Menstruation series: an introduction

I remember vividly one family holiday I had when I was about 8 years old. My family used to spend every summer in a beautiful city by the sea, in Argentina. We usually went there with other families who were either relatives or friends of my parents with their children. Gee, I loved those summers! This city used to be really safe so as children, we were out by ourselves most of the time.

One day, I was out strolling on the beach with 2 of my older girl-friends. I was 8 so they must have been around 12 and 14 years old. Suddenly, the oldest girl started saying that we had to go back to the house immediately. IMMEDIATELY. I was shocked because that behavior was so odd. Why would we go inside in such great weather? Then, right when I was about to ask what was going on, I looked at her and saw that she had blood running down her legs. I couldn’t really figure out where the blood was coming from and I thought it was so weird that she wasn’t even looking at it so I just asked: “why are you bleeding? Are you hurt?” She seemed so embarrassed by my question. She started giggling and said, “hasn’t your mom explained to you what happens to women at the beginning of their teenage years?” Her tone was so condescending that it made me think of some sort of secret I was obviously supposed to know about. I had no clue what she meant. So, as always, I was plain honest and said ‘no.’

After some more giggling she noticed that the embarrassment had shifted from her to me, for not knowing what was going on, so she stopped her nervous laughter. Patiently, she started describing what menstruation was. She didn’t use any funny word I wouldn’t be able to understand. She was extremely clear and graphic. I was amazed. ‘So, is that how we know we are ready to have a child? Is that how we go from children to women?’

Once we got to the house, I ran to tell my mom what an educational stroll I’d had. My mom was chatting with some of the other grownups. I went straight to her, filled with excitement, and burst out: “mom! Jess is menstruating! She told me all about it so now I know what that means!” Everybody stared at me. Men were looking at women, puzzled. Women were looking at me, blushing, as if I had said something forbidden. My mom took me to the other room and tenderly explained that I wasn’t supposed to talk about menstruation in front of others— let alone men. She answered all my questions about it but she made her point over and over again: periods were women’s stuff and I wasn’t supposed to talk about them so ‘freely’.

Ever since then, I’ve been wondering about menstruation. What’s all this secrecy about? As I grew up, I tried to do some research. To my surprise, not much had changed. For example, in school, they teach you about the biological process going on in your body. They tell you that it comes every 28 days and that’s all. They don’t teach you about pads, tampons or any other alternative. If you think about it, we discover menstrual products mainly from advertising. And advertisers, as we saw in ‘Mad Men’, are mostly men. So, following my mom’s advice from before, why should they “teach” us about menstruation if they can’t even talk about it? Why would men be in charge of something they know little to nothing about?

I’m not trying to show my true feminist colors here. I’m just wondering. Probably you, my dear female reader, have wondered about all this too. Have you ever felt identified with some commercial who told you that your period is blue? Or that while menstruating, you should feel as good as ever; or that you can wear white pants? No woman in the history of humanity has had blue blood; has felt perfect or has wanted to wear white pants during her period.

What we DO want and need is menstrual education. One that explains real issues in a way that we can all understand. Kind of what my friend Jess did all those years ago.

So, bearing in mind that in no way I am an expert on the subject, knowing that I’m just someone curious about the matter who happened to translate the work of real experts, I’d like to attempt my own series of articles related to menstruation. I want to talk about things that I would have liked to know ages ago, such as all kinds of menstrual products there are; period pain; period related illness; the importance of ovulation to our health; contraceptive methods and more.

I invite you to follow my social media, where I will let you know every time a new article has been posted. I hope you are as excited as I am about this! If there is anything you’d like me to talk about, please leave me a comment so that I can research it properly.

Hi there! I’m Ariadna, from ariadnatranslations.com
I’m here to share some thoughts and ideas about language, women/feminism, health and wellbeing, among other interesting topics. If you liked what you read above, I invite you to comment and share in your social media. Let’s all learn from each other! Remember: sharing is caring!