Breaking the silence #PeriodPride

The initiative ‘Period Pride’ has been going on for a week at Write Tribe and I was not sure if I want to write about this or do I have the courage to tell my menstruation tale on a public platform. And then I read Tulika’s post this morning which prompted me to take the plunge.

I was 12 years old when I first bled. Thankfully, it was winter vacation and me and my brother were playing in our home’s lawn with our pup whom we had brought home a week back. 2 carpenters were working at home at that time. My mother had come to speak briefly with the carpenters when she looked into my direction and noticed something. She immediately ushered me inside the bedroom. She took out an old bedsheet, cut out a piece out of it, rolled it, handed me over along with a clean pair of clothes and sent me to the bathroom explaining how to place the cloth roll and to change the clothes.

I wish I knew

I was caught unawares. The urgency and the secrecy  was grueling. Sitting in the bathroom, I cried and cried thinking I might have got pregnant. I repeatedly questioned myself if just thinking about the guy from the class who had expressed his crush on me several months ago could cause pregnancy? When I came out, Mummy explained to me about the body’s mechanism and that she also goes through it. It felt normal knowing about this, yet I wished I had known it at the outset and thus would have saved myself from the near traumatic state of breaking down.

Secrecy

I did not have periods for another year and regular periods started 2 years later. By that time, most of the girls had begun menstruating and all the boys in the class knew about it. One of my classmate’s mother was a nurse and hence this girl, with her accurate knowledge, was huge support to all the girls. There was an air of secrecy among the girls as it was a case of mockery among the boys around this topic.

Discomfort of periods

My periods were always marked by acute cramps in the first 2 days and I was forced to miss school or to pop-up a pain killer in case of exams. As far as I remember, I dreaded those 4 days because of the pain,  the dampness & inconvenience of the cloth pad and the stains. Sanitary napkins became a part of my life much later.

There weren’t any social restrictions in my home. I never knew if any restrictions really existed until the time I got married into an ardently religious family. I adhered to all the restrictions as a mark of respect to the in-laws but I never understood how the cooking ghee got impure with my touch during the menstruating days when I took bath everyday and kept myself clean. I have to admit I happily stayed away from all the religious rituals, temples and pujas since I had lost faith in them and they were no more than a chore for me.

Breaking silence

These days I am vocal about periods. When I miss my yoga classes and the male Yoga teacher asks why did I miss, I conveniently tell him I missed due to periods. For a long time, he considered me to be a Christian because Hindu women are supposed to be conservative when it comes to this matter. Yes, there are myths galore.

Breaking the silence also means that I shall be imparting the awareness about menstruation to my son when he comes of appropriate age because boys have to be understanding so that they find no more amusement or mockery in what the girls go through.

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Linking this post to Naari and Period Pride | Blogging Competition #PeriodPride via Write Tribe

15 thoughts on “Breaking the silence #PeriodPride

  1. Obsessivemom says:

    Sending you hugs Anamika. It’s weird how older women don’t realise the trauma a young girl goes through. The sight of blood on your clothes is so scary. No one should ever be caught unawares. I had promised myself I’d talk to my daughter on her tenth birthday about it and I did. So she is kind of prepared though when it does happen it going to be a whole different story. Thanks for the mention. Glad it prompted you to write.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vasantha Vivek says:

    Love to you, Anamika. Your initial paragraphs about your first periods made me to think a lot. It’s really a mother’s duty to educate her child irespective of the gender to understand about periods and other things related to it.

    Like

  3. El@ says:

    It calls for lot of courage to share such a tale which most of girls have gone through ..Being caught unaware and not sure whats going around . Post marriage I also go through the conventional “touch me not” stuff though even I hold same logic of cleanliness . To add to misery I am not even allowed in kitchen forgot ghee or water . I wonder there would be a time when parents shall need me more owing to growing age ; I wonder how will i keep up to these traditions ? I would prefer to break them ! We have been evolving with time by why this thought remains static ( read stale ) .. I am hopeful whole society would be more “acceptable” and logical going forward when we speak of “period” .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Esha Mookerjee-Dutta says:

    Great post, Anamika. I think the change has to come with this generation of kids and a attitudinal change is what is most needed. Understanding what a girl goes through and making sure it is not her ‘shame’ but the fact that it is a natural function of a woman’s body is what can truly make a difference.

    Like

  5. Dashy says:

    Sanitary napkins have made it more convenient hasn’t it? I find it funny that I hadn’t even realised the stain was blood my first time. My mom had told me about it but I failed to connect the dots. It is a necessity to prepare all girls before their first time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Roshan R says:

    As a doc, we see terrible prejudices related to this… mothers never talk about it with their kids, the old traditions come in full force making the girl almost an object of mockery in her class.
    I Dont know if you know it but in some parts, there are actual parties held with posters made by the family letting the town know that their kid had her first period and everyone is invited for the festivity. Imagine all your classmates seeing that on the roadside walls!

    Like

  7. susieshy45 says:

    Loved your post Anamika- very honest and from the heart. I was totally uneducated before I got my first period. But when I did have it, aged 12 – it was just a few spots and my mother who seemed to have been prepared for this eventuality, immediately provided me with the same homemade napkins you wrote about. Soon we graduated to Stayfree which was available in the early 80’s. I stayed home for about 2 weeks- and even though we never celebrated or was kept away from the kitchen or was not considered impure, I heard such stories from my classmates who said their mothers were kept in sheds outside their homes until they were declared pure by powers that be.
    As a mother of two daughters and a doctor to boot, my children knew about the monthlies and were prepared for them- in fact, they came to me, saying they saw blood. These days children are educated through schools and there are pads provided in schools too- so there is a lot of awareness- am not sure if the rituals still are followed but have never heard of such for at least 20 years now.
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Parul Thakur says:

    Great post, Anamika and you know my take about the topic. The way it is dealt with in India or was dealt with when we were growing up was very ugly. I am guessing today’s parents are more open and things are changing cos that is what we need to accept something as normal as menstruation.

    Like

  9. shalzmojo says:

    I can empathise hugely with you; I am one of those whose mom was very embaressed by this and wouldnt explain it at all – your post has inspired me to write my own; even though the contest is over! Cheers

    Like

  10. RamyaRao says:

    I remember my mom telling how inconvenient the cloth was and she made it a point to tell me about periods well in advance. Not much, but a bit. And she would taught me hmthe right things. And everyone at my place were secret about it, especially nosy relatives. I made it a point to be open about it. That’s how conversations happen at my home and we all have periods. Don’t we? So what is a guy listens or thinks something about it.
    I loved the honesty ,Anamika. Like always. 😃

    Like

  11. vishalbheeroo says:

    Glad you wrote about it, Anamika. As humans, we need to speak and women should be open to help trash out those stupid rituals of not touching kinds of stuff during prayers or in the kitchen. The education and awareness are needed to make a better society.

    Like

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