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This Is Why Menarche Is Bad Enough Without A Patriarchal World Making It Difficult For Girls

Menarche, or the beginning of periods in a girl can be a traumatic event, and understanding it goes a long way in making it easy for her.

Menarche, or the beginning of periods in a girl can be a traumatic event, and understanding it goes a long way in making it easy for her.

Age: Thirteen
Name: No need, doesn’t matter
Gender: Female
Venue: School classroom

Each time she moved, she peed, not once, sneeze, and then pee, a strange feeling in the tummy, a knot, a desire, what was that, she didn’t understand, mood swings, but why?

“Sir, can I go to the washroom?”
“Yes, you may.”

The blood between her thighs, not blood red, more of a chestnut. She couldn’t handle it, ran to her teacher a man

“Sir, I am having a problem, I am injured”
“What is the problem?”
In a room of fifty novices, she blurted “Blood, I just saw, see it’s in my skirt as well”
“I understand, please calm down, you aren’t hurt, go see your madam XYZ, she will help you”

End of story, or just the beginning of the narration.

Yes you heard me right “Menarche”, the journey towards womanhood, the first step to be an adult with a mind of child.

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Menstrual cycle is the agony aunt of a woman; she isn’t fertile if she doesn’t hit menarche in her teens. The ovaries need to shed the eggs each month unless the egg gets fertile by a sperm, and are the predominant organ for producing female sex hormones that controls reproduction.

In terms of medical terms menstruation, or the period, is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman’s monthly cycle. Every month, your body prepares for pregnancy. If no pregnancy occurs, the uterus, or womb, sheds its lining. The menstrual blood is partly blood and partly tissue from inside the uterus. It passes out of the body through the vagina. The clots need to clear out from the system else can cause other health problems.

This generally starts from age 11 to 14, and continues till a woman hits menopause.

Listen, you will go through a phase where you will bleed seven days a month” I guess each mother says it to her daughter. And if the mother isn’t alive or not available it’s the job of the father to explain it to his daughter.

Does the daughter understand what it is to be an adult?

The major thwack being the cramps, the back ache, the sensitivity of the nipples, bloating, and mood swings though the symptoms vary among individuals. Some may get, some may not, but the period of bleeding is similar. When it hits the teen first, that girl with the mind of a child may bleed for a month and may also need an intervention of a medico to stop the bleeding and (not important but let me say) the end to it is also similar. Severe bleeding might refuse to stop, stains the cloth, the tampons, the sanitary napkins, indeed needs a medical intervention – I too needed the intervention of a medico when I had my first period. Oh it’s damn fucking killing, mind you! “I am a woman, you know I got my periods, did you get yours?” girls exchange with their peers.

The premenstrual stage is very cumbersome, though the girl doesn’t understand the eerie feeling but the fact is she might have sexual feelings, the need to masturbate, might have mood swings that are difficult to control, and not to forget the pain each time she wears her bra and the pain is similar each time she removes the bra.

Premenstrual syndrome as per the medical terms calls for whole host of problems, the acne spouts, the skin crackles, sometimes depression, anxiety attacks, hot flushes. “Mummy I won’t go to school, leave me alone, just leave me alone, I want to be alone, that TV switch it off, I won’t eat tonight, can’t sleep” sounds familiar, ladies? Yes, I guess.

Then after struggling with the battle of PMS which may include spotting on the undergarments, comes the agony aunt. Some girls may have this bleeding without a problem. But there are cases where it’s extremely painful, no less severe than the so called labor pain.

It’s been observed that the cycles are often irregular during adolescence. The cycle starts within two to three years of breast budding in girls, which is equally painful. The girl copes through the rage of hormones, often finds difficulty in understanding what is happening to her.

My own personal journey with this agony aunt was easier, since I got them each month within that cycle of 21 days but the case was tragic with my friend. Her body refused to show symptoms of PMS, the cycle kept quiet for months together and then it hit back with a rage and that too as I ranted, painful.

During this period of cycle, maintaining proper hygiene is essential, which includes proper cleaning of the private area, changing the napkins and tampons at proper intervals. What is more needed is the parental guidance to the girl child. Other than all this, there are also the burgeoning sexual feelings, which becomes difficult for the girl not yet grown up to understand or handle. It’s extremely difficult to explain in terms of human psychology, it’s a process where you are suddenly a woman with a mind of child, going wild, and also don’t have an answer on what to do, how to deal, how to cope with adolescence.

Sometimes a parent’s worst fear comes true, and the girl may get into a wrong company since she doesn’t know the right versus wrong and the result can be devastating. The need for education comes into picture.  Explaining to the girl child the development and the touch factor all needs to be addressed. As I said earlier PMS is a stage where the emotional vulnerability is at the peak, anything can happen.

The issue which I addressed was menarche but then what is puberty?

Puberty is defined by:

  • Adrenarche: the onset of production of adrenal androgens by the adrenal cortex (this occurs before the onset of puberty)
  • Pubarche: the appearance of pubic hair
  • Thelarche: the appearance of breast tissue
  • Menarche: the age of the first menstrual period

So Menarche is the last stage of Puberty.

Oh I just forgot I started the narration with a story and I represented the teacher as a MAN, but why? It’s just because a man should understand what it is to a girl when she hits menarche and that man should also know he should be careful, he shouldn’t cause any harm to that blooming teen. There are cases where girls (adolescent teens) have been shamed, even sexually exploited at a tender age, molested, raped. Please lend an understanding heart to a girl, a teen. Do not rob her childhood; she is just blooming to womanhood with a mind of child.


Image source: pexels

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About the Author

Rimli Bhattacharya

Rimli Bhattacharya is a First class gold medalist in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of Technology, an MBA in supply chain management and is engaged with a corporate sector. Her essay in the anthology “Book read more...

93 Posts | 625,961 Views

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