When I first started talking about my periods, I was asking my friends questions because I actually had no benchmark to work from to know if mine were indeed ‘up the spout’ or they were alright.
Apart from the general bemoaning about being on our periods, or due on I found that other than that I hadn’t talked to my friends much at all and the faces they were pulling at me asking what sanitary protection they used or how often they changed it I could tell that they also weren’t that comfortable with the convo either.
Some even said so “jeez Gem what the hell do you want to know all this for anyway?”
Since I have taken a more not giving a flying fuck about talking about periods vag steams yoni eggs and what your labia looks like, it has come to my glaring attention that we have absolutely no idea what goes on for other women and I believe the cost of this silence is really damaging.
I have spoken with teachers who teach children to be discreet with there sanitary pads, ok so maybe you don’t want to unpack it and stick it to your forehead before proceeding to the bathroom, but seriously we don’t need a tin a special bag or to tuck it under our sleeve like it is some sort of detonation device. It’s a fucking pad or tampon and the world isn’t going to end if someone else – even a boy sees it.
I have handed a tampon to a doctor thinking it was a pen when I nursed, I thought it was hilarious and I didn’t get sacked or anything we laughed and moved on.
This may well seem silly to even mention it’s just sanitary pads who cares, but that mindset runs deep. When I have women asking me what will happen if their partner sees blood in the toilet if they use a menstrual cup, I assume you see semen at times? I assume no one freaks out about that goop?
The trouble with this is that we stop talking to each other, the apologies I get from women about what they are about to say is too much information signals to me that deep shame still runs at the core of talking about such things that happen ‘down there’
The price of this well kept and maintained hush is that we aren’t talking about our bleeds and blindly going along thinking we are ok because let’s face it we have nothing to compare it to do we? I”m pleased to say there are women folk out there that did grow up in more open talks about puberty and periods which is great.
However, when does it ever get talked about that your periods will change after you have a baby for instance? I’ve been an antenatal teacher for many years and this has never even crept in. I think it would be helpful to at least mention it, especially if like me you know about that stuff.
There is a bit of an air that talking about your periods makes you some kind of weirdo, or tree hugger or woo sister. I’ll take that I probably resonate with all of the above but I’m also really pragmatic about the fact we need to have the conversations. How else are we going to possibly break down walls of silence and shame for women if we don’t?
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Big love G x