Hormones, P.M.S., and Holiness

I woke up the other morning feeling very irritable. It’s that time of the month again. When I was a teen, I had absolutely no control over the surge of hormones that rushed to every inch of my body, aggressively flooding my flesh with cravings and aggravations.

I’m an adult woman now. I need to stop using P.M.S. as an excuse for eating junk and speaking harshly. I need to take responsibility over my hormones, and, instead of being swayed by them, master them. Easier said than done…

God is merciful and compassionate, and, in His wisdom, He gives us a relatively predictable cycle, with all sorts of signs to help us understand our sacred, mysterious, and beautiful bodies. This means, that I can actually predict, or at least, diagnose my irritability along with my insatiable hunger.

So, that morning, I decided that it was not going to be a repeat of the last month, and, let’s be honest, every month since I was 13. I got up, kissed my baby good morning, changed his diaper, fed him breakfast, read him a book, and- thankfully it was the weekend- passed him unto my husband. I told my husband exactly how I was feeling and why. I told him that I did not want to lash out at him for him practicing his scales on the guitar or at our son for being his playful self.

I knew all I needed was an hour to myself, to pray, to breath, to rest in the serenity and solitude of silence… This short hour nourished me so much so that I actually emerged from the basement in good spirits ready to listen to the song my husband had been working on, which an hour before was causing me great irritation.

I learned that experiencing P.M.S. can be an opportunity for spiritual growth. I absolutely do not have to allow hormones to get the best of me. These hormones do not have to push all my virtues and graces out the window for the next few days.

From my own experience, it has really helped me to become conscious of P.M.S. and to predict and diagnose it before it gets out of hand. I pay extra attention to my breath and am also extra gentle with myself.

My advice: do everything slowly. Be slow to think, to speak, and to do. Go inside of yourself and don’t let anyone or anything, no matter how annoying and irritating, get you to come out.

Re-think the silent treatment. Instead of giving it to others, give it to yourself. Be like Mary, she kept all things in her heart. Her silence was empty of bitterness and poured over in sweetness. As Psalm 4 entreats us, “Be angry but sin not, commune in your hearts on your own bed and be silent” (Psalm 4). Don’t leave your metaphorical bed. Be kind to yourself. Take it easy. As Jesus says, although our spirit is willing, our flesh is weak. By God’s grace, may our spirit become more willing and may our flesh become less weak.

And men, if you happen to be reading this article about P.M.S. (God bless you!), please be extra patient with your wives, daughters, and any other woman in your life. And women, be honest, be vulnerable, be soft: let those that live with you know that you are struggling today. Let them know that you are feeling irritable and that you need time to yourself and to please go buy you chocolate (actually, try to avoid sugar!). Stay within yourself. This is not a time for expression. This is a time for introspection, for purification. May this blessed time be spiritually edifying and sanctifying. Praise God for our feminine genius. I love being a woman.

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