My annual post where I get a bit angsty about the reality that half the population have have periods. Let’s talk about them eh.

I didn’t want to put a photo of blood here so instead here’s a pretty view 🙂

Let’s talk about periods.

I’m not sure I have much before. Maybe once or twice. Which for something that affects pretty much aspect of my moods and emotions each month it feels like not enough airtime.

A few years ago I heard a talk from a woman who ran her own business. She talked about how her menstrual cycle affected her weeks and how she leant into the weeks where she felt the energy and buzz and lay low and quiet in the times when she felt the heavy moods upon her as her body prepared to have a baby and then worked out it didn’t need the extra stuff and sent it on its way (dumped felt too harsh, bled loads might be more accurate but with caveats of how it’s not a scary type of bleeding, although even having done it for 30 years I still get weirded out)

Once I mentioned my monthly feeling like I was the worst, the job was awful and everything is wrong with the world to my two male colleagues. I did so in a reassuring- I’ll think differently next week because that’s just where I am in my cycle right now way. It felt daring and taboo to name it and almost sacred to talk about what goes on each month but which few people mention.

I say all this because I’m two days into my period (it still feels odd saying that, now you know I bleed each month and I’m doing it right now, the secret is out… wow our culture of secrecy and shame in this area has A LOT to answer for) and my brain is waking up. Two days ago I thought I was fat and ugly, couldn’t think straight, I was slumped on the sofa reading a book because I couldn’t face interacting with my small humans, I had no energy, thought I was the worst parent, despairing at ever being able to help my boys do anything constructive.

Today I looked in the mirror and smiled at my cheeky grin, adored my dimples, smoothed my hand over my soft fleshy stomach and felt ok, put clothes on and felt good rather than pit stomach churning distaste at me. My brain woke up, I felt energy and motive to plan and use my day well. I smiled at God on my morning walk and knew love. I saw the dark corner of angst and questions and knew it was ok to have it there and stand on the sunny certain of some stuff side of life for a bit.

I feel like in my 40s I’m finally getting in tune with my wonderful body but this morning still took me by surprise, the obvious cause, the extremes in my moods, the joy of knowing I’m not in a dark tunnel, I just had my period.

And as always I’m left with wanting more conversation. More chat. More flipping awareness that this is a thing and more honest openness about listening to our bodies.

I felt the instinct to go slow over the weekend and wanted to embrace that but I also had the fear voices telling me to get up, keep going, plough on through, the voices that tell me to maintain secrecy about periods and uphold this weird societial pretence that they don’t happen. I wish I’d listened more to the voice that said be patient, the joy and energy will return. I wish body knowledge was talked about more and more and more. I want to be part of those chats, of how the rhythm of what’s going on in my body each month shapes and affects what I do, think and feel.

Anyway. There you go. Probably my now annual post about periods and how I want more openness about them and want conversations about how we become more body aware.

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1 Response to My annual post where I get a bit angsty about the reality that half the population have have periods. Let’s talk about them eh.

  1. Louise Mabbs says:

    Excellent post Kath, men really need to understand what we go for for them -as they wouldn’t be here without us.

    I don’t know how moody I was when I did have periods, but I usually had terrible pains on the first or third day, sometimes both, I think it changed to different patterns over the years. But I’m very grateful I could work from home, so on the fuzzy head days and pain-filled ones I could go slow, or go to bed if needbe.

    It must be so hard for women in male heavy offices, or one’s where your toilet time is limited, when you need to be in there for half an hour or more! I tried to tell people around me at home so they would be gentler to me or overlook any miserableness, but generally got an ‘ugh I don’t want to know’, but I persisted because I wanted them to know how to care for me and their womenfolk in due course. After a while I had to have a Mirena Coil, not for contraception but to stop heavy bleeding, it took a while for my body to get used to it, but then the bliss of not having periods! I tried to periods in positive terms – that I got to have that amazing feeling of fluttering and something growing inside that a man never could but it feel cruel they go on sooo long! (I gather before our modern food suffiency and smaller families, periods were not regular like we expect them today – my daughter in law has a Christian outlook book about the history of it all that I hope to read soon)

    Apart from the baby thing, I can’t understand why anyone thinks it’s better to be a woman than a man, when everything physically and socially is still so weighted against us, and I guess most people who feel that way never go through periods etc before becoming a woman. I suspect the bigger problem is how society and the media define our genders instead of letting people do jobs or hobbies they enjoy regardless of the sex they are born with. When trying to describe period pain the best I can describe it is like the worst long term bout of diarroeah you can image with nausea and headache and a load of other stuff thrown in, plus the feelings of worthlessness and futility you described. But like each contraction is one less to the baby, I tried to see them as one less till the end! Self care, good diet, lots to drink, iron, sleep, appropriate pain killers and probably not alcohol probably help too xxx

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