I’m SO EXCITED to FINALLY be writing this.
So for those of you who don’t know (and if you don’t, WHERE THE HECK HAVE YOU BEEN?!?!?!), the #ThePeriodParty movement was created a few weeks ago by the truly inspirational and generally wonderful Ash, to inspire women and men alike to finally break the horrible, completely unnecessarily stigma that surrounds periods, and to raise awareness of the situation that some girls are faced with, simply because they can’t afford to pay for basic, necessary sanitary products.
How would you feel if you were robbed of your education, or your childhood because you are unable to go out and act normally for a week every month for such a large proportion of your life, simply because you didn’t have the protection that you needed? Girls as young as 10 are having to face period poverty without any support, and this needs to end.
By talking about our own experiences, we are slowly breaking down the barriers that surround periods, and consequently putting an end to period poverty for good!
Pretty much every day I witness blatant ignorance when it comes to periods and the pain and discomfort that they cause some women, and them constantly being pushed off as a joke, and just us women being ‘over-dramatic’. Whether it’s teachers not allowing girls who are obviously uncomfortable to go to the toilet or go to get paracetamol, or people always asking ‘Oh, are you…. you know?’ when all your having is an absolute shit day, there’s no getting away from it. I’ve even had one of my best friends give me a quizzical look when, in the girls P.E. locker rooms, I pulled a pad out of my bag… I mean, come on, like you don’t have to use them as well…
This ignorance is due to the fear that people seem to place around talking about periods, and the monthly menstrual cycle, and it needs to be stopped! I’ve never understood why periods were seen as such a taboo subject; surely every woman has to have them for pretty much the majority of their lives (yes, even your nan), and to be frank, if they didn’t nobody would even exist, as women wouldn’t ovulate. This has gone on for too long.
So I’ve mentioned a few times on here and on my old blog about my mum having to have a large operation back in the end of October. For as long as I can remember, every month she would be unable to move from her bed for days, due to the pain that was being caused by her periods. She would be so horribly ill and in pain, that when her bleeding finally came to an end, she would spend the next three weeks recovering, so it turned into a never-ending cycle.
Eventually, after years of persuading doctors, she was finally given the opportunity to have a hysterectomy, which basically involves having all of your reproductive organs taken out, stopping her periods for good. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all a bed of roses, it was a major operation after all. She was so ill and frail afterwards, and now nearly four months down the road, she’s still in the early early stages of recovery, but there’s definitely some light at the end of the tunnel.
I think that, as horrible as it was, watching my mum have to go through all of that pain has meant that I’ve never been able to ‘shy away’ from the fact that, yes, periods do exist, and they’re not as pleasant as the adverts make them out to be. In a way, personally, I’ve never felt the need to talk in hushed voices about periods before, and I’ve never particularly felt the stigma around it, I’ve just had to watch others feel it instead.
My first period:
To be honest, this is actually quite a funny story, that I’ve never actually told anyone 100% truthfully before.
From what I can remember, it came just after my 12th birthday (or was it just before my 13th?? either way, I wasn’t really expecting it). I think that deep down I did realize that it was coming, as I’d had really bad stomach cramps the weeks before, but I didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t want to have to start growing up…
I was at my nans (who is basically like my second mum, so I have NO idea, why I was so scared to tell her), and I remember going to the bathroom and seeing this huge, reddy brown stain all over my nice, white pants (suffice to stay, I stick to black underwear now😂😂) , and to start with I thought that I shat myself without knowing it!!! When I realized what had happened, despite everything that had happened with my mum, I was too petrified to tell anyone, so for a whole 24hrs, even overnight, I stuffed toilet paper in my knickers so that it didn’t leak through, and didn’t tell anyone, even though I had awful stomach pains.
The next day, when I was at home, I left it a good few hours before I plucked up the courage to tell my mum. I went into the bathroom, and came out a few minutes later, and said something along the lines of “What you thought my tummy crams were….. you were right….”, once she clocked on to what on earth I meant, she literally burst into tears, and then gave me a hot water bottle, and ordered me to go and sit on the sofa. 😂
Looking back, I really have no idea why I was so nervous, but I guess that’s how children’s minds work, ‘eh.
To be honest, I don’t really have any cringey or funny period story’s, as bad as it is, I try to avoid going out as much as possible when I’m on my period, as, like my mum, I’ve always suffered from such bad pain and heavy bleeding, that I can hardly move, and I’m always terrified of leaking. Luckily, after a year and a half, they’re finally starting to sort themselves out a bit, and become less heavy and painful, so I’ll be able to start going out a bit more without being so afraid.
How can you do your bit to help?
If my rambling, or Ash’s post, has inspired you in any way, there are so many ways that you can do your bit, to start demolishing the stigma surrounding periods, for good.
- You could sign this petition, which is calling on the government to allow girls who receive free school meals, to also be able to receive free sanitary products;
- Get involved on social media by using the hashtag #ThePeriodParty , to make sure that this important message reaches a much wider audience;
- Share your period stories, whether it be on social media using the hashtag, or simply to your group of friends at lunch-time, by sharing your stories, you are helping to rid the taboo;
- Just get talking- whether it be to your parents, your school friends, or some random stranger that you bump into, try and raise as much awareness about this message as possible.
Before I go, I want to really congratulate Ash on creating the amazing movement and inspiring so many people around you, with hopefully many more to go. If you want to find out more about period poverty, I’d definitely recommend this TedTalk by Amika George, which is just truly inspiring.
P.S: I’m sorry that this post is a few days late, all of my productivity this half term, has just flew out the window 🙂