Puberty as a whole isn’t a fun experience, your body starts changing, hair grows in places it didn’t before, and you’re genuinely just confused for a lot of it. If you were a lucky kid you at least got a warning, for many of us that was not the case. On top of the complete shit storm that is your body completely changing, you also get to bleed for a week every month (if you’re part of the lucky half of the population).
Periods are not fun, at all, anyone who says they are, are liars. I feel like everyone has a horrific ‘first period’ story, whether it’s because it happened during a bad time, or if you were like me and just thought you were bleeding to death. The reasons I thought that was because I was never told it was happening, and that happens to a lot of us. I don’t know why, but parents think that you’ll somehow know what to do, or will be perfectly fine, but that’s just not the case.
Once you start on the bloody path you’re then told to hide the fact that you’ve started your period from everyone, especially men. You’re given the responsibility of ‘finally being a woman’ alongside the shame of of bleeding every single month. What then follows is the constant need to hide period products, any laundry that needs doing and generally just feeling shame whenever you’re experiencing it – and that’s just fucked up.
The moment that I realised feeling bad about my period was like the glass shattering on the stupidity of todays society – it was like a lightbulb moment. I literally was laying in bed and realised something: Everyone knows periods are a thing, half the world go through it, it’s a painful experience – so why am I feeling shame? Why am I hiding my period products and pretending that I don’t go through it? Why am I putting time into making others continue to perpetuate the idea that periods are a bad and dirty thing? And then I stopped hiding it and caring about how it made everyone else feel.
Thankfully I went through this realisation before my sisters started their period, so by the time they go to that point of puberty, they had already witnessed the lack of shits I was giving – they won’t admit it, but I know it helped them. It’s funny seeing men react to someone normalising period talks, because they’ll either be completely disgusted or the good ones are able to keep their heads calm.
I feel like as a woman, we’re socialised way too much to make others feel more comfortable, and we need to focus on ourselves more and be selfish.
I’ll finish this post on one more important reason why we need to start normalising periods – it make spreading knowledge a lot easier. Because when the topic is clouded in shame, people find it difficult to ask anything, let alone important questions. We need to be able to ask whats normal and what isn’t without feeling bad about it, it could honestly save a life and make someones life a lot easier.
Common questions that people want to ask but are too scared to:
- How much blood is too much blood? Flo Health say that: “Under normal conditions, menstrual blood loss only constitutes 2 to 3 tablespoons of blood each month. This amounts to approximately 30 to 50 milliliters. It’s normal to have heavier and lighter flow days during your periods. Heavier flow days usually occur at the beginning of your menstruation, and it tends to lighten as the days go by. Expelling some small clots is also considered normal.”
- Is it supposed to be brown? Towards the end of the period a lot of the blood is old blood, so that’s why it’s brown.
- Is discharge normal? Yes it’s completely normal, just keep an eye on the colour and consistency, if it suddenly changes go to your GP.
- Is my pain normal? Sadly yes, but if the pain is so severe that you can’t function and have other symptoms like puking – GO TO YOUR GP!
- Why do my boobs hurt before my period? Is this normal? Thanks to our hormones yes it is normal.
- Why do my emotions feel so whacky? Because.. hormones 😦
- Should I be so sad and depressed that I feel awful before my period? A little bit of sadness can be normal, but if it’s severe you need to go to your GP! (if you know anyone who experiences this, look into PMDD and seek help)
- What’s the best way to deal with the pain? Pain killers and hot water bottles are a life saver.