I worked out today, between fistfuls of Montezuma giant chocolate buttons, that I’ve had about 190 periods in my life , and still, as I cry I to my soy ice cream there is so much about this part of womanhood that totally baffles me.
Like my body is literally tearing a bit of itself off and I still have to go to work? Are you bloody joking? If one of my ears started to slowly fall away I would definitely get a day off, yet every month, one of the most mysterious major organs of the human body manually ejects itself and I just have to soldier on? It’s not doing this for a laugh either, or because it’s broken, it’s the earthly process that allows the continuation of all human life, but if you complain about it you’re seen as some sort of hysterical watery female who can’t control her ovaries.
I suspect the down-playing of menstruation has been perpetuated by men who are prone to saying things like “smile love it might never happen” and referring to their wives as “her indoors” but fuck those guys; womanhood and menstruation , like lion fights, hurricanes and Voldemort, are great and terrible. Did you know that menstruating women are exempt from fasting at Ramadan? The Zulus slaughter a goat when a girl has her first period, and then she spends the duration of it learning “life lessons” from other women. What do we get in the uk? A tampon tax, and a lot of terrified men who visibly melt if they see you with a hot water bottle at your desk.
Well, I do not have the honour of being a cool zulu woman,but I do know a thing or two about life, and vaginas, so here is the benefit of my expertise on the matter of menstruation
How to Have a Period
- Be a canny contraceptive user!
Hormonal contraception is satan. Sorry, you do you, but my tuppence on the matter is this: if you like yourself and your life, find another way to avoid making babies. You may have been on your hormone for such a long time you don’t even know if it’s doing something to you. Don’t be lazy, go to your GP and organise to take an extended break. I just had my arm implant severed out about two months ago and there has been at least a 30% decrease in crazy and apparently I’m not alone,other women have reported mood swings, depression and in the case of a friend of mine, a six month period.
- Listen to your body
You want to eat pretzels and sit on the sea shore screaming into the night, just do it.
- Sausage Fingers
Traditionally, when Mother Nature comes to throw a bag of spanners into my life, I look like a gummy bear and it’s horrific. Water retention means that my waist disappears, my fingers look like sausages and my usually-modest cans are like, threatening to break loose and crush the city. All you can do for this, ironically is drink. Eventually, at the point of explosion , your body will suddenly decide you need a ten minute wee, and it will resolve itself.
- Pain-Killers not Serial Killers
There are mixed views on this, Kim and Rory, authors of Skinny Bitch are of the opinion that your period is your body’s training ground for having a baby. That’s all well and good, but I’m not teaching a class with a knife in my guts . I prefer to take so many painkillers I don’t know what day it is, thank you very much.
So apparently some women are cursed with the raging horn at that time of the month. This is because the muscle contractions of an orgasm relieve the muscle contractions of menstrual cramps. Each to their own on this, but I’ve always felt that a true pirate sails the red sea. Alot of women have periods, a lot of women like sex, a lot of men like women… Get the job done, I say.
- Honour your body– don’t underestimate what it’s doing just because society does. Be nice to yourself.
- Sleep -It’s hard work for your body to create all that crushing pain, so let it rest properly. The physical demands of what it is doing make it ok for you to go to bed at 7.30 like a nana.
- Holding back the tide-In my experience there is not a single sanitary towel that will not slip its moorings and give you a surprise bikini wax, there is no tampon on earth that isn’t just straight up disgusting. I am hugely pro-menstrual cup, although respectful of other options.In fact I’m such a cheerleader of cup-life I might write a whole separate blog about it, but long story short, pop it in in the morning, wash hands, forget til bedtime. I absolutely love me a moon cup, it’s clean, eco friendly, convenient AF and the most comfortable method I’ve ever tried. It takes a bit of getting used to ( I mean obviously, it’s not everyday you pop a cone into your babymaker) but it’s well worth the hassle and gore.