Most of us have completed a month of staying at home. So, it is time to discuss the experience with the monthly visitor whom no lockdown other than biological transitions can restrict from visiting women, of a certain age group. Yes, the menstrual cycles, periods or chums whatever you may decide to call them the experience does not change much. For some, it may not be so bad but for most, there is nothing to celebrate about these days. However, for me this time the experience was weird. It didn’t feel like I had a relationship with them which goes back over two decades. The refused to follow the usual pattern.
To begin with the proverbial ‘those days of the month’, were delayed by a few days and the days leading up to them even more dreadful. I blamed it on the uncertainty, gloom and doom all around. Moreover, the house arrest had made me lose track of time. Just when I thought the period is also under lockdown and not going to show up though I was yelling at my little one more than I usually do, and the pain in the lower back was killing me, the visitors arrived.
For me this time the experience was weird. It didn’t feel like I had a relationship with them which goes back over two decades. The refused to follow the usual pattern.
As with everything else, I read on the internet, and other women were also wondering if something was different with their periods amidst the lockdown. The National Health Service UK says stress is one of the most common reasons behind periods stopping, other reasons being pregnancy, PCOS and weight issues. And stress there has been plenty not just the one caused by the pandemic, which is huge, but the sheer effort needed to push through a day giving it some semblance of normalcy.
Shorter periods, spotting, delayed periods and early or late-onset, cramps all such changes have been reported by women. So, I was not alone and as I was feeling a little assured, I started wondering about the panic buying and thought what if by next month the racks are empty and I have no supply. Told myself, no I read somewhere they are part of essential commodities now and we sailed through. I also wondered if the lockdown can be the time to give a chance to reusable products like menstrual cups, period panties and reusable pads?
Shorter periods, spotting, delayed periods and early or late-onset, cramps all such changes have been reported by women.
Now that the dreadful week is over, I am wondering what about the little girls in rural India who are not only dealing with the biological changes the body is throwing at them but also facing the societal taboos against menstruation. How are they dealing with this lockdown? Are they still being treated as outcasts for those days? Are women still getting banished from kitchens? Places of worship are thankfully out of bounds for everybody. Sadly, reproductive health is still not a priority in our country.
Mental health has a direct relationship with stress. With no clarity on when and how the lockdown and government-advised self-isolation will end, it makes sense to take charge of what is under our control. A self-care routine, sleeping on time, eating healthy or maybe having menstrual supplies for two months?
The views expressed are the author's own.