Menstrual Menace and the Associated stigma

Every cell in my body aches and cries out in pain. The eyes blur and make it difficult to sit up, to go to work is impossible to think even. I take the liberty to stay at home, under the blanket and brood, the one thing I do the best.

Seriously though, I cannot go back to work place claiming that I was in severe pain due to the monthly cycles,eyes would roll in mock belief, ‘look at her, can’t she handle that’ ,’ at this age, imagine’, ‘it happens to everyone,darling’, such would be the reaction, spoken or otherwise!

Menstrual cramps are not something to talk about even as an adult, yet they are painful and unbearable and girls and most women suffer them in silence.

You are told that it gets better as you grow but for some it remains painful through out.

It was at LSN convent Ottapalam that I came to know about this biological process from the text books, from the talks about catechism classes and then the hostel mates.

We would discuss what happens to the body and why and then what and much more, some times even during our study hours.Most girls were unaware and all talks were interesting and captivating, the human body was such a mystery to all of us.

Even today we refuse to discuss menstruation. In most homes, the associated pain is something to be hidden and left unspoken, despite the sanitary napkin ads creating such a flutter with girls wearing only whites and jumping and dancing about during menstruation. It is a classic case of reel and real conflict as most women look for dark shades of red to wear so that a spot goes un-spotted. The simple act of sitting down on a chair becomes a traumatic one for fear of spotting. It is a real tyrant , the cycle of menstruation, at least for most women.

Disposing of sanitary pads is another exercise which requires girls and women to behave like sleuths on an expose’ mission.

I am reading ‘ A Room of One’s Own’ by Virginia Woolf and am also wondering why I never gave much attention to it before.

Ms.Woolf makes a case for the supposed sister of Shakespeare and how not being financially independent and not having a room of her own would have impeded the creative expression of a woman who may have been as creative as expressive as Shakespeare himself.

Forget creative expression, even for decent living girls do need their own space. In fact I would say women should have a separate room for themselves even after marriage for privacy, for thought and for brooding, if nothing else or maybe some writing.

How frustrating, how inconvenient it must be for most women not to have some privacy during these times in their own homes? The simple business of changing the pad or just resting a bit is impossible in households where girls have no rooms for themselves. Even today, this is the case in majority of homes in the country.

Watching ‘Gunjan Saxena’s struggle for a wash room before she gets to clock her flying hours at the Indian Air Force just brought these glaring truths back to my mind.

Lack of access to wash rooms at work places, at bus stands, at public places continues to inconvenience women who want to pursue a career or a hobby or just travel and go about.

While we wear our modernity on our sleeves and talk of owning a piece of land on the moon or mars or whatever, we balk at discussions about divorce, menstruation, sexual assault or even basic female hygiene!

The famed nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar writes about foods to reduce period pain…Got to follow this!

https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/5-foods-to-help-reduce-period-pain-by-celeb-nutritionist-rujuta-diwekar-2237377#:~:text=Handful%20of%20cashews%20or%20peanuts,sugar%20cravings%20and%20mood%20swings.

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