That time of joy in every woman's month.
As I type, I sit with ibuprofen coursing through my bloodstream, heat-pad nestled on my swollen tummy, my mood veering between wanting to punch someone or fuck their brains out.
I've had a tempestuous relationship with Mother Nature, ever since she paid me her first visit. Every girl remembers her first period. Mine was... awkward. My mother never talked about the subject, nor did my older sister. That fateful morning I discovered what happened overnight, I hesitantly approached my mother and told her. She promptly took me into the bathroom, handed me a pad the size of a super king mattress and left me to it, with the advice I might feel unwell and sore and to take an aspirin if that happened.
From then on, whenever I required 'supplies', I would drop the code, ("I need more of those things...") and a packet would magically appear in my bottom drawer.
I saw an advert for LilLets tampons and was intrigued and desperate to try them; I was much too shy to buy them myself.
I read advice in the Problem Pages about how to broach the delicate matter with your mother. Summoning up all my tender courage, I sat next to her one day with the advert open, pointed to it and tentatively said, "I'd really like to try these, please." She raised her eyebrows, "You do know they go... inside you?!"
I nodded, blushing. She sniffed and said fine, if that's what I wanted.
Fast-forward some years and I reached the point of buying my own tampons... the embarrassment passed down from my dear mother lingered.
My approach was akin to a spotty teenage boy buying condoms:
1. grab the box, shielding it from the eyes of other shoppers
2. place it on the counter, probably hidden under a magazine
3. blush furiously while paying for my shameful purchase
Now, people, I know periods are a natural phenomenon and absolutely nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. I hope any mothers out there reading realise how crucial their handling of the menstruation subject is. My poor mother was obviously very uncomfortable with the topic and it affected my attitudes for many years.
I am learning to be bolder about the topic, obviously, as I spill my period-related secrets publicly on my blog!
For example, my unfortunate twitter friends are aware of my cycle, as I frequently tweet about my PMS-induced brain fog, sore boobs or bloating, alongside my monthly announcements that my uterus has declared war on me.
I no longer hide my tampon box underneath my shopping. I recently made a very typically female purchase of tampons, white wine, paracetemol and a bag of salad. All that was missing was a box of chocolates!
A friend of mine recently told me she is a fan of the Moon Cup; when I shared this fact with the OH, as I write opposite him, his face drained of blood, (pardon the pun), and he looked ill.
If men had periods, would the world be different?
The OH informs me a law would be passed stating if anyone pissed you off as you bled from your genitals you'd be allowed justifiable homicide. He also says men would absolutely be allowed work leave for one week a month. Before male readers attack me... this is coming from one of your own, not my words!
If men had periods, major advances in pain relief and contraception would be prioritized and made. Furthermore, sanitary protection would be cheaper - if not free.
And, of course, men would be very loud about their pain and suffering... If you've ever experienced the Oscar-winning histrionics of man-flu, imagine the wailing and moaning once blood, (sometimes serious quantities of it), begins to flow from their penises. Add the excruciating cramps ripping through their bodies, man boobs so painful fabric touching them brings tears - I won't even go into the bathroom details... in case any of you are of a delicate disposition.
However, for all my whining about The Curse, I tend to welcome her as a sign my body is healthy and working. After a hiccup years ago where they disappeared for a couple of years, I am happy to feel that familiar heaviness in my stomach that indicates She is on the way.
Knowing my next challenge will be the cessation of my monthly companion, and all that entails, (vaginal dryness, hot flushes, weight gain, mood swings, tears, lack of sex drive, possibly a moustache), makes me more grateful at her arrival.
Women, embrace your femininity and all that goes with it.
Men, be extra sweet to the women in your lives when THAT time of month comes around, and be bloody grateful that you got that Y chromosome... period!
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