I’ve teamed up with TOTM, a modern company who are promoting healthier & natural alternatives for feminine products while on a mission to fight the period taboo, and get you talking about your periods. I know that over the years, if you were a woman talking about your period was seen as gross and something you should never speak about ever. But why? Menstruation is completely natural, all of us women go through it. Even today in 2017 it is still a taboo; personally I believe that we should be talking about periods, let’s normalise it and teach the younger generations to accept the fact that its ok to talk about it. Speaking up and educating can help younger girls understand what their bodies will go through without making it a scary topic to learn about in science class.
I wanted to discuss what it was like for me getting my first period without knowing what was going to happen and how scary it was. Hopefully to help you speak out & not feel embarrassed about the whole situation.
So to start with I guess I should say that, I was 9 years old at the time. Still going through my tomboy phase running around in my football kit not having any worries or care in the world, as you do at that age. Just enjoying being a kid with my friends. After school one day around the autumn time, I went out around the estate with my friends climbing trees, the usual afterschool activity. Had dinner and then went outside again because my curfew was when it starts to get dark come home (bare in mind in the UK in October it gets dark around 6-7pm) then after that it was bed time. I didn’t know about periods at this time in my life, I guess we just never got told anything because you aren’t expected to have it so early like I did.
That night as you can guess, I took my very first period. When I woke up in the small hours of the morning due to the intense pain, I honestly thought I was dying. I’m sure you did too when you first started menstruating, if you are a female of course. It was very daunting and I started to cry with the pain. I thought there was something seriously wrong with me, that I needed urgent medical attention. So I ran into my mum’s room and in between the tears I begged her to help me because I thought I was really sick. She proceeded to ask me what was wrong, when I told her she reassured me that I was definitely not dying and explained to me what exactly was happening.
I was just becoming a woman, my body was changing & I was growing up. My mum helped me understand that menstruating is healthy and just what your body needs to do to. I was a little embarrassed having the conversation but I was glad I knew what the heck my body was doing. Because I swear I thought I had organ failure that night, haha.
Next problem I faced was going to school the next day. I was so anxious about leaking, having blood stains on my school skirt or people knowing what was happening. Even though, there was no possible way they could have known I had started my period unless I did have stains (which I didn’t because my flow wasn’t that heavy, but every girl is different and that could be different for each one) or they could read minds, haha however I’m sure that is impossible. So of course I was worrying like crazy, sitting in my classroom probably learning about the history of Ancient Egypt because I was too focused on wondering what my body was going through I never paid attention to the lesson. Running to the bathroom at every chance I could to make sure I wasn’t showing any signs, however in doing this I ran out of pads because I was changing so frequently. I was to ashamed to go to ask for some help, because nobody spoke about periods in school I felt like I was all alone. Sitting in the rest of my lessons even more anxious than ever before. Having to wait to go home to feel relaxed and comfortable, as best as I could while having the aching period pains.
I’m now 20 years old, and currently in my lifetime I’ve had 132 periods, and so many more to come yaaay! I am no longer embarrassed, ashamed or scared to talk about this process that our bodies have to go through each month in order to stay healthy. It’s part of life and something girls should discuss, to break this stigma. I even talk about it with my boyfriend, which to many people may seem strange & again because of the period taboo we think that speaking of such thing is not ‘normal’ which in actual fact, it’s completely normal & so important to talk about.
Breaking the stigma about periods can help improve menstrual awareness, health and education for girls around the world. Yes I know that in schools it is taught in biology but I was 14 years old before I had that lesson, 5 years after I went through it myself. Surely we should be educated even just a tiny bit before then because each girl goes through puberty at their own pace and this process can start as early as 8 years old so waiting to discuss menstruation probably isn’t the best thing to do. Let’s break the silence and get talking. Period.
I briefly mentioned about TOTM at the start of this post; so they are a new start up company offering you a subscription service to have your organic cotton pads and tampons sent straight to your door every single month – so you can avoid using the regular grocery store ones. These store bought pads and tampons are not organic, made with harsh chemicals and perfume, which shouldn’t be anywhere near your vagina, they give you an increased risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome; a rare but life-threatening condition caused by bacteria entering the body and releasing toxins.) In the words of TOTM’s campaign “Be Kinder to Your Vagina” make the switch to organic feminine products to treat your body in the right way. If you are interested in purchasing your subscription or just want a little nosy check out the website here.