It's unladylike to discuss periods. That's the rule, right? And perhaps I agree with that if we're all sitting about the dinner table, or meeting someone for the first time, or talking to a baby, or even a dog because you know the mutt doesn't wanna hear it - he's not a bear.
But in a perfectly normal 'Salt'n'Pepa' moment, I believe we should talk and share.
I was taught all about the ways of the ovaries when I was 10. I recall the chat well because I had a sore stomach one summer night, and my Mum decided there and then to scare the bejesus out of me by not sugar coating a bit of what happens when we turn into women - And I'm glad she didn't hide one fact. She wasn't purposefully trying to make getting your period scary, it was just that I was 10 and two hours previously had been playing like a child, and blood was something that only happened to my knees. (Clumsy from birth). Despite this warning of impending monthly doom, I didn't get mine for another four years. The only time I saw tampons was after school when my friends and I dared each other to buy them in the chemist. WE WERE FEARLESS! And possibly the biggest geeks ever to have been born.
My point in this whole thing is that it surprises me how little we as women talk to each other about Down There. It takes a 'celeb' to go through cervical cancer before we freak out and get our own smear. It takes a storyline on TV to make us sit up and take notice. But never have I heard an open discussion with other women about which gynecologist is better or what's normal down there. It's something of a puzzle to work out on your own, in my experience.
Personally, I have problems with finding the right kind of pill in order to keep the world free from my genes. Mother nature isn't ready for that kind of awesomeness, amirite? I've tried three different types and each one is like getting a dark curtain of 'Meh' over my life. I care for nothing, everything is awful and I'm going to die alone wrapped in pages of my crap writing, my body being eaten by some random frog. Saying that, I've had wonderful advice from healthcare professionals, and the symptoms I've encountered are typical side effects they had warned me about, hence I was able to see why certain types aren't right for me.
I've had some frank discussions in the past with friends who, unlike me, haven't had a problem with the pill, some who choose not to use hormones at all, some who are wanting to have a child, some who don't believe in any protection for religious reasons, and some who have been left in the dark, feeling that depression, weight gain, moods swinging like a bitch, were just the price we pay for protecting ourselves from unwanted pregnancy. It's not though, and if we all shared our experiences more freely, about everything - if we left our embarrassment at the door, we could possibly help those of us who don't have a way of finding out for themselves other than through trial and error.
When she was sick, and preparing us for a life without her, I recall my mother telling my dad not to give off about the amount of tampons and toilet roll that ladies use, and he never did, although he often stated his surprise. He bought the tampons, pads, painkillers and everything else necessary to make sure I didn't go postal once a month. Fun Fact - I once took the living room door off it's hinges because my brother had eaten all my cookies
I know I was lucky from the get go - My family, being the chit chat-weirdos they are, (not I!), are how I learned about all the madness we encounter along the way to becoming a grown up.
With thanks to my brilliant Mum, who sat me down and told me how fabulous us females are at making life, without censorship. To my wonderfully kind and patient Dad who manned up and came to my rescue when even I was too embarrassed to get the necessities in the chemist because there was a good looking chap behind the counter or the old lady was scary or because I was too feckin' lazy. (Mostly the last part). Last but not least, my brother for putting up with my sister and I, and for being a fast learner and always leaving the chocolate where it was.
So, while modesty is great for a lot of things, if you have kids, don't make it strange to ask about the human body. If you don't have children, be as thankful as I am for the sleep we get, but also talk about stuff you're bothered about with your chums, or research anything you need to know. Get a good doctor and use the knowledge they should have. If they don't, get another doctor!
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