It is assumed that a daughter comes to know about periods from her mother. But surprisingly (I don't know it should be surprising or is more common for my generation), I never had any conversation about periods with my mom as it is still a taboo for her. She's a bit narrow minded about it. So I didn't have a clear idea of what Periods or in Marathi "कावळा शिवला" meant. Whenever I saw an ad about a sanitary pad on TV, I used to think (which most people can relate to) that it is for women who cannot pee in public unlike men, until I was 11.
We had a didi (like an elder sister) who used to stay with us to look after me while both of my parents used to go to work. She realised I was at the age where I can start bleeding any day so she sat me one day and told me everything about what, why and how periods are. When I was 12, I got my first period in the early morning and since my mom was not home, I told her about it. I don't think I would have told my mom first even if she was home that day. Because that didi was the reason I didn't panic and get stressed about it. That day, she just told my father about it, made me rest and told me to get some sleep and that it will pain a lot. I felt more comfortable and I was glad I didn't have any gross or terrifying experience during my first time.
The didi was from my native place which is actually a rural area. And yet she had so much understanding about how this should be tackled to make me comfortable about the process. While on the other hand, my mom who was born and brought up in Dadar (Mumbai) didn't even bother to ask how I came to know about periods. And this is the reason why many girls panic and get blank during their first period as they don't even know what is happening with them. Most of them think that their private parts have started bleeding.
This later leads to misconceptions and that's why it is important to educate not only girls but all the boys as well to make them aware about periods and what care should be taken in those days. Because boys are taught not to interfere with such issues and therefore, they neglect the importance of periods when it comes to their sister, mother, wife and daughter. It is time to make everyone realise that Periods are a BIG deal and it should be given enough attention. Period is not just some gross process which should be treated as a taboo but it is a process which is much needed for better health of a girl and even more, a process that enables her to give birth to next generation in future. Let's celebrate it because it's a celebration of uniqueness of a women, of her never-ending strength and patience. And yes, to all the dear moms out there, please go and have this conversation with your daughters.
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