Holy Hormones Journal: Honored to be recognized for Natural Womanhood for the work that I have done with at-risk girls. Sadly, the data I have walked with showed that that over 90% of the young women I have worked with – ages 13 – to 17 in multiple restorative care homes started their periods when they were in jail. No, this is not a coincidence. Young women are faced with severe endocrine disruption and are uneducated about the hormone shifts that occur during the menstrual cycle. They become victims of their own body due to lack of education. This is wrong. Young women need to know the changes that occur prior to menstruation. Not only do their hormone levels drop so the uterine lining can be released – but their immunity also drops and they are more prone to fatigue. And this is when they doubt themselves and wonder; “what is wrong with me?”
And the devastating piece of information that is withheld from most women? Alcohol, drugs, surgery and other treatments have more adverse effects on us during the paramenstrum than at any other time of the cycle. This is a crime against women. And the real reason we are victimized and fed synthetic hormones and antidepressants which further casts doubt on our trusting our mind, moods, and behaviors.
Cycle mindfulness: what happens when you teach fertility awareness to teen girls
posted on March 18, 2017 by Anna Migeon, Writer and co-founder of Natural Womanhood
In the 1980s, Leslie Carol Botha taught basic fertility charting to 13-17 year-olds at eight different restorative care homes for at-risk girls. A typical girl in the program had been a victim of sexual assault, ran away from home, used drugs and alcohol and ended up in jail. In working with these girls, Ms. Botha made an amazing discovery: teens who chart can regain control of their life.
Here is what she found out: for 90% of the girls in the program who had ended up in jail, it happened during the premenstrual phase of her cycle, that monthly darkness that Ms. Botha calls “falling down the rabbit hole”: increased anger, disruptive and self-destructive behaviors, suicidal ideation, and drug and alcohol cravings.
Ms. Botha engaged the girls in a comprehensive menstrual health education program that included tracking their cycles as an art project, complete with colorful markers and stickers.
“The data I walked away with was mind boggling,” she reported. Generally more stickers and bright colors are seen early in the cycle, followed by a plunge into darkness upon reaching the eight days on each side of the start of the period.
“No matter the girl, her background the type of abuse she endured, her weight, or body image,” Botha writes, “they all fell down what I call the ‘rabbit hole’ in their mind.”
These young women hadn’t been equipped with an understanding of the hormonal shifts in their cycles and how these changes were driving their moods and behaviors. After three month of charting in this rudimentary fashion, the girls starting noticing clear patterns emerging from their charts, and they became aware of that monthly “rabbit hole.”
These girls became empowered and in control, Ms. Botha reported. Mindful self-awareness and the understanding that such phases are normal and only phases made all the difference in their ability to handle them. Ms. Botha noted also that she referred to the class in her own mind as “abstinence through empowerment.”
Since then, Mrs. Botha has become an internationally recognized expert on women’s hormones and behavior. Her work and research focuses on the significance of the hormone cycle and its profound relationship to a woman’s psyche. Botha’s 30 years of research demonstrates how hormone fluctuations in the menstrual cycle affect women’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.