Experiencing menstrual problems is something that I’ve always been upfront about with my boys and yet, I have a feeling that they will never, in fact, NO MAN will ever, understand the true shame, (guilt, even — for having it or complaining about it for fear of being shunned or being labelled as whinny).
But it IS a problem all women go through and we suffer not only monthly pains, everything else related to starting and raising a family is placed solely on the shoulders of women. And we’re not permitted to complain about it.
“For example, the homeless do not have access to menstrual products but for students, the school toilets may not be clean or have proper bins in the cubicles, which makes changing pads difficult,” she said. — The Painful Reality of Period Poverty in Malaysia
Sometimes, the periods get so bad that it reduces us to nothing more than puddles of misery. And yet, if a woman was to call in sick from work because she knows she is not able to fully function for the day, it is assumed that she’s merely using it as an excuse.
And that’s why we rarely do it.
The truth is this — it’s hard for us to walk into the Doctor’s office to ask for a Medical Certification (sick leave) while citing period pain. None of us really want to do that except for, maybe, a few.
I remember being in school and having forgotten to bring along with me extra sanitary pads, ending up with a stained pinafore.
For the rest of the day, because of shame and shyness, I never did ask for an extra sanitary pad from the school nursery, friends, or teacher.
During lunch breaks, I merely put a spare notebook underneath my seat to soak everything up. When school is over, I walked with a large-enough textbook to cover the back of my skirt and scurried home as quickly as I could to avoid being called out or laughed at.
Have you ever asked your boyfriend/husband/father/brother to buy you a box/packet of sanitary napkin or tampon because you can’t get out of the house? What was the reaction? What was the kind of feedback you got?
For sure, I am not the only one. I can’t be. There are millions of women who experience the same thing, prime examples of the women in poverty-stricken households mentioned in the above-linked article, who deal with much worse.
Shouldn’t we make having period a very natural thing to happen to girls? I think it should be taught in school and teachers or consultants should offer advice and guidance to students and young adults about it.
Yes, even the young men we’re raising for the future.
This article was originally published in my blog, www.MarshaMaung.Blogspot.com.