Women are wonderfully created in that we have been given great gifts that are unique to our femininity. The first is menstruation (our period), the second is gestation (pregnancy) and the third is lactation (breastfeeding).
It’s important to view these three things as gifts, because when they aren’t seen as gifts, they’re seen as annoyances or worse – things that need to be eradicated.
While it can’t be denied that menstruation is uncomfortable, that pregnancy requires self – sacrifice and that breast feeding takes patience, each of these things are means by which women are showered with God’s graces. Let’s take a closer look at each of them and find out why.
Biologically, menstruation is the shedding of the endometrial lining and is the opening act of the menstrual cycle. Spiritually, it is the carrying of the cross before the resurrection. Let’s focus on this carrying of the cross analogy for a bit.
We know that Jesus’s resurrection could not have happened without his suffering and dying for our sins. And so in the same way we can’t get to the miracle of ovulation unless we go through the pains of menstruation. Just like Jesus we bring new life through suffering.
Think about it this way, when we are going through our period pains, we are actually sharing in Jesus’s suffering! Not only are we sharing in Jesus’s suffering, we are also sanctified. Sanctified – or sanctification – is the process of being made holy. We are made more perfect and grow closer to sainthood. All suffering humbles us and reminds us of our weakness and ironically enough, pulls us closer into God’s embrace.
2. Gestation (Pregnancy)
Pregnancy gets to the heart of femininity, because at the heart of femininity is motherhood. As women we are made to be mothers, both spiritually and physically.
When a woman says yes to pregnancy, she – just like Our Blessed Mother – becomes a walking tabernacle (the golden box at church where Jesus is kept). She carries within her the future of the Church. What an honor!
Without our yes to pregnancy, God’s family does not grow. Pregnancy is far from a burden, it is in actuality a privilege. As Alice Von Hildebrand says in her book The Privilege of Being a Woman; “Maternity is the great female charism which corresponds to the charism of priesthood granted to some men” (96). Both mothers and priests give life. Priests give us the bread of life – Jesus – and our mothers give us the bodies through which we experience Jesus.
In addition to these spiritual pluses there is also the biological plus, of developing breasts that are more resistant to cancer. Bringing a pregnancy to full term believe it or not, helps a woman’s breasts cells develop to full maturity and become less susceptible to carcinogens. That’s how much God loves us. Not only does he allow us to participate with him in creating new life, he also makes our bodies healthier in the process!
So let us never run away from motherhood or frown at it because of our preconceived notions of maternity. Let’s be open to the way that God is calling us to motherhood. I guarantee that God will surprise you with His goodness.
3. Lactation (Breastfeeding)
Last but not least, the third female super power is breastfeeding. What about breastfeeding can possibly be powerful? Many things!
The first is that it strengthens the bond between mother and child. As the mother breastfeeds, the hormone oxytocin is released and acts like a glue as it fortifies the love between mother and child. And similarly to pregnancy, breastfeeding also has a positive relationship to cancer prevention. Just like in pregnancy, a woman’s breast cells mature and are made more resistant to carcinogens.
Going back to the spiritual for a moment, we see again the parallel between priesthood and motherhood. Just as priests give us spiritual nourishment our mothers give us physical nourishment from their breasts. Their very bodies are our source of life in the early period of our lives.
As we can from these super powers, being a woman is amazing. God has placed in us signs of heaven. This is why it is crucial that we not only recognize our super powers, but also put them to work. A super power that is put on the bench, is a super power wasted. I pray that this article has given you a deeper appreciation of your femininity. I know it has for me. God bless you.
If you’d like to learn more about your female gifts, consider joining the Sisterhood community here.
Our Lady of Victory; pray for us!