I had no awareness about menstruation, except for a warning about reporting ‘blood on panties’. When it happened, I soon equated periods with pain.
My mother had told my elder sister and me, “If you see blood in your panties or while you pee, let me know”. I did not understand and asked her why. She said, the neighbors’ daughter found blood and felt sick. I thought, it is some new viral fever that is spreading. 2-3 months went by but neither of us reported any such incident. I had almost forgotten about it.
I was in 6th standard, barely 12 years old. Our school had organized a field trip that day. I got up early and noticed blood. I remember, I was scared. Immediately, I shouted and reported to my mother. She inspected and told me I cannot go to school today. I was confused. I was fine so “why can’t I go?” I argued in vain.
She gave me a cloth and asked me to use it. I had no idea what was happening. I remember crying wanting to go to school. My mom quietened me and then explained to me. I was shocked. At our place, the old age tradition of not letting the girl do anything during first 3 days of period was followed. I had seen my dad cooking during those 3 days. My mom could not enter kitchen or bedroom (since our temple was in the room). There are many more restrictions. Now, I had to follow all these.
My mom never used pads – only cloth. So my first period was devoid of pads and that made it more cumbersome. My mom realized this and gave me cotton the next day. It was better than the cloth but yet I didn’t like it. For some reason, I did not bleed a lot during the first three days and neither did it hurt. On the fourth day, I ran and hugged my father and wept. He was trying to console me and said it is a part of growing up.
My dilemma did not end there. After 7/8 days, I again noticed blood. This time it was bad and was hurting. Also I was bleeding a lot. For a moment I felt I have lost all blood. I had a horrible time, my mom told me not to play or do any strenuous activity. She then introduced me to pads (thankfully).
The saga continued – after every 20 days I used to get my periods and it lasted for nearly 7 days. I was losing weight. We consulted many doctors, but nothing helped. Finally, I visited a Homeopath doctor and was on her medicine for nearly a year and half. Slowly, the number of days reduced. However, other problems like vomiting, acidity aggravated during those days.
I changed my eating habits, improved on my lifestyle. It helped, but yet it is not completely painless. I wonder how some women (including my sisters) navigate through those days with complete ease. Somehow, I always associate period with pains and wonder why do women need to endure always.
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