MY FIRST PERIOD EXPERIENCE: Not what you would expect
Updated: Oct 7, 2022
Have you ever wondered, why many menstruators are not prepared for their first period and some do not even know what menstruation is? Read on to find out.
Even though this process is completely normal as well as natural, many people, including both menstruators and non-menstruators are not fully aware of what it is.
MY EXPERIENCE Vs MY FRIENDS' EXPERIENCE
Just like many menstruators, I also had my first period (menarche) in my school. It was shocking to see my underwear covered in blood to say the least, but as I got a hang of what was going on, I realized that it was just my first period. But guess what, I was fully prepared for it. As I reached the age when generally menstruators get their first period, i.e., 12 years, my mother told me everything I needed to know, what it is, why does it happen, everything. She even made a period kit for me.
However, my friend's experience was very different. I had seen one of my friends panicking, when I asked her the matter, she said- “Main beemar hun” (I am sick). When asked to elaborate, she very hesitatingly told me that she had blood in her underwear and did not know what to do. I immediately took her to the infirmary where we got her a pad and she undoubtedly did not know how to use it. I told her how it is done and what all to do. After she went, I fell into a deep thought of why her experience was so different from mine. And then it hit me, not everyone's parents are as open to talk about all that stuff. Even when it is crucial to tell their children about what periods are and why does it happen;
all that we say is – “shh chupp raho, kisi ne sun liya to?” (shh, keep quiet, what if someone hears us?).
WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?
The only reason it happens is because of the taboos, myths and shame surrounding the topic of menstruation. Many people do not even regard it as a "valid" topic of discussion. You can see, the difference in the experiences of me and my friend, clearly shows that many families do not educate their daughters or menstruators in their family about this topic.
Even when people are "educated" on such topics, there are many unasked questions which linger in our mind but we are too afraid of asking all of them. We are too afraid of being judged to just be curious on this topic. And hence, we just end up bottling all the questions and curiosity in our mind and hence when the time comes, we are not sure of the steps to be taken to help others or even ourselves.
There is clearly a lot to improve as a society. To be free from the judging eyes of the people whenever we talk about menstruation. I hope that by reading this article, you can help menstruators in the society so that they can talk about this topic freely.
ARE YOU A NON – MENSTRUATOR WILLING TO JOIN THE CONVERSATION AROUND PERIODS?
For all you non – menstruators out there, willing to join the conversation around periods, make sure you are ready to learn. Make sure you are ready to start learning from the core. We should ensure that we have the knowledge and in fact the right one. Periods are often considered a disease which is of course false. People also believe that PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is menstruators being dramatic which is also just a perceived notion of a selective set of people who lack the right knowledge. The moment we learn the facts, I believe there we take our first step towards ending this so-called stigma around menstruation. Non – menstruators should also know the right time to start a conversation; let me remind you that mood swings are a real thing! Let us help our fellow humans being by being aware, sensitive, and dedicated towards creating a period positive society. It can be your mother, your sister, your classmate, a friend or even a stranger who will need you to make them feel safe and secure. Be that right person for someone, or just learn how to be one and you will definitely leave a positive message for every menstruator who still shies off from starting a conversation with a non – menstruator.
Edited by Ayush Sharma
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