I got my first period when I was in grade six. I remember my friends cornered me at my house, tickling me until I told them what was going on with my body.
“Okay, okay I got my period!!” I finally yelled. My face was bright red and my ears were burning. Looking back I can only describe this as embarrassment, maybe even shame. But the young girls did not want to ridicule me, they wanted to know if it hurts, if it was like peeing. Did I put a tampon up there? How much blood?
Let’s reduce the stigma
Menstruation in our culture is so behind in terms of stigma, acceptance and understanding. 20 years on and I still discreetly grab my little period pack from my bag at work and hide it in my pocket until I get to the bathroom because ‘no one should know when you’re bleeding.’ Why not?! My ovaries feel like they are about to split open and my belly is swollen, my lower back is killing me and I just ate an entire share packet of Maltesers to myself. I don’t feel like being at work, I don’t even feel like being around people, and I am meant to just keep all this to myself for five days a month? I’m sick of pretending that 50% of human beings in our world aren’t going through the same experience.
We need to open the conversation around bleeding and be there to support each other when we have shitty days or when we ruin beautiful new linen bed sheets. We need our brothers, our boyfriends, husbands, and dads to be understanding and gentle with us at this time, because, come on ladies, we do a great job of caring for them at all other times. And we need our patriarchal workplaces to start giving us period days on top of sick leave for the times our cramps or PMS are so bad we can’t even think straight, let alone populate a spreadsheet.
Enough with my ranting
One day during one of my rants, a friend of mine told me about her period underwear. I was curious, how did they work? She explained that she just wears them as normal underwear and they absorb your blood, then you rinse them when they are getting full and you can throw them in the washing machine.
I was hooked! As someone who has never been a fan of the chemicals and toxins in tampons, I didn’t really like wearing them inside me, and the reusable menstrual cup felt a bit awkward to me as well. According to DivaCup, the average woman uses 20 tampons per period which adds up to 240 tampons per year! I used to wear a lot of pads but the environmental waste and hassle of it all was not ideal.
So I purchased a pack of three period undies and they are hands down my favourite. Not only am I reducing my waste and doing my bit for the environment, I am also saving money, as I don’t have to buy a new packet of “Overnights” for night time or “Regular Winged” for the day, every single month. They feel comfortable to wear and I never think about someone noticing the pad while wearing my skinny jeans or yoga tights.
I’ve slowly started to welcome getting my period
I know so many women who say they hate getting their periods, who call them gross and who often skip them if they can. My journey has been a little different. I actually enjoy getting my period, as it is a time that I allow myself to just slow down. And we don’t do that much do we.
I know when it is coming as I understand the changes in my body and mind.
I begin to say no to big social events I don’t have the energy for, I work from home on the couch with my comfy period proof underwear underneath my track pants, a hot water bottle resting on my tummy and my feet up in fluffy slippers. I eat nourishing foods like sweet potato and wholesome meals (as well as a bit of chocolate of course). I rest when I need to rest and most importantly, I am gentle with myself.
Women’s bodies are magical
We can create a tiny human inside of us! I’m just going to let that one sink in…
How incredible to be able to have these cycles were our bodies are becoming fertile to potentially create a living thing and when we are not ready for that process, we clean out our ‘house’ and re-enter the new cycle with new intentions and more energy, ready to do it all again.
Nature has cycles (seasons) and we are part of that, having our own cycles for creation. We often forget how connected we are to our mother earth, and we need to reconnect to that power and we need to protect her. Sustainable, toxin-free and environmentally period products are a great opportunity for you to reconnect to the woman you are.