The call came at 1am and I mumbled my interested but sleepy responses to the man on the other end.
This was no booty call.
I’d only had two hours of sleep and wasn’t ready for this. After 2 years of working as a birth doula, you’d think I would have been, but the truth is, being jolted out of sleep is always hard.
Now, given the title of this post, 48 hours of hell, and the fact that this birth was an induced one, you might be expecting a horrific birth story. However, although it was one of my longest births, both my clients and I felt it was a positive one.
But I was in hell.
Shortly after I arrived at the hospital, my bleed arrived. This was five years ago, back in the days where period pain would floor me. Not realising my bleed was due, I had no tampons or painkillers. So there I was, supporting my client through her intense surges (my preferred term for contractions), whilst being on the verge of collapsing from my own pain. Thank goodness for my clients maternity pads and the midwife who sneaked me some paracetamol.
It happens all the friggin time.
Yes, I’m self-employed. Yes, I can largely decide my schedule, but not all the time. When a client is in labour, I go, and with almost eight years experience as a doula, I’m now fully aware of how common it is to get a bleed whilst at a birth, (somehow we sync up with our clients). Thankfully, I no longer require any painkillers but my bleed still affects me in other ways, and just like the rest of my cycle, I plan around it.
And the point of telling you all of this is:
You can too.
Every woman I’ve spoken to about cycle awareness has been touched by how powerfully simple tracking your cycle can be. Women get it. Men get it. Because it’s a no-brainer.
But maybe you, like them, struggle to see how you can make it a part of your life.
“I have a normal job”.
“I don’t have the power to schedule my work around my cycle”.
“I can’t take time off to rest”.
“I’m reeeeally busy”.
I’m calling bullshit.
You heard me. Bullshit.
None of the above are valid reasons for you not to track your cycle and use it to your advantage. In fact, if any of those statements are true for you, you have an even greater need to pay attention to your cycle.
I’m not asking you to change your life.
When I say, live in accordance your cycle, a lot of women hear change your life according to your cycle. Let’s look at the difference by working with the statement I hear the most frequently:
“I have a busy office job which doesn’t allow me to decide my own schedule”.
What women think I’m going to say, ie. changing your life to suit your cycle:
You need to rest when you’re bleeding, so don’t go into work on those days. Tell your boss that you can’t do that really important presentation on that day, you need to reschedule it for this day. Back to back client meetings on that day isn’t going to work for where you are in your cycle, you should cancel them or ask someone else to do them. You know what, maybe you should think of a career change … be self-employed like me, then you can do all of these things!
What I *am* saying, ie. living in accordance with your cycle:
Ok, so you’re going to be working at the most intense part of your bleed, what can you do to make it easier? You have a presentation coming up and it’s not at the ideal time in your cycle, what do we need to do during the rest of your cycle, so that you can safeguard your confidence and nail it? Back to back client meetings? That could be exhausting for you during that phase, what can you get in place in terms of self-care, so that it’s not so depleting?
Living in accordance with your cycle does not mean only doing things at certain times, it means matching tasks to phases, where possible. And the rest of the time? It’s about working with what you’re able to.
You *are* in charge.
You can’t set your schedule when you’re at work, but you can outside of work. So if you have a full on work
day week, smack bang in the phase you struggle with, how about not making evening plans too? Instead, prioritise getting enough sleep and eating regular meals, that way there’s less potential for it to feel catastrophic.
Find half an hour.
That’s all I’m asking. 30 minutes to prioritise you.
- Leave your office for half an hour during your lunch break (radical, I know).
- Get lost in the neglected book that’s been moping on your nightstand for two months.
- Turn your phone off and have a conversation with someone you adore. I bet that person just popped into your head.
- Have a steamy bath date with that delicious Argentinian, Mr. Malbec.
- Fly solo or partner up, but have an orgasm.
Too busy to go for treatments?
You want to have some acupuncture, but you don’t have time to travel to me. Or maybe you just want the luxury of being treated in your own home. Either way, right now I have an offer running which will appeal to you. Due to the fire which damaged Sadhaka, I’m currently treating clients in their homes for £85 instead of £125, but only until I find a new treatment space to use.
So if that’s appealing, holla.