Exhausted with doctors not taking periods seriously, a new wave of authors is asking whether menstruation can ever be tolerable even enjoyable
A tiny drop of blood on our bathroom floor was what gave me away. My mother took it as a sign that, at the age of 15, my period had arrived. After popping out to the shops, she came to my room with sanitary pads and a bunch of flowers; the pads came with a brief lesson on how to use them while the gerberas were left behind without explanation, some unspoken symbolism for my blossoming womanhood.
The truth was, I had had my period for two years. It had arrived without fanfare when I was 13, but, in that short time, I had absorbed so many myths that I would smell; that sharks would attack me if I swam in the ocean (I grew up in Australia); or that I would end up mysteriously syncing with other women as in a kind of witchy coven that the thought of a period, and the dark adulthood those flowers symbolised, terrified me so badly that I had refused to deal with it. Instead, I had spent two years living in monthly subterfuge, stealing sanitary towels from friends houses and fashioning protection out of wads of toilet paper.
Years later, my increasingly erratic menstrual cycle ended when my GP gave me a prescription for the pill. Only now that I am off the pill for the first time in a decade am I truly considering the implications of this decision. I had dealt with my period by hiding it again but this time with a doctors permission.
So when Maisie Hill, a womens health expert, says she enjoys her period you could be forgiven for thinking she is bonkers (although she is no new-age type encouraging people to shove $66 (52) jade eggs into their vaginas, la Gwyneth Paltrow). Ive gone from thinking, Oh, how awful, every time it came, and counting how many periods I would have to have in my life, to wondering, How many have I got left? I really get something out of getting my period.
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