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Periods are Bloody Horrible

Here in the UK, a recent article in The Guardian Newspaper, called We need to stop being coy about periods and tampons, hit upon the fact that perhaps “the people in charge of public happiness, health and hygiene” aren’t in full possession of the facts when it comes to periods. And it got me to thinking…what do men really know about menstruation? I’m not talking about the biology book lessons which make it all sound so clinical and neat, but rather the gory, painful details which only women will really know about.

I believe that, as mothers, it is our job to educate our sons when it comes to matters of periods. After all, they are the ones who will have to deal with menstruating girlfriends and wives further down the line, and maybe, just maybe, if they knew the real truth about what periods are like, they might be in a much better position to understand what their other half is dealing with, and not become the laughing stock of the world like this idiot.

So here is the Suburban Misfit Mom guide to periods, gore and all.

  • Periods hurt. Not all the time, sometimes we might sail through with pain which is only a six or seven on the pain scale. But sometimes, especially just before, and the first couple of days, they are as painful AF. Imagine someone wearing gloves which are on fire, putting their hands inside your stomach and squeezing everything South of the belly button, and you might get an inkling of how much they can hurt.
  • Period pain can make a woman vomit. The cramps can be so strong that the entire stomach feels as if it being squeezed in a vice, repeatedly, and then released.
  • Period pain affects more than the stomach. I am not alone when I say that period pain affects both my back and thighs – my kidneys feel as if they have been punched, and my thighs feel like an entire family of rats are trying to gnaw their way out.
  • It gushes. It’s not a dainty little drip. Standing up is like opening a dam – there is a sudden flooding of blood and it can stop us in our tracks. Don’t tut if we stop dead and you walk into us – it’s because we have a Niagara Falls situation going on and we can’t walk with our thighs pressed tightly together, which is what we do (unsuccessfully) to stop the cascade.
  • There are clots. Yep, we don’t bleed bright red blood. Well, we do, but there is a whole lot of other shit going on at the same time. Even wearing a tampon doesn’t stop the clots – those suckers are so heavy and thick that they manage to bypass a Super Plus and drop out – they are big, black, and slimy, and look like something alien. And we feel them as they pass – believe me, that is NOT a nice feeling.
  • Periods affect sleep. Not only is our temperature raised when we have our periods, but we are also scared to move, as movement invariably means a scene reminiscent of a slasher movie and another set of ruined sheets.
  • It is tiring. Some periods are so heavy that they result in anaemia, meaning there is not enough iron in the blood. This can lead to fatigue, and falling asleep by 6 pm. It’s not because we’re bored with your company. Well, not all the time.
  • Periods can make women so hungry that they would eat their own arms if they could spare the blood. I always know when I am due because it leads to a feeding frenzy that wouldn’t be out of place in The Walking Dead. And it doesn’t even matter what it is, if it’s even remotely edible, it’s fair game. I once ate a frozen Black Forest Gateau.
  • Very occasionally, a woman can pass what is called a uterine cast. I have only had this happen to me once, after a steroid injection, and nobody had warned me that it might happen. The cramps came first, body-wracking spasms which could only be tolerated by lying in a fetal position with a hot water bottle. And then I felt the urgent need to go to the loo, where I gave birth to the entire lining of my uterus in one go. A complete replica of my womb came out in one fell swoop. It was gross. It was almost the size of my palm (and I’m no Donald Trump), and was triangular, solid and grey. My entire week’s period had come in one go before the lining had had time to break down. That was some scary shit. In my codeine fuelled haze I thought I had been abducted by aliens and impregnated.
  • Blood gets in places you wouldn’t think about. Lying on our backs, for instance, results in butt cheeks sticking together. That is not a good look.
  • Pubic hair takes on the dreadlock look. I’ll just leave that there.
  • We have two underwear drawers. One for the nice pairs, and one for period knickers. And no matter how much you boil wash those smalls, those stains are never coming out. So yes, we will sometimes wear greying, blotchy, stained knickers. Deal with it.
  • Sometimes we will end up with a used sanitary towel in our handbag, out of deference to our host. Nobody wants to find someone else’s Dr White’s Panty Pads in their bathroom bin, so we wrap them in tissue and take them home. So if you are rummaging through your other half’s bag when you’ve been to a dinner party, and she is on her period, it’s your own fault.

My son has been brought up in a house with a Mum and two sisters, so nothing about periods phases him. The mood swings, the back pains, the mess…he just shrugs his shoulders. Which is how it should be. Periods are natural, but they are a giant pain, and horrible.

I agree with the article in The Guardian – we DO need to stop being coy about periods – if only to make life easier for future women, and the men who love them.


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