Introduction: Have you ever woken up to a bed sheet stained with blood? Did it ever make you feel bad about not being sure about your menstrual cycle date? Did you rub your eyes to check if it is real or you are living your worst nightmare? Did it dampen your spirit even more starting your day? Have you ever felt guilty for not being your best self during your periods?
If yes, then trust me, you are not alone. Period guilt is very real and it happens to a lot of menstruators. The ruined bedsheets and cute underwear can be a total bummer for your usual cheery self. But, why do we feel guilty about the period stains? It is because of the idealized image of the perfect period fed into us through different media platforms that we start to imagine these unrealistic expectations that we need to meet in order to be acceptable. Some of these include staying zealous even though you are dying from cramps, predicting your periods right, not staining your clothes ever, and the biggest of all-never complaining about your periods.
It is not just the outer world that promotes this sanitized version of what periods should look like but it is also a problem stemming from the stigma around periods. The moment we accept that periods are normal and that the period blood is not impure, the guilt surrounding the period stains would stop weighing us down. It is also important to realize that periods cannot be controlled and maintained and hence the unrealistic expectations surrounding them do not make sense. You cannot regulate something that is biological and out of your hand. It is natural for the hormones to rush through your body making you unpredictable and moody. It is natural to wake up next to a puddle of blood because periods can also be unpredictable. It is natural to feel fatigued during periods because you are losing blood and the lining of your uterus is literally breaking down. It is natural to not be your best self on your periods. But, what is not natural is to feel guilty about having periods.
The “period guilt” that you carry on your tired shoulders can only worsen your physical and mental health. Take a deep breath and cut yourself some slack. Your body is weak and vulnerable during periods and what it needs are comfort and peace. Do not fret over the stained bedsheet because it can be cleaned but if you end up harming your health because of these nonsensical standards then this strain might stay forever. It is necessary that we become comfortable about periods and talk about them. Initiate conversations with non-menstruators, make them aware of the things a menstruator has to go through during their periods and what they can do to help. It is through awareness and education that we can cast out these imaginary expectations and accept the reality of menstruation.
So, break these expectations and take a sip of your comfort tea, and rant about your cramps endlessly. Let everyone know that you are in pain and the least they can do is listen to you and maybe bring you a tub of ice cream?
Talk about periods, voice out your problems, seek help when you need it and take a break the load becomes too much. It is okay to let yourself relax when your body is going through a renovation. Everything else can wait because your health comes first.
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