I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore, and I know too much to go back and pretend.
The Gospel Coalition just released a blatantly sexist article (sadly, written by a woman who has obviously internalized misogyny) titled, “PMS: The Monthly Fight with My Flesh.” I will let you google the article if you are interested in reading the entire piece, but just know that the final feeling it gives is shame for being a woman who has hormones.
The writer’s main thesis can be boiled down to this paragraph:
“Mostly we call it “Pre-Menstrual Syndrome” or “PMS.” I think we should call it a fight with the flesh. After all, for many women, PMS takes our battle with sin to the next level as we fight anger, irritability, despair, and self-pity. You break out in anger or burst into tears over something you know is trivial—and afterward experience not just remorse for the incident itself, but a peculiar resentment at the fact that your hormones made you do it.”
What makes this article coming from the TGC extra infuriating and hypocritical is that their associates over at The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) released an article in 2016 sanctifying man’s testosterone. In the article entitled, “Five Key Ways to Cultivate Biblical Manhood in Your Church,” the author states,
“Through this, the church needs to recover biblical manhood, Christian masculinity—what we might think of as sanctified testosterone. Where there is a lack of men—mature, godly men—the church will invariably suffer. The church in want of biblical, masculine service and leadership is an anemic church.”
My question for these people is why is it that man’s main hormones should be considered holy and something to be embraced, while woman’s main hormones are considered a sinful enemy to war against?
As a woman who has struggled with PMDD (the most severe form of PMS) for years, I have a few things to say about the condition.
One, PMS/PMDD is not something to fight against because you will lose. Female hormones (which are found in males as well) are powerful and they won’t stop fluctuating because God made women’s hormones to fluctuate. Making an enemy of our hormones will only worsen the painful emotional and mental symptoms many of us experience every month.
I used to believe that painful periods were part of “the fall,” and who knows, maybe they are; but when we make an enemy out of something as natural as PMS, we sign up to war against our very selves.
The more we war against ourselves, the more stressed out we get. The more stressed out we get, the more cortisol (the stress hormone) is released, creating even more severe hormonal imbalance. I know this because I used to war against myself so much that it may be one reason that my natural PMS turned into PMDD (a much more severe condition).
The truth is that society and religion has been shoving patriarchal values down my throat since I stepped onto this planet, so perhaps this is why I tried to war against myself for so many years. But, here is the thing, the patriarchy knows absolutely nothing about a woman’s body and so, it has no say in our lives.
I have found that the best way to deal with PMS/PMDD is to learn to FLOW WITH YOUR FLOW.
It’s not easy, but acceptance is the most important thing we can do to relieve our extra anxiety, fatigue, migraines, cramps, irritability, anger, mood swings, depression and even suicidal thoughts. That’s right, hormones are so powerful that sometimes they cause phycological breakdown. In this case, we often need medication and/or therapy to balance us out again, and that is OK.
However, even medication and therapy cannot war against hormones and expect to win. Medication and therapy, when needed, are simply tools to help us accept our bitter-sweet realities and FLOW WITH OUR FLOWS better.
If we are going to do this well, it is also important that we surround ourselves with people who are supportive, compassionate, understanding, patient and loving towards us. Anyone who makes us feel ashamed for having PMS/PMDD has got to go (at least during that time of the month).
In other words, the men who want to be part of our lives every day of the month, should try to understand our monthly flight better and be as sweet as pie to us when we are struggling with PMS/PMDD. This will only help everyone to feel better and will foster more balance, peace and love in our homes. This is not always easy as we women can certainly lose our cool when our hormones are shifting, but will you love us anyways because sometimes we seriously cannot help it?
It’s also important to remember that the symptoms are not all bad. During certain times of the month, our fluctuating hormones can give us “hear me roar” type of energy in which we can utilize for our benefit if we learn to control it by flowing with our flows. PMS can give us extra confidence to say what must be said and do what must be done, so just go with it.
Every cycle is a chance to renew our lives.
We not only bleed out physical toxins that the body cannot handle, we also bleed out stressful things in our lives that we are having trouble letting go of. In letting go and letting things flow, we have an opportunity to release all of the negativity and start fresh each month. Remember, “there is a season for everything under Heaven.” The only way to let go of something is to accept it.
What if the Bible is true when it says that God’s creation is good, very good? What if the Bible is true when it says that we are wonderfully and complexly made in God’s very image? What if PMS is part of God’s natural design and not our “sinful flesh” in which we need to resist or declare war on? What if God is simply teaching both men and women how to flow better with women’s flows?
What if, as God’s people, we are spiritually sanctified from head to toe by Jesus – no matter what is going on in our bodies hormonally? What if Jesus actually does love and accept us just as we are because the war has already been fought and won by Him?
“Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.”