Women’s menstrual cycle – what is normal?

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Women’s menstrual cycle – what is normal?

Growing up as a teenager and then later on as an adult, I would often hear or read in articles other women talking about having ‘abnormal’ menstrual cycles. Abnormal meant things like skipped periods or variations in the length of the cycle, or perhaps that the symptoms experienced would change from month to month.

Last month, my period came about one week later than its ‘normal’ due date, according to the period tracker app that I use on my iPad – OurCycles Period and Full Moon Diary App that estimates future period beginning dates based on the data inputted from prior months.

When several days went by with no bleeding, I started to worry. I questioned if something was wrong with my body, or could I be starting early menopause at the age of 41?

When my period eventually did come, I actually did not feel relief. What I felt was a strong sense that it came exactly at the right time. It wasn’t late at all.

My period started just a few hours after I found myself letting go of a particularly stressful situation that had been affecting me for a couple of weeks.

This experience showed me some things about menstrual cycles:

There is a reason that our periods start when they do, and it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. Think of how miraculous the human body is in that it works so harmoniously and systematically to keep us moving, without us even being aware of it! Every day, scientists are discovering new, amazing patterns showing the body’s own intelligence.

Connecting with our body allows us to connect to our feelings in order to not give power to a belief or ideal that dictates how things ‘should’ be. Like a computer program for example, telling us what a menstrual cycle should look and be like, which is really just a statistical model of when something might happen. We each know inherently what is true for us, better than any other person or thing out there. After all, I am the only person inhabiting my body!

We know this is simple and true. But do we also consider that since each month/day/week every woman experiences different feelings, moods, events, and behaviours and makes choices based on these experiences, that every woman’s monthly cycle is different?

Different is in no way abnormal. It’s time to reconsider what ‘normal’ truly means, and stop trying to fit into society’s model. My period was a blessing this month, as it is in each menstrual cycle and I'm learning not to second-guess what my body is telling me.


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Women's healthHuman bodyMenstrual cycle

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    By Julie Goodhart

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