From the moment we start hearing about them in school we are taught that periods are a little embarrassing, a little awkward.
Girls hide their sanitary towels or tampons under their school blazer as they scurry to the bathroom to freshen up, they ask their friends to turn on the hand dryer so nobody can hear the peeling of the packaging and they tell male friends they have a tummy bug rather than admit to period cramps.
You’re in the line in Boots trying to hide your feminine products but have no issue placing shampoo and moisturiser on the counter, despite them being of equal necessity.
We dose up on painkillers to get through the school or college day. We pretend the pain is nothing until we return home where baggy pyjama bottoms and a hot water bottle are the first things we grab.
We even get awkward asking for medical help, telling our GP of our pain or collecting prescriptions with medication
The reality is society has conditioned us to be this way.
It’s Not The Same For Everyone
Everyone is different and so are their periods. For some they may feel very little pain, they may bleed very lightly and in two to three days it is all forgotten. For others, the fear of bleeding through our clothes lingers, the pain leaves us crippled over and after eight or nine days we are wondering if it’ll ever stop.
We need to be aware of this, we need to understand everyone and build a society that accepts and caters for all.
It Is Sore!
I remember at school each month I would be in so much pain I would be at the point of passing out, in fact this happened more than once.
When the school nurse would come I would say ‘period pains’ in a low voice so the boys in the class wouldn’t hear.
However, if they hurt themselves at rugby, if someone had a sore throat or headache then this was deemed an acceptable pain to share.
Periods are painful, they are stressful and uncomfortable and yet each month we are expected to carry on without a single complaint about the issue.
School, college and work all carry on as normal, no sickness is accounted for and no help is granted.
It is, as it seems, out of sight and out of mind.
News Flash, Tight Clothes Are Not Comfy
You know yourself girls, nothing feels better than baggy bottoms, loose and airy when you are on your period.
School uniforms with a high waisted stiff skirt and warm rigid shirt are not comfy at this time. Standing behind a counter at work all day can at times be a strenuous task. Doing all of this with a smile on your face as if nothing is wrong is an acting skill, seriously.
Life Goes On
Life simply moves on, we grin and bear it and wait until it looms its head again the following month.
We are taught, even expected to be this way and quite frankly this is madness.
Periods are a normal and natural part of life. We should be taught this as soon as we are exposed to it in school so we can grow to have a healthy relationship with our period and our body as we mature, rather than hide it away as if it is something to be ashamed of.
We should be encouraged to talk, to seek help and above all we should be helped. Our pain and discomfort should be recognised and measures taken.
I am sure, after reading this there is at least part of it that in one shape or form we can all identify with.
Have you ever suffered in silence during your period? Have you ever hidden it or disguised it as something else so males do not feel uncomfortable?
Enough is enough, right?
Now is when we should be changing this narrative and we need to do it together.