For some reason periods seem to be a taboo topic, as if talking about getting your period or being on your period would curse those around you. Why is the world so scared to talk about this? It is a natural biological event that happens – in theory – once a month. So, why don’t we openly talk about it? Why do we have to whisper when we ask a friend or a co-worker if they have an extra pad? Yes, we bleed monthly, Harold!
When we first get our periods, and throughout our entire school life, we are taught to hide our pads in our clothes when we have to go change in the bathroom. Why? Why are we teaching young people that they should be embarrassed of having their period? Your period is nothing to be ashamed of! Nothing that happens to your body should be a reason to feel embarrassed.
But what happens when we grow up? What happens when we become active members of society who have a job to go to? For whatever reason, we still find ourselves hiding our pads on the way to the restroom or whispering when we need to ask for one. We need to stop that! It is not a walk of shame. Carry that pad like it is the most natural thing in the world because it is.
Many of us struggle so much when we are on our periods. The pain is unbearable; sometimes just breathing makes your entire body hurt. There are moments when not even the pain medicine is enough. Some of us have hormonal problems that make those days even worse. And then there are those with irregular periods and all the issues that causes.
So, why do we hide those things? Why do we go to work pretending everything is okay when in reality we can barely stand up straight?
When you call out of work because of your period, what do you say? I have mostly heard people say it is for a personal matter. Just say it, you need a sick day. We should not be so afraid to use our sick days for our periods. You call it like that when you have a cold, why not when you are menstruating? The physical pain is there. You are not sick, but your body is going through something that is making it ache.
Employers should really start taking this topic into consideration. People should not be shamed or receive consequences if they need to take the time off those days; maybe allow them to work from home if it is needed. The bathrooms should have the products we need just in case our periods sneak up on us. Work environments should be more open and understanding to what it feels like to menstruate. But for that to happen, we need to start talking more freely about our periods.
From the moment they get their periods, we should teach young people not to be ashamed or embarrassed by it. It is a natural thing! They should speak up if they have questions or doubts or even fears. They should openly ask for pads if they need one and they should not hide them on their way to the bathroom. If we do this, we are opening the conversation. We are raising grownups who will talk about their periods and not be afraid to take the time off if the pain becomes too much. We need to normalize periods in every area of life but especially at work.
*Please remember women are not the only ones. Transmen and non-binary people get their periods too and they should be free to talk about it as well.*