Period experiences are different for different women. That individual experience may or may not be shared by any other person that we know. Some of us fainted when we got our first period. Some women might recall feeling bloated and nauseous due to menses that made sitting through the last lecture in college an impossible task. I remember taking a half-day from work, because my periods decided to drop by unannounced, like a river breaking through a dam. Or maybe, you are the kind who feels clueless when other women talk about PMS, and severe pelvic floor pain during menstruation because for you those five days pass without much fuss.
Every person who has a period will relate to at least one of the above-given situations, perhaps more. Periods leave an impression on a large chunk of every woman’s life. But as it is with most things natural, it is amazing how we all experience this bodily function differently. And yet, there is little to no conversation about menstruation, in our schools, friend circles, families and workplaces. Why?
Period Experiences: When we talk about how different the experience of menstruation can be for every girl and woman, we tell womankind how normal and diverse this body function is.
That every period is natural and no one should feel like a lesser person for bleeding more or less, having debilitating cramps or none at all. That what every woman needs is empathy and normalisation of a body function and not a measure that validates her discomfort or becomes a reason to keep her away from classrooms, playgrounds or workplace.
Three in every five women don’t feel confident about themselves, especially during their periods. Could this be because we have been conditioned to feel vulnerable and “dirty” during periods? In a country where 23 million young girls drop out of school when they hit puberty, conversations around periods are not just relevant, they are a necessity.
The key is to start period education early, as a part of the school curriculum.
Men and women both need to know that everyone who bleeds does so differently. So how do we put across this message? Could period education be the key to the normalisation of conversation around periods? Will teaching how different periods can be for people help us become more empathetic colleagues, loved ones and classmates?
The key is to start period education early, as a part of the school curriculum. As early as puberty, for both boys and girls to know what periods are, how they impact the lives of girls and women in our society, and how one size, or rather one parameter doesn’t fit all. What needs to be there unconditionally is understanding.
This article is in partnership with Period of Pride, an initiative by Network 18 and Whisper.
We must talk periods with our daughters and our sons
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