The recent twitter dual between Ameesha Patel and Kushal Tandon set me thinking on why am I so secretive about my cycle? (I personally thought the way Ameesha responded was amateurish. My views are close to those mentioned in this blog post)
Since the onset of my periods, I used to suffer incessantly with the accompanying stomach pain. I had to miss classes, sports, practice sessions, sleepovers, camps, exams, labs and sometimes even the most fun-filled cultural festivals.
During the unavoidable circumstances like board exams, I had to resort to hormones to postpone my period and mess with my regular cycle. Some times they worked and some times they didn’t. In such circumstances, I had to overdose myself with pain killers – sometimes tablets and sometimes even injections.
In addition to the physical pain, I had the additional self-induced burden of being secretive about the whole issue. Whenever I needed to go back home abruptly, I faked head ache, fever or any other ache which is the farthest possible illness from the menstrual cramps. Due to my regular excuses of ill-health, among friends I came across as a unhealthy person, unreliable for being a partner in any activity. Inspite of my consistent academic performance, I was not a teacher’s pet because I missed exams sometimes. When I started work, I felt lucky to report to a female boss because I could finally be truthful about my problem. Later on when I shifted jobs and started reporting to a male boss I fell back into the trap of faking. Until one day when my boss expressed deep concern about my health and offered to refer a good doctor. That day I told myself I had enough and told him that i am just having my regular female problem and that I am in touch with a good gynecologist.
In retrospect, I regret the fact that I faked my own unreliability. I now think I should have been open about my issue. I should have allowed my world know my problem. That way there was atleast a possibility of empathy and may be we could have worked around my schedules keeping in mind my cycle. I suffered most because of my secretiveness and my intention to keep everyone in the dark.
Over years and especially after giving birth to my child, my cramps have significantly reduced. But my heart goes for all those girls who are conditioned to keep quite about their regular bodily function.
I know I have to be the change I seek. So, to play my part, I have started speaking openly about my periods with male members in the family. My 3 year old son understands that he should not strain me when I have my cramps. Now through this blog post I have gathered myself to write publicly about my story. I hope this act of mine would encourage many more women to talk and discuss this issue. We are the only ones who could give our girls the courage to talk openly about their menstrual problems.
So women, please comment and let the world know your tryst with your periods!