Thursday, November 1, 2012

It seems I had forgotten myself

So, I have recently had a baby (yay!) and my period just re-started out of nowhere. It is strange to me how weird it felt. It's almost as though in the last year I have forgotten what a period is. When it began, my first thought was, "Oh no, something has gone horribly wrong" probably because for the last year or so that's been exactly the case, and then I thought, "Oh right, I bleed out of my vagina sometimes"

It made me think about how some girls must feel when they get their periods for the first time and maybe that starting a period and restarting aren't really that different.

For me, my first period was not a big deal. Or at least it must not have been since I have no memory of it. The only thing I really remember was mom setting me up with some tampons in the bathroom. I had been fully aware not only what a period was, but also that it was going to happen to me, and was not a big deal. However, I remember when I was a camp counselor little girls having no idea what their period was, and losing their minds when it started suddenly at camp.

I'm not sure what the rules are these days, but at that time we were not allowed to talk to them about their perfectly normal body functions and instead had to make a big production of shuffling them off to the office to call their mothers. I think this was a disservice to these girls. Not only were they terrified, as is understandable if you don't know it's normal, but then they were treated (and by the rules had to be) as if they had done something horrible. You try to make it seem like no big deal, but the fact of the matter is you are pulling a scared little girl away from her day while saying "We're going to call your mom". It's scary.

Now, obviously as an adult who has been having a period for almost 20 years, it's slightly different. But for me at least, there was a fear of the unfamiliar which I don't ever remember experiencing when I started my period for the first time, and it made me think about those little girls whose parents never warn them about menstruation. My son, who will never experience menstruation,  knows what it is, why it exists, and that it's perfectly normal and not some weird thing that mom has to go hide to take care of, and I think that's healthy. Obviously parents should raise their children however they feel is the right way as long as they are not abusive, but I think that not telling a girl about menstruation is like not telling your child about sneezing, or pooping, or any other thing that our bodies do on a regular basis.


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