It's Time to Talk about Periods... with Sharry!
There is a certain stigma surrounding periods. Be it having one, talking about them, mentioning that you’re on yours currently. We’ve decided that that’s not a topic of “polite” conversation, despite 51 percent of the population having one at some point or another. So today, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk to Sharry about periods, because this is the internet and we don’t have to be “polite.”
Lauren: When did you first get your period?
Sharry: Believe it or not I was 8 years old when I got my cycle. I remember the night before like it was just yesterday. Having two sisters and a gang of girl cousins, we were always having sleep overs, and this night I was so irritated and emotional. I couldn't understand why. The next morning, I went to the bathroom and found something "foreign". Confused and scared, my eldest sister came in the bathroom and told me what it was. She called our mother who came home from work bearing a bouquet of flowers, pads and FDS spray. We had "the talk" of how to care for myself.
L: That’s nice that you had that support immediately. I was twelve, and on a cruise where all the pharmacies were closed in port and on the boat, so I had to use whatever my mom had with me, which was of course only tampons, and she coached me outside of the tiniest bathroom as I tried to put it in, because I may have become a woman but I still was determined to go to the pool. Why do you think there’s such a stigma around even just talking about periods?
S: I believe there's a stigma talking about menstrual cycles because we have been conditioned to believe that it is something disgusting, almost shameful. I never understood why there is such a stigma. It is a time for a young lady to celebrate the new chapter of her life that she is entering into. It is a right of passage, which is a beautiful gift that should be nurtured. When I think back to how my mother celebrated me getting my cycle it makes me feel blessed, which is also the reason why I have continued this with my own daughters.
L: What is your go-to to make yourself feel better? Mine is lying in the fetal position.
S: My go-to before my time of the month is treating myself to a steam with the Calm Cookie Herbal Blend to prevent bad cramping and PMS symptoms. When my cycle comes, like most women, I crave chocolate or Cookies N' Cream ice cream, good sleep under the fan and HGTV.
L: If you love HGTV, I cannot recommend enough Marriage versus Mortgage on Netflix. Lastly, what do you wish men knew about periods? Because if we’re going to end the stigma surrounding talking about it, education is probably the first priority.
S: First, I wish men knew that they shouldn't feel ashamed or embarrassed running to the store to pick up sanitary napkins or tampons; it comes with the territory. This is a time when some of us will say we do or don't want, if asked, but we want you to already know what we want even if we say "nothing", like when asked what do we want to eat.
Also, there may be times when her flow is really heavy, and she may leak. It is something that I'm sure most women dread ever happening, so should you witness something like this, be kind. It doesn't mean she doesn't know how to care for herself, it could just mean she didn't "make it" in time.
To stay ahead, keep a heating pad, hot water bottle, Midol, Aleve, or Motrin nearby just in case cramping starts to get the best of us. This is a time when some women will become really quiet and subdued, so take advantage of this time by not asking too many questions, and it's the best time to take the initiative to do what you know she would want you to do around the house or even if it's something that she would normally do herself. Trust me, you would definitely win brownie points!
Most importantly, when it is not her time of the month, sit her down and ask what that time is like for her. Every woman has a different experience, so what may be the worst time of the month for some, may be just something that is a bit more inconvenient for another. Ask her what she would like from you during that time. This would definitely help keep the peace and will show her that you really care and are sensitive to her needs.
L: That is great advice. Thanks so much for talking, Sharry!