Motherhood // Talking positively about periods (+ being a woman)

Motherhood // Talking positively about periods  (+ being a woman)

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!


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  1. 4th March 2016 / 7:39 am

    It’s a huge responsibility being a mum and moulding them into positive little people. Luca once questioned me about why I was bleeding and I told him a similar story. It’s important for our boys to have an understanding too in the hope that they will be more caring men when the time comes.

  2. 4th March 2016 / 10:45 am

    Hi Hannah

    It was a refreshing read and something that we had a little chat about very recently. G follows me to the toilet and in horror asks why I’m bleeding and to “not move mummy you’ll make it worse, call ambulance”. I knew then that I was not going to make up some story just because she’s young. She too is very smart and my first response is the one she’ll remember so I told her honestly that mummy was having her period and that she too would have them when she’s older. She later told the lady at the Post Office counter that I had a period belly lol oops!

  3. 4th March 2016 / 9:30 pm

    I think it’s so important to be honest about these things. My nana told me that she didn’t know what a period was until she got her first one, and I can’t even begin to imagine how scary that must be. Since then I’ve always wanted to be as open about them as possible xx

  4. 5th March 2016 / 9:30 pm

    YES! Loving this post Hannah. I feel such a responsibility to be as honest and open about everything, I don’t want my girls to be worried about things or to be those kids at school who are so naive the other kids laugh about it. I had a similar conversation with my 3 yr old, who is particularly squeamish. I tried to be as matter of fact about things as possible so that she didn’t worry and she just accepted it and carried on talking about something else. Thanks for sharing x

  5. 6th March 2016 / 8:04 pm

    YES!! Loved this post so ‘bloody’ much. (Sorry *winks*)

    I’m absolutely with you, this shame and embarassment we feel, has to stop. Having a period is as natural as having a wee and the more we own this and be open and honest about it = especially with our daughters – the easier it will become.

    Great post. This is going in my newsletter tomorrow. Mwah x

  6. Steph
    7th March 2016 / 10:51 pm

    I love this so much Hannah, and I’m thrilled that there are so many other women who want to reject the oppressive norm that says talking about periods is taboo. You make such a good point about the negativity involved in discussions about birth and menstruation (and the female body, full stop!)

    I think you explained it to Busby in the best way – to learn that periods are positive, that they mean you can create life – it’s such an empowering message for a little girl to get about the female body! Xx

  7. 28th May 2016 / 12:36 pm

    Really interesting post. I have two boys and I must admit I’ve not known quite how to explain to my oldest (nearly 4) when he’s asked about my mooncup…! So important, though, to be open and honest about these things, with both boys and girls.

  8. 28th May 2016 / 1:30 pm

    I’ve always been quite open about periods and explained that that’s what happens when you’re a lady and over the past year have explained in a bit more detail “it’s when your body gets ready each month to have a baby but if there’s no baby then you bleed”. Somehow I will never forget her classic line when she was about 3 “mummy, can I pull the string?”. “Err no darling!”

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