Monday, March 5, 2012

Menstruation is Marvelous

As I write this, I have my period. And I know it sounds corny and dorky and trite and like flat-out hyperbole, but I’m happy because of it.

I’m happy because getting my period means that I don’t have a terminal illness, I’m not suffering from malnourishment (whether from an eating disorder or a lack of food), and I’m capable of having children when I choose to.

Yes, I hate the gut-wrenching cramps that wake me up and make me roll into the fetal position until the handful of Advil kicks in. And of course I complain when my hands feel like falling off after I’ve stood at the sink and tried to scrub the stains out of my panties with ice cold water for God knows how long. And when I go to the bathroom and see the blood for the first time, I groan and wish Eve never ate the stupid apple.

But getting my period still makes me a little bit happy inside. It’s a sign from God to me that my system is running okay. It means that I have the ability to give birth to a new generation of Jews, that I can be a part of populating the Jewish nation. My grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, always felt that having children was the biggest slap across the face she could give Hitler, as if to show him that his mission utterly failed: Jewish children are being born. The Jews live. And when I get my period, I think of how a few days of discomfort every month invalidates every goal Hitler and the Nazis had.

I read something online a while ago that said that women are pretty much superheroes: we can bleed for months on end and nourish a child from our bodies, but we don't lose out or die because of it.

Yes, I know everything I just wrote is extremely melodramatic, but it’s all true. So call me cliché or a downright idiot, but I’m still happy when I get my period.

I know that modern Jewish feminists have established brakhot (blessings) to say when you get your period, but I couldn’t find it online (although the Google search led me back to my blog, which amused me). My suggestion is to try and get your hands on it, and if you can’t, then just keep in mind on your thanks to God when you get your period.

Tizku l’mitzvot (may you be worthy to perform additional commandments)!


  1. I really like this post. It's not overly melodramatic. I agree that periods can be really uncomfortable and unpleasant, but I'm glad to have them too. I think that men get irrationally uncomfortable when hearing/talking about periods, and it makes me bemused/angry.

  2. Rabbi Elyse Goldstein suggests saying "she'asani isha" upon the commencement of one's period, just so you know. It's from her amazing book ReVisions: Seeing Torah through a Feminist Lens (foreword by Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg), which looks at the purity/impurity, water/blood dichotomy among other things, and which you should definitely read.