Periods are one of ‘those’ subjects, almost a taboo, where I think women are often classed as slightly looney for even daring to write or talk about them.
Even as I write this, I’m mulling over ten different disclaimers in my head, just in case anyone is grossed out by my words… Isn’t that ridiculous? Periods are something that happen to women all over the world, every month, and yet we’re still apologising for having them.
In someways the subject of periods is like birth; only recently are we stepping out and discussing how our births went in more than just horror story mode. Women are having beautiful births, even orgasmic births, and we’re beginning to realise that discussing only the ‘pain’ of birth will lead to unnecessary fear and negativity.
Steph, who I follow on Instagram, shared an image of an interesting article today by Lisa Lister. It was about understanding your menstrual cycle – arming yourself with the knowledge of when you’ll be at your strongest mentally and physically (the first half of your cycle), and accepting that your hormone levels will drop and that you’ll be slower in the second half of your cycle. Understanding that we shouldn’t have to live in a world of “well it happens, so deal with it, but don’t complain because it’s gross and we don’t want to know about it… And don’t even *think* about calling in sick – even if you can barely move – because it’s just your period. But yeah, don’t talk to me about that. Yuck.“.
But why should we have to be silent on the matter? Why should it be a negative thing? A monthly ‘curse’? Why should we have to apologise for having periods? Surely that means, in a roundabout way, that we’re apologising for being women? (Gosh, I’m going all feminist on you!)
I found myself in a strange scenario this week. I had my usual toilet audience of my two little people; H-Bear was attempting to climb on (and eat) everything, and Busby was sat on the stool watching me. Suddenly Busby leapt up and said “Mummy! You’re bleeding!”. I didn’t really know how to respond. To be honest I felt a little embarrassed, even ashamed! But I realised in that moment that my daughter was about to learn about periods, and it was my responsibility to discuss it with her in a way that would mould how she viewed them for the rest of her life.
I didn’t want to scare her; she’s only three, and the only time she’s seen blood has been in a painful situation. I wanted to explain to her sensitively what was happening – she’s a smart cookie and understands a fair amount, so I told her that it’s not bad blood (trying hard not to sing Taylor Swift) – it’s good, because it means my body is ready to have another baby, and that she’ll have periods when she’s a big girl too… and then she reeled off a long list of women in her life that might have periods – so apologies to my mum, Nick’s mum and Auntie Zoë who may be met with questions…!
The deeper I delve into the Motherhood Wilderness, the more I realise how important it is to be positive about being a woman. Especially in the presence of my children. How what I say about being female will greatly impact on their views, their fears, their opinions of the world, and their treatment of others.
Phew… that’s a lot of responsibility!