A woman from the US has found a creative use for her period blood, using it to paint with, water the plants, and even do beautifying facials.
Mary Miranda, 36, reckons this unusual face mask leaves her skin ‘glowing’, and has even helped to alleviate acne scars. However, she hasn’t always felt so positive about her period blood.
The intuitive and feminine embodiment coach had her first period at the age of 12, and went on to suffer with painful, irregular and heavy periods throughout her teens and twenties.
Mary’s heavy periods sometimes lasted for up to eight days, leaving her with feelings of shame, embarrassment and disgust. Her irregular monthly cycle meant Mary would sometimes only have about three or four periods a year, something which she didn’t initially realise was out of the ordinary.
In my view, our upbringings, society, the patriarchy and religion have influenced a lot on how women feel and act around their periods.
Even saying the word period or menstruation is a source of shame, embarrassment, disgust and sin for many women, because it is a topic not to be talked about, is taboo, is seen as gross, impure, disgusting and should be kept under the rug.
The patriarchy has played a huge role in how women feel, see and think of periods. Many men make derogatory comments or cringe when the topic comes on the table.
Some men say things like ‘women are crazy during their period,’ ‘she is bitchy, she must be on her period,’ or ‘periods are disgusting’.
Even while on birth control, Mary’s heavy periods didn’t ease. In 2006 she was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst after suddenly collapsing five times in pain, resulting in her having to have an emergency salpingo-oophorectomy to remove her right ovary.
Mary had initially dismissed these pains as trapped gas or digestion problems. Following the operation, she was advised to continue taking birth to help stop the same thing happening to her left ovary.
However, in 2008 – after two years – Mary stopped taking the pill as she didn’t want to be putting synthetic hormones in her body.
Mary continued to suffer from painful periods, with side effects so severe she would experience vomiting, low blood pressure and profuse sweating.
Mary ended up in A&E twice. On her second visit, she was given a transvaginal ultrasound scan which revealed a small uterine fibroid tumour – a non-cancerous growth – inside her womb.
The fibroid grew to three-and-a-half inches, by December 2017, leaving her with the appearance of being visibly bloated. It was also found that she had another cyst, this time on her left ovary.
Mary underwent myomectomy surgery in February 2018 to remove both the uterine fibroid and ovarian cyst, with the hope of saving her reproductive system.
According to Mary:
I was on the verge of almost getting a hysterectomy two years ago and never menstruating again. I prayed every day and asked for my uterus and left side-ovary to be saved.
Concerned that she would one day have to have a hysterectomy if her issues continued, Mary began researching how to take holistic methods of looking after her reproductive health.
It was at this point Mary discovered Moon Blood rituals, described as being ‘the act of cherishing, welcoming and honouring menstruation’.
I promised to honour and worship my womb and periods with reverence each month if they were saved and now I look forward to each month. Now it is a time to celebrate and I want women to also experience this.
I saw a post from a woman that went viral and she received so much hate and negativity on her Period Blood Facial post. I felt such impotence of how many women hated such a sacred ritual. The fire in me was lit up and the need to share became stronger.
After discovering these rituals, Mary hasn’t looked back. Every month, Mary will gives herself a facial using period blood which she will leave on her face for up to 30 minutes.
She also paints with the blood, dances with it and waters plants and trees with it as a way of offering her blood back to the earth.
Mary explained that she was initially worried about practising these rituals:
I was also afraid to receive hate and my body was filled with anxiety when I decided to post, since no one knew I did these rituals. I feared my family would disown me or I’d be insulted by strangers that didn’t bother to know my story.
I realised I wanted to show women how I healed my mindset and relationship with my period, and how I removed the stigma that periods are gross, shameful, embarrassing and should not be talked about, let alone publicly.
Having overcome her initial worries, Mary now wants to help break the taboo surrounding menstruation by sharing her journey; encourage other women to welcome their monthly cycle instead of fearing it.
She also wants to share the supposed health benefits of menstrual blood, explaining:
Menstrual blood is healing and has anti-inflammatory properties and is full of rich nutrients and minerals like zinc, copper, magnesium, calcium, sodium, iron, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium.
My face always feels softer, more nourished and it glows. I have noticed it has helped improve my skin condition from acne scars I had and pigmentation. My skin on my face just feels healthier for me.
You can do a test by offering your menstrual blood diluted in water to your plants and see them grow and get healthier. I have friends whose flowers started blooming right away.
I had to do this as a healing part of my journey too. And often the thing you fear the most doing is what will set you free, and I set myself free when I started sharing.
For me it is really important to share my story and to help women who experience things I have, such as painful periods, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis and myomectomy heal the relationship with their periods, since our periods do tend to be more painful and sources of a lot of pain and many end up getting hysterectomies.
Since trying out these holistic methods, Mary apparently now has regular periods which last for three to four days at a time, which has led to vast improvements in Mary’s life.
I have my life back during my periods and can leave my home. I’m no longer crying from the excruciating pain while hugging my heating pad or puking in the toilet.
The painful PMSing, the cramps, the endometriosis pain, it all started dissipating month after month since I started reconnecting with my body, womb and periods.
Mary believes these holistic rituals have helped her reconnecting with her body, womb and menstrual cycle, allowing her to improve and heal her reproductive health issues.
Nowadays, Mary looks forward to her periods, and is even ‘excited’ when it comes to that time of the month.
Going forward, Mary wants to help other women overcome the stigma surrounding their menstrual cycle, seeing periods as being ‘sacred, beautiful, powerful, a part of their femininity and hopefully pain-free’.
Start with small rituals to reconnect with your body, womb and period. Start speaking to your womb, sending it love and asking for guidance.
There’s nothing shameful or sinful about you. You are sacred, worthy and powerful, simply because you are a woman.
Mary’s natural face mask might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but absolutely fair play to her for finding ways of feeling more comfortable and happy within her own body.