It amazes me that in this day and age there remains such a stigma attached to the menstrual cycle.
It is a right of passage for pretty much ALL women to endure for Pete’s sake; and men are fully aware of its existence as soon as sex education begins in primary school, in some cases even before then.
Yet in recent weeks I have seen a number of questionable remarks from men and women in relation to the ‘period’.
There is a woman who has been in the news lately for running a race sans sanitary products. She did it to raise awareness to women worldwide who don’t have access to the supplies needed. I read the story and thought wow she is super brave and ballsy for that. I wouldn’t have done it but good for her.
The post that alerted me to the story in the first place referred to that woman as an idiot.
Another post in the days following highlighted a woman who had completed the race in record time who felt annoyed that all she kept hearing about was the woman who chose to bring attention to a situation, while she had not been contacted at all for her athletic prowess. The tone of the article was very apparent – why should this bleeding lady get all the attention for basically doing nothing. The person that posted the article agreed.
Both of these posts I reference that showed such disdain for the menstruating woman were actually shared by women…
They both seemed so cold…the lack of compassion was jarring.
My sensitivity to this subject is heightened by my own struggle with ‘Aunt Flo’ – the aunt you are glad to see each month but also hate to have to deal with for a week…or in my case longer. Allow me to explain.
During my pregnancy with Sam, my doctor notified me that in addition to a growing baby he also noticed fibroids. I was assured that they would not affect the pregnancy and as long as they did not grow with the baby everything would be fine. I just had to be mindful after I gave birth to monitor them and do a follow up just to make sure nothing was cancerous etc.
Well Sam is 7 years old now and while I did my normal annual appointments, I dare not mention the fibroids. You see once I heard the big “c” word, I resigned to will that out of my head and ignore it.
That way of thinking came back to kick me in the ass big time. For the past year or so I have suffered in silence as I deal with anemia related to excessive and prolonged menstruation. At times I am a prisoner of a restroom, not able to leave the house for days at a time due to pain and fear of not being able to make it to a bathroom in time. I have had to purchase clothing in the middle of the day and finish that day in a completely different outfit. Being weak and dizzy and feeling faint…It has just been a lot.
Initially you think you are the only one experiencing this until you begin to open up little by little and then others begin to share their stories as well. Once that happens you begin to wonder why it is so prevalent but that is another rabbit hole for another day.
In the image above you see what a lot of women look forward to – a sonogram. It is the time when you can connect with your unborn child and try to get an image that matched what you imagine they will look like upon entry to the world. For me, yesterday, it was impending doom.
It was my time to start the process of determining why my body is betraying me. I had to have a sonogram to see just how many fibroids I have and how large they are. It was my first step.
Immediately after that I had my results interpreted by my gynecologist and then it was time to endure a biopsy. Yes the big “c” is still in the picture until we determine that it isn’t…results will take a week or so.
In the meantime, I will disclose that we discovered more than fibroids. This meant an immediate change in prescription and money I had not planned on spending. It meant scheduling a series of follow up appointments. It means we are not out of the woods just yet. This means surgery in the very near future, and that is just the beginning. It could be choices I have made in the past, genetics, “food” consumption…
I can sit and ponder for a lifetime as the “what ifs…” and “maybe’s…” run the gamut but all roads lead here. To this circumstance.
For now, my path to this place matters not. What matters is that this is now a hard stop in my life. A big ass reset button. And it requires some serious thinking on my part.
When confronting what some deem your existence as a woman (bearing children) and even more than that, your actual mortality, what matters most?
What concessions are you making to satiate others at the detriment of your own happiness?