Teenage Girls – Our Hormonal Honeys!

January 2006

by Leslie Carol Botha

Well, never mind your hormones for the moment… how about your daughter’s?  Have you yet realized that the conflict that might be between you and your daughter could be hormonal?  And that if you both charted your cycles – some of that conflict could be avoided by just being aware of where you are in your hormone cycle – and then just talking about it…

But no, who has time? Mom’s go along three weeks out of the month, working, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, being a chauffer, cleaning, doing laundry, go to school events, work events, social events – did I say cleaning?  And that fourth week hits – and we put on the skids and everyone in the household who was used to Mom being there – doing everything, being Super Woman – stares at us and says:  “What is wrong with you?” And then after we rage, we feel guilty – but by that time we’ve had our period, start feeling better about ourselves; know we can do it all, and the “cycle” starts all over again.

Now let’s add your daughter’s hormone cycle to this little scenario that rules your life. You are in that part of your cycle where you are running, cleaning, cooking – and gosh, you are proud and saying I can do this; I can juggle everything and your little hormonal honey looks at you with wild eyes and screams, “You never do anything for me”, and before you know it you are reduced to tears…Or how about this scenario, your PMSing – she’s PMSing (chances are unbeknownst to each other) and her comment that is filled with venom is boomeranged back at her by you – and before you know it she’s out the door and down the road – to live with “Dad”, or to go and stay at her girlfriend’s – or her boyfriend’s, or even worse just runs away.  And there you are…angry, guilty and feeling like you can never win.

 Let’s face it;  you are in a lose/lose situation unless you understand not only what is going on with your hormone cycle – but with your daughter’s –especially if you have more than one hormonal honey running through your house.

Where do you start?  Well, going to your best woman friend’s house and letting her pour you a drink (of tea of course) and putting your head down on the table and crying is always a good start.  But then, it is time to face reality; our reality and that is educating ourselves about the strength of our hormonal cycle and about how the changes that we go through on a month-to-month basis are actually a cycle in and of themselves – if we only took the time to be aware of them.

So stop making those payments for the shrink that you go to once a month, (cyclically) and make a chart that lists the month, day of the month, your hormone cycle day, and physical mental, emotional symptoms that you go through.  Of course, such a chart already exists on my web site and you are more that welcome to use that chart online when you sign up to be a member.

 Here is another idea. I have been teaching “at risk” girls at Monarch Youth Homes – an in house treatment center for 13 – 17 year olds in Colorado and have developed a fun way for the girls to chart their cycle.  Get a piece of 11x 17-colored paper – and develop a grid with all of the above components.  Then go the store and get stickers and sit down with your daughter(s) and make a project of decorating the chart with them so that you will both feel that it is fun as well as educational to chart your cycle.

 If you or your daughters do not have the patience for this type of project – get a calendar and use it to chart her moods- and yours and sooner or later you will see a pattern develop.

Did you know that young women can be hormonally active up to two years before their periods? That means that they are cycling – and that they are having mood swings just like the rest of us – even before they experience their first menses.

 All of this “cycling” has gotten such a bad rap. I believe that it is only because we do not understand what is going on in our bodies and our behaviors monthly.  It is not a mystery…it is not something beyond our comprehension – we have just been duped into believing that our hormone cycle has nothing to do with any other part of our lives.  And in believing that, we turn to Birth Control Pills for twenty or thirty years until we are prescribed Hormone Replacement Therapy.

All artificial hormones do is trick our body from experiencing the natural ebb and flow of our hormonal cycle changing it to a linear – more testosterone type cycle.  And that is when, I believe, we begin to experience mental, emotional and physical problems.

In fact, the Society For Menstrual Cycle Research, shares a common concern that in ten years – there will no longer be a “hormone cycle”; that young women will be convinced to take BCP’s, “to straighten out their hormones”, and will be on them until they make the transition to HRT’s “to straighten out their hormones”.  And the far-reaching implications of that are just beginning to become obvious in the studies and statistics that indicate that these artificial hormone controllers actually are causing diseases at a higher rate than we have ever seen before.

Honoring the hormone cycle; understanding it’s simple nature; allowing ourselves to live with it- instead of being controlled by it is a most empowering feeling.  It is this knowledge that you must learn right now – for your daughter’s sake – so that she will not struggle as we have…. so that she will not die as we have; out of ignorance, lack of education, by believing in artificial means that control our behaviors rather than living with the power of the cycle and trusting ourselves.

 Believe in the cyclical nature of womankind – because it does exist. It is what we all have in common, and is the ebb and flow that keeps us in balance with nature.

Day 1 (the 1st day of your period)Pre-ovulatory Phase The beginning of a new cycle and when our hormones start rising after our periods are over – we feel like the world is at our fingertips; we become independent, outgoing, assertive, can be out at meetings every night of the week and not be fazed.  (Funny, aren’t those are the same attributes that a teenage girl has?)

Day 14Ovulatory Phase (And yes, these are generalizations; but if we experience the same symptoms in the PMS phase – than why wouldn’t we experience the same symptoms; granted to different degrees, in other phases of our cycle)– Where we were out every night last week, we now want to stay home and bake brownies, cook chili, or clean and it all sounds great (Funny that is what mother’s are known to do “nurture”; not just kids or husbands, but partners, gardens, pets, work, the home.)

Day 21Post-Ovulatory Phase Aaah …here we go the roller coaster down to the depths of our soul.  However, we have been told to take two Valium and go home honey – and every thing will be alright – and that is what we do and “escape” into a false reality for that week.  However, did you know that statistics show that women who are in their post ovulatory phase have the greatest risk for alcohol and drug overdose, rape, attempted suicides, leaving boyfriends, husbands, partners, jobs, – and then a week later when our hormones start rising and we begin to feel better – we ask ourselves, “what the hell did I do that for?” But, sadly for some of us it is too late.

But is going to the depths of our soul all that bad?  Especially if you can find another woman who understands and that you trust to let into your soul.  And if your husband can do that more power to you – or him…but really it is most often another cycling woman who has the power and innate sense to know that when we bare our soul – its contents are to be treated sacredly.

Female Mystique:  The Three Phases of Eve

From a woman’s perspective the post-ovulatory phase of our cycle (notice that I am not using the term PMS) is a powerful time and a time for reflection and introspection, a time to thing about what happened in our last cycle and what we would like to accomplish in our next.  (Funny, is this not what our grandmother’s experience?)

Would this not be a wonderful education to share with your daughter?  Valuable knowledge to pass on instead of  thinking that you are not able to share anything with her – and you look at all the rings in her nose and tongue, the color of her hair and say “why?”, and “she didn’t get this from me…

But she did.  We too, were once those radical females – taking charge of our life; being assertive, independent – and now we are the “nurturer’s; any wonder why there is so much conflict between mother’s and daughter’s?  Not just the hormones – but our state of mind – we are the protectors – and they are out to get the best out of life – and that alone can lead to confrontation.

It is our grandmother’s, the crones, wise women in our lives – who can save the day and ease the tension between mother and daughters.  I will never forget my grandmother, who after one of my hormonal confrontations with my mother, walked into my bedroom and said, “If you are moving out, I will go with you.”  No admonishment, nor judgment; just insightful words of love and support that brought peace back to our home.

We are all Hormonal Honeys – each month and throughout our lives and we are blessed because of it.

PG

Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.