Are periods too taboo to speak about? I’ve found that a lot of people - especially men - tend to get uncomfortable when the subject is brought up. So let’s break the stigma together. Periods are so complex, and a different experience for each person. It’s important to normalize the ins and outs of a menstrual cycle, and remember it’s not a one size fits all type of deal. Here are a few things we need to normalize about Aunt Flo ASAP:
1. It’s Normal to Have Accidents
Although it can be embarrassing to leak through your pad or tampon, it’s okay! Things happen! We are all human and can’t get the timing right every single time, especially for period newcomers who are still figuring out their routine. There’s nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to a normal bodily function such as this.
2. Pads, Tampons, Diva Cups, Oh My!
I’ve seen a few videos across social media bashing women for their preferred choice of hygiene product. People shame women who choose to wear a pad over a tampon, diva cup, or any other alternative. Why that is up for debate is beyond me! Please wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and secure. You are in control of your body and are not inferior due to the way you take care of yourself.
3. It Is Not a One Size Fits All!
There was a time in middle school when teachers and faculty brought the girls together for a presentation on periods that probably lasted no longer than 30 minutes. I distinctly remember learning how to use and dispose of a pad, the symptoms we might experience during our cycle, and how long a period typically lasts. As I got older, I realized that every woman's experience can be vastly different. Pain levels and other symptoms can vary from person to person, and the length of a cycle may not always be 7 days long. It’s important to have an open conversation with young women so they are aware that periods can be unique, and that isn’t necessarily unhealthy. If your cycle is different from someone else's, that doesn’t automatically mean something is wrong with you – we are complex human beings and everyone’s body functions differently.
4. It’s Not Selfish to Take Time for Yourself
Each month we go through a whirlwind of emotions, our bodies are in a lot of pain, and we are overall exhausted trying to survive Aunt Flo’s dreaded visit. Listen to your body and what it needs. Relax when you can, eat what you want, cry when you need to, and don’t feel bad when you need to be alone and hide from the world. We are bleeding for up to a week straight for crying out loud! Make yourself a priority during this time.
Written by: Selena Leon