I wanted to write a post about periods, and so, here I am, writing a post about periods. Why? Well, why not? I have always used this blog to raise awareness of extremely important, yet often overlooked subjects, and periods are, undoubtedly, one such subject (something I find incredibly bizarre when one considers that periods are a natural part of being female, as natural as the air we breathe.) And so, in the same way that I write so freely about other topics that others might feel ‘uncomfortable’ talking about, like eating disorders, and, essentially, the futility of life, I will write freely about periods, too. My hope is that, by doing so, the stigma surrounding periods will start to be dismantled.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not disillusioned in thinking that I alone can end the stigma that periods hold, but if, collectively, we are all more open and willing to talk about our periods, then slowly but surely, we will get there- to a place where the mere mention of the word ‘period’ no longer sees reddening faces, and a mad rush to move the conversation on to a more ‘acceptable’ topic- and that is something that, in the future, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, will thank us for.
So, let’s get talking periods (cue the reddening faces of men and old people. (Sorry to stereotype.)
You might find it strange that I’m writing this post when you read what I am about to write:
I don’t have periods...
It’s not that I’ve never had a period, but I was very late to the party, so late, in fact, that, at 16, I was diagnosed with primary amenorrhea as a direct result.
Unlike my school friends, who, at 14, told me in hushed tones that theirs; ‘had started’, I was left waiting until the age of 17, (the age at which I reached a healthy weight), for mine to start.
When I did finally get a period after reaching a healthy weight, they were very irregular, and I could count on my hands the number I had before they disappeared again.
At the time of writing this post, aged 20, I have not had a period in well over a year. I don’t know whether it’s because I need to gain a little bit more weight, if my body fat is lower than it should be, or if there is some medical reason why I’m not menstruating, but, last week, I finally called my doctors and asked for a scan. So, hopefully soon I will know why I’m not having periods (I’ll update you with a blog post when I get the results.)
The thing that spurred me onto writing this post today, was that call to my doctors that I just mentioned…
As is always the case when you ring your GP (at least, from what I know is the case in Britain), I got through to a receptionist first who asked me what the problem was that I was requiring an appointment for. I casually told her, (yes, it was a woman), that I had ‘not had a period in over a year.’ Upon mentioning the word ‘period’, I heard her tone of voice change as she replied, a sense of embarrassment, perhaps? It made me think, if other women themselves are embarrassed to discuss periods with each other, then how can we ever expect the rest of society (that including men, too), to accept them as normal, when the very people who have them, cannot?
The fact is this: We need to stop feeling so embarrassed about periods and start normalising them. We need to remember what they actually give us- the potential to bring life into the world. That is a miracle in itself- something to be celebrated and marvelled at, not dismissed as “taboo.”
Only when we all feel comfortable talking about periods, in the same way that we all feel comfortable talking about the weather, will we see a real, much needed change happening (for the better.)
Lets get talking.
Lets get normalising.
And, most importantly:
Lets end the stigma surrounding periods, once and for all.