. They are essentially flesh scrunchies that ring the introitus (aka vaginal opening). And they have no known biological or evolutionary purpose.
Virginity, and certainly not worth, can be determined by a hymen's appearance.
Another supposed physical change I will touch on quickly is vaginal stretching either through copious sex or childbirth.
Vaginas, like hymens, come in several different shapes. They are also highly elastic. Whether you have sex with the same man a thousand times or a sex once with a thousand different men will have no impact on your vaginal "tightness."
As for childbirth, between the relaxin released so you are able to have a baby (which will be expressed regardless of whether or not you deliver vaginally) and the fact that you pushed an entire human down your vagina, yes there is bound to be some change. But this change is not permanent. Breathwork, Kegels, and other pelvic floor supportive practices will address any over- or under-toning those muscles might be experiencing.
It is also worth noting that pelvic floor dysfunction (the general category for hypertonic and hypotonic muscles) can happen at any stage of life, regardless of childbearing. Paying attention to your pelvis now, no matter what is going on in your body, will only lead to good things.
3) Your Self Worth and Identity are Conditional
This one might seem a bit out of left field. Looking back at the other two point, though, you'll notice that both of those myths are tied to how many women define their self worth.
The reason pelvic floors, pelvises, sex, and self worth are so intricately interwoven is because the energy of Identity lives in the pelvic bowl.
Our Root Chakra (located in the area of our perineal body, or the space between your genitals and your anus), concerns all the base needs of life and sheer survival. Moving up the chain to level with our sacral bone, we hit the Sacral Chakra. This energy center deals with creativity, passion, and sense of self. They are more closely positioned than any other chakra to each other, and as such, they tend to intertwine, often making it seem like our sense of self and self worth are linked to our survival.
Because we'll die (or so says our unconscious) if we are not worthy, we look to prove our worth. We look to attach who we are to something "concrete." We tell ourselves that we are a teacher/mother/engineer/entrepreneur/slacker/failure/unemployed/single (Identity) and how good or bad we are at those things is what we're worth.
The flaw in this attachment is that we know at any point those external things can be taken from us, throwing our sense of self and self worth into chaos.
Fighting destruction, we attach harder.
We create stress. We create tension. And when our bodies can no longer handle the stress and tension and has no other way to compensate, we create dysfunction - pelvic pain, sexual pain, anxiety, depression, digestive imbalance, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, menstrual imbalance, and the list goes on.
The true solution is to detach.
Know that you are you, the felt sense of identity not the words we try and fail to pin to it. Knowing that you are your own safety, that you'll have your own back no matter what happens in your life. Know you and only you decide your worth, not any job, house, partner, paternal status, or work ethic.
Your Worth is Unconditional.
You are You Unconditionally.