You know what I’m thinking about today? I’m thinking about those well known sanitary towel and tampon adverts where the surprisingly unbloated and immaculately unblemished female joyfully plays tennis in the tightest and whitest pair of Daisy Duke hotpants whilst on her period?
And you know what I think? That whoever created those adverts needs to be shot!
For starters, it paints a picture to our non period bearing bredrins (aka men) that having a period is somewhat fun, and enjoyable and almost – sexy! “What do you mean you don’t feel like going skydiving because you’re on your period? Buy yourself some BodyForm! Problem sorted!”
I once had an adolescent male client ask me if women could only bungy jump when on their periods, because of what he’d seen on the adverts. I was and still am – lost for words. Fancy having to explain to a 14 year old that the last thing a menstruating women feels like doing is getting involved in extreme sports. The only extreme sports she could possibly participate in are crying, screaming at loved ones and curling up in a ball! False advertising people… false advertising.
Secondly – these adverts are a LIE!
Here’s how the advert should look: Bloated, pimply and greasy haired possessed woman is writhing in her bed, crying and hysterical from hormones and screaming at anyone who so much as breathes at her the wrong way. Mother nature arrives with a pack of tampons, a hot water bottle and the obligatory bottle of wine. Woman thanks Mother Nature before telling her to piss off.
Periods are not big, nor are they clever.
And they are certainly not fun.
Especially after an induced or medically managed birth and followed by a delightful D&C, so I have discovered!
I am fortunate to have had fairly normal cycles until now. Typical 27 days. 4-5 days of bleeding. 17-18 days of fairly normal-ish behaviour and feelings. And then around 4-5 days of irrational, emotional, inexplicable behaviour (PMT) before it all starts again.
I did once go through a phase of PMDD (Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder) which I would never wish upon anyone, not even Mother Nature herself for inflicting it upon us in the first place. Imagine the worst ever PMT and then times that by a million and add in a flurry of manic, violent and even suicidal thoughts and BAM – you’re not even close to feeling what someone with PMDD does. It’s horrendous.
But anyway, I digress, but before the birth of Arran, most months were fairly predictable and manageable although never pleasant.
Yet, one month on from possibly the hardest time of my life: losing my baby, emergency surgery, two lots of further surgery and weeks of being bed bound… I get my period. Silly old me made the school girl error of telling folk it was not that bad at first! In fact, I bragged that it were almost nothing.
Mother Nature was obviously eavesdropping, as the following day, BOOM! I woke feeling as though someone were digging out my insides with a spoon. My clothes and bed linen were soaked. This was my punishment.
Not only did I physically feel like absolute pooh, but emotionally I was a mess too. A wicked and cruel reminder that I was no longer pregnant and my baby no longer grew inside me. And the icing on the cake… I would have been 20 weeks pregnant this week. Half way. We would have been having our major scan and finding out the gender. Seeing our beautiful baby up close.
But oh no! Instead there was a blood bath. A massacre. A cutting blow to the stomach and a vicious reminder of what was and what was not.
So what did I do? I put on my best white pants and went skydiving of course!
No, really. I cried, a lot. I laid in bed, a lot. I snapped at those I loved, a lot.
But I was strangely still grateful for my body doing what its supposed to. For functioning on time as it should. For building and shedding its uterine wall as is needed in a healthy, fertile female body. Every cramp and shooting pain reminded me of my loss, but it also reminded me of how lucky I am to have a reproductive system that does as its told, and that functions efficiently when so many women’s bodies do not.
So we will replay that advert. The one where Mother Nature walks in with a box of tampons, a hot water bottle and a bottle of plonk. I’d still thank her and tell her to piss off. Having a period is not fun, nor pleasurable, nor sexy. But it is necessary. And it is a sign that all is well in my little Womby World. So perhaps I’ll tell her to piss off, but come back in 4-5 days and have a glass of vino with me. One woman to another…