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My menstrual experience

Menstruation and menstrual blood symbolize unfortunate in my community.Menstruating girls and women are taken as untouchable and impure people. Menstruation is still a taboo and a social misconception. This normal physiological process is still not understood and taken as a misfortune in some communities of my country.

Let me share about my experience of my first menses. Since I am born to an educated and well-to-do middle class family, I didn't have to face that much difficulty as most of the young girls in my country regarding menstruation taboo. This is so because this taboo is related to socio economic status of the community too.

I was barely 13 yrs old and was in my middle school when I had my first periods. One fine morning I woke up with my bedsheet stained with blood and my pink trousers had that red patch on back. I immediately realized that I had now turned into a fine lady from a mischievous child in a sense that I had been listening from my elders that menstruation brings about that growth and maturity. I wasn't happy,rather than I was about to break into tears while calling my mom to let her see that. I was sad and my heart was palpating for what had to come before. My mother then immediately closed the door of my room and told me that I had my firse menses and that I had to stay inside my room from now. I was not that afraid or shocked but I was really worried and anxious what will happen then. She had been telling me about menstruation and its process and I was witnessing my mother's too. Also I was little informed about this thing in my health classes at school even though i was unknown about its physiology .

My mom taught me to put on sanitary pads and underwear amd how to protect from spilling. Thanks God I had an easy access to sanitary pads because my mom had collected and protected some for special time for herself. She used to use pads during office time and use cloth napkins for rest of the time. So i got to use them for the first time and have been using pads till now. I am really fortunate in the sense I had my mom beside me and I got to use hygienic product from the beginning till now. But most girls and women in my community lack even the basic need, the sanitary napkins and not even their family support.

Another thing I want to share is that menstruating girls and women are taken as untouchables. Girls during their first period are not allowed to come out of their rooms or go to school or help in the households or see the male members of their family for certain days. This is not the only case. In certain areas and communities within country, girls and women during their menses are kept on a different place, a shed or a hut away from home.It looks no better than a sty, dark,low roofed,cold without windows and really small that a person merely fits in. Women are not allowed to wear much clothes, no cooking even no dairy products are given in a fear that the animals may be cursed by God.We hear many stories of death by cold, asphyxia, wild animals and even worse, raped in those huts. Many women in town walk to office and home in fear of being touched to males in public vehicles.

I, too had to abandon my school and classes for 10 and 5 days during my first and second menses respectively. I fought hard with my parents to let me go to school, but all in vain. The tradition has deeply rooted in the society that even today, girls are forced to be absent from school for few days. Also, because of lack of toilet, water and sanitary napkins, the absenteeism of girls in school during menses is very high. I tried my best to protect my younger sister from this taboo but I failed.

Thus, my first menstrual experience was not a good one as it had to be. I couldn't celebrate it with happiness for entering into girlhood, instead I had to fight with family to let me be as usual, not restrict me in my daily activities. I am thankful that I didnt have to face the problems as my fellow age-mates but i am strictly against that tradition and taboo. Until we cannot eradicate such deeply rooted taboos from our society, we cannot work towards women empowerment and women rights.

Girl Power
Menstrual Health
South and Central Asia
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