The number of times I had my period in the last 6 years can be counted on my fingers. And no, I am not past menopause or taking hormones. My period stayed away due to 2 pregnancies and a lot of breastfeeding. After almost 3 years of no period, I started menstruating again last month. My son turned 2 last month too.
I had my first period when I was almost 14, it must be about 17 years ago now. Even though most of my female classmates had their period already, I had no idea what was coming at me. Some shared their first period, describing the horrible pain, sometimes there were mean period jokes (red paint on a swing was supposed to be the bleeding of one girl).
When it happened it took me by surprise. I wasn’t really prepared or ready, even though seen my age I should have been. It took me a lot of courage to ask my mom for tampons. For me, the topic was uncomfortable as I did not feel comfortable with the situation I was in. Every time I had my period I worried that someone might know, that I might stain my clothing etc.
So staining my clothing might have been an acceptable worry, but why worry about whether or not others knew? After all, it’s a monthly occurrence for most women. Still, for a very long time, I worried to ask my mom for supplies (when I shouldn’t have). Later on, I died inside of shame when I walked into a male friend (who had a girlfriend) while buying pads.
Now, I don’t feel uncomfortable talking about menstruating anymore. I am in a stable relationship, have two kids. Anyone who has had kids can attest that suddenly your body gets turned into the least private thing on earth. Monthly checkups during pregnancy and especially the very private questions after giving birth (and everyone seeing you naked, bleeding and whatnot) made me definitely more cool on the subject.
Promoting period pants on Instagram is currently in fashion and Michelle Obama on Tuesday said some very interesting things on the topic. We have to educate girls better, i.e. talk to them about their period and not expect that they have learnt everything about it in school. So don’t hide the tampons, put them into a sweet jar next to the toilet (my aunt displays them that way). Let people know “I am a woman and with that comes menstruating if you like it or not!”