|drink up ladies!|
There's a lot controversy surrounding the use red raspberry leaves during pregnancy, and I would advise everylady do her own research and make her own decision on that, but it is considered quite safe for the breastfeeding mummy. It is also a galactogogue; it will increase your milk supply (hurray - fewer cramps and leaking breasts!). I drank it by the gallon during my first post partum weeks to help my own uterus out after 'the big show'. I should note that I cannot handle pure red raspberry leaf tea. It reminds me of having morning sickness. Instead, I use 'Fecundi tea' from Mountain Rose Herbs which diffuses the raspberry leaf with other lady-friendly herbs and tastes a lot better.
If you are interested, there is nothing complicated about red raspberry leaf - it is indeed the leaves from the raspberry canes that yield the yummy berries, so next time you're out picking berries, help yourself to a few leaves as well and give your uterus a treat.
The worst part of my cycle is not cramps, it is not bloating (like I'd notice with this pregnancy weight anyway), it is hormones. I go from singing all day and being a generally positive mummy to being a silent, brooding, tortured soul with the most negative self-talk you can imagine. Needless to say, I'm not terribly pleasant to be around, even though I try my best to hide it. I wouldn't mind keeping to myself if I wasn't so miserable within as well. Not even Midol™ could help with that.
Until now. Stop the presses ladies - we have a miracle. Despite being in the depths of despair I crawled out of my hole long enough to brew a cup of Earth Mama Angel Baby's Monthly Comfort Tea. A lovely, comforting and citrusy aroma rose from my tea cup, and the taste did not disappoint. I will happily admit that it is now a favourite based upon flavour alone. In the meantime, I drank my tea and waited for something to happen. It took about an hour, but despite the tension that remained in my shoulders (I do that) my mood lifted significantly. So I drank another cup. And felt - like ME again. I felt like someone capable of both menstruating and raising my child without significantly scarring her once a month. Gasp.
I love this tea.
On another note, during my nap-time research I also came across a whole new breed of activism that I had never heard of (and I went to UVic!): menstrual activism. Seriously. Apparently there are a great deal of women who are sick of being ashamed of their periods and having to be secretive about the fact that it happens to each and every one of us (women). Particularly about how nobody talks about it...I guess I didn't get the memo on that one. But even they weren't talking about home remedies for menstrual symptoms. Nope, these ladies are setting about to reclaim their menstrual cycle through knowledge and empowerment (verdict's out on whether knowledge and empowerment eases cramping).
The first such site I stumbled across was Re: Cycle which is an amazing resource for information on cloth pads, talking to your daughters about menstruating (I lingered there for a while), and generally contemplating why menstruation is so taboo to begin with while being so lucrative for the myriads of unnecessary products and businesses aimed at it. The anthropologist in me was so fascinated, I love it when the mirror is turned on mainstream culture.
In all honesty, I use re-usable menstrual products because I don't want to pack a bunch of chemicals and synthetics into my body and then into landfills; I never realized what a mega-industry periods have created in the world. Rather shocking when you actually think about it.
The other site I discovered is Adventures in Menstruating (brilliant, eh?), an ever so crunchy blog and zine dedicated to the same ideals as above, but focusing on humour to deliver the message. Menstruating, they tell me, "is the new fart joke." They even offer the reader a pattern for a fake blood stain that can be attached to one's pants. Um...