Can we start respecting our menses?

Amruta Gupta
Posted May 30, 2019 from India

First of all I would like to thank world pulse for giving women like me a platform in order to voice out our opinions on menses. And I would want each and every woman/girl to be aware about the importance of menses in their lives and start respecting it.

As gone are the days when getting into puberty was celebrated in my country. Now menses are neither celebrated nor respected. In fact Periods or menses is a so called taboo subject in our societies until today. And though we have advanced technologically and medically yet most of us shy away from this topic. Maybe that's the reason the pads names are also whisper, stay free, care free as in stay away and don’t care from discussing this topic. But just because of not discussing about periods openly somewhere women as girls have felt helpless, scared? I remember when I had started bleeding I didn’t have a clue about the irregularities of periods and that had made me nervous. Except that I was aware that every girl bleeds when she is in her puberty. I did have all the biological knowledge about periods but what attitude I should be having towards periods was never conveyed to me. Instead I was told that periods is something I need to be feeling awkward about.

And for me these embarrassing feelings about periods were there until I came to know about the importance of periods in a woman’s life. That was the day I got a new perspective of menses as being a symbol of feminity, of course that’s the reason men don’t menstruate, right? It is given to us as nature has bestowed the gift of life bearing to us. This is something we women should be proud of yet most of us feel ashamed of or think it to be a nuisance. Most us even have strong loathing towards menses as it becomes painful and hinder our important tasks. And it’s not our fault because our upbringing has always asked us to be having a go getting attitude while were seldom told to be at ease with our own bodies and our menstrual cycles. And undoubtedly due to this attitude women in today's era have become successful in almost all areas of life but somewhere we have forgotten the feminine principle of nature, which also says to go in cycles of rest and revival. And this is always fabulously conveyed to us by our menstrual cycles. But our demanding lifestyles states we can rest only when our schedule permits us to and not when our bodies ask of us to.

According to my understanding menses are a nature's way of saying "Hey beautiful hard working woman, now is the time to rest and reflect, have some me time rather than meager time”. I totally agree that this information did not come to us in a right manner. We were told to stay away from holy places, rituals and kitchens but the exact reason of doing so didn't come to us. Rather the belief that came down was menses blood is something which is impure and the woman/girl becomes untouchable during such time of the month.  And I know menses hygiene is important but we perceive the blood of our menses as something which is dirty. I too used to feel the same until I came to know that the blood which is expelled out from our bodies’ in fact contains many macro nutrients that are important for soil and can be given back to mother earth. That’s the reason this layer is prepared by our bodies every month to bear a child and give it a new life. It’s funny we eat eggs stating that its nutritious and have high content of proteins but we discard and treat our own blood badly which contains high amount of nitrogen phosphorus, potassium etc. By saying this I don’t intend to convey that anyone should be consuming their menses blood, but I want women to be aware about the importance of it. And change their attitude towards their menses. Because there are few who also think and say it is a pain to be woman. NO it’s not a pain to be a woman; in fact it’s a blessing. Just because one decides to go against nature of how nature has made a woman, of course it would be a struggle. Because I feel most of us resist our periods just because we do not want to miss those important tasks on our schedule. Instead can we start embracing the fact that Periods are an important part of our lives and to start respecting it rather than cursing it? And I have started respecting my own menses, and my question will remain to those women out there who don’t,  when will you start respecting your menses?

Moreover I wish that the coming generation don’t face what we had.  Girls should also be taught to have a positive attitude towards periods. The day when a girl first bleeds it should be celebrated by giving her a sapling as a gift to nurture. Telling her that she too is like the plant and the way plant gives birth to new life.  Likewise she has also reached a stage where she is able to bear a life for which she should be proud of and not ashamed of.

There can also be ritual of giving back the menses blood each month to mother earth and offering some flowers. This is just a way of saying thanks and being grateful to mother Earth for whatever She is bearing for us.

And lastly my heart’s desire is that the pads and tampons should be replaced with some biodegradable material so that the these don't be collected in our landfill or be burnt to cause environmental pollution, rather go back to the earth. Else women/girls start using menstrual cups which can help collecting the blood and safely giving back to mother earth.

Courtesy:

I was truly moved and inspired by Clare Dubois - the founder of Treesisters asking women to be part of course "Wild power" on menses. This was the time I got to know that women should not be ashamed of their periods but proud of it. Also have received lots of inspiration and support from Treesisters in my journey to changing my attitude towards my periods and how I see myself in this world as a woman.

Following links for  more information and images :

https://www.thedailystar.net/star-weekend/health/the-plight-menstruating-women-1240624

https://ecofemme.org/men-in-menstruation/

and free search through Google search engine.

 

This story was submitted in response to Menstruation Matters.

Comments 21

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Lisbeth
May 30
May 30

Hello Gupta, congrats on your first post, and honestly it was very detailed going through it. How your community view "period". Their appreciation and setbacks all inclusive.
Thanks for sharing it. Hope you have a nice day.

Amruta Gupta
May 31
May 31

Thankyou Lisbeth :)

Tola Makinde
May 30
May 30

Congrats on lending your voice here.
Great read.

Amruta Gupta
May 31
May 31

Thanks Tola :)

Hello, Gupta,

I enjoyed reading your post. There are so many insights I learned from you. First, looking at menstruation as a symbol of femininity. True, because that is one thing we all share as women. Not all get married or can give birth. Not all careers in ICT or own a business. But menses? We experience it every month. Because of it, we need to celebrate it because this is one thing that unites us all.

I also love when you wrote that it is a way of Mother Nature to tell us to rest. Your ideas of how to celebrate with a girl who has entered womanhood by giving her a sapling, and offering back to a gift to nature every month are great practices to consider. I support you, too, on looking for environmentally friendly ways on what to use for our periods. There are two choices I am considering: menstrual cups and reusable pads.

Let's continue to talk about menses because this is our celebration as a woman! Thank you for sharing.

Welcome to World Pulse! Please write more!

Amruta Gupta
May 31
May 31

Thanks Karen for your support! And I wish to mention here that most of the insights I have received from Treesisters, for which I am truly grateful!
And yes menses is indeed a way of celebrating our womanhood! And I have been celebrating my menses every month since past 6 months now. Firstly by resting and reflecting during this time. And secondly by giving back the menses blood to mother earth. The simple act of giving the menses blood to earth has changed my perception about it being dirty or something which needs to go down the drain. Also earlier I used pads made of polymers which were not biodegradable. I learnt that these pads/ tampons are not recycled in an environment friendly way but burnt causing air pollution. Plus the menses blood which can be beneficial to the land ends up in the pads in the landfills or are dumped in the water bodies causing harm to marine life.
That's the reason I started using menstrual cups, and I agree that using it was a learning curve for me. But now I am happy using it and it's easy to collect blood and give back to the soil which in turn increases its fertility. And reusable pads would be a good option but I haven't tried it yet so I won't be able to comment on it!
Moreover after starting to use menstrual cups, I have been wanting to let other women in my community know about the usage of pads/ tampon leads to environmental pollution and about changing their perception of how they view "periods". However whenever I tried talking to my friends, they were shy and avoided the conversation altogether. That's the reason I decided to write about this in the form of blog.
And yes I would like to discuss this further in order to understand how best we can spread the word about menses in a positive way. Which in turn would help women/girls to switch to an environment friendly options for their periods and also change their perception ab
out periods.

Hello, Amruta.

I still have to explore menstrual cups. Thanks for sharing another insight about it. It’s great that you are proactive in informing the women on your community on ways we can be more kind to our environment.

Continue to write on World Pulse. I hope you find meaningful connections with women who are doing the same advocacy. There are many of you here. Looking forward to reading more from you.

Amruta Gupta
Jun 03
Jun 03

Yeah I am grateful to World Pulse!
And have more to share so will continue writing here :) Thanks Karen!

Happy to know that! You're welcome dear.

The Oscar Women
May 31
May 31

Here is my introduction
Hey am Suman the "Period.End of Sentence" won an oscar 2019. the documentary is my real life struggle,‪ We have received success on a topic on which we can't even talk about in public. ‬Mensuration/‪Periods,the topics of a shame for women in the Indian society to talk about, we have been able to work towards raising awareness about it. Our aim is not just to sell sanitary napkins. Our aim is to make people accept cleanliness during periods. We want all women to understand this and take care of their hygiene. If our voice even reaches to a single girl around the world then we feel we have succeeded, I am here to support all my soul sister.
24 / 7 You can contact me for any support or any suggestion/guidance all around I’ll be happy to help that will be my great pleasure,‬
When Women Support Women, Miracles are Bound to Happen.
The pad women on a mission
Pls,follow me:
twitter: @theoscarwomen,
Instagram: theoscarwoman,
Facebook: Suman ( the Oscar women)

Amruta Gupta
May 31
May 31

Hello Suman, Glad to know about your story and your achievements. I agree raising awareness about menses is indeed a struggle and I salute you for your persistence towards your goals.
Also I am in consensus with you that menstruation/ periods are topic of shame but now the new challenge is we need to convey women and majorly the society that it is not something a woman/girl needs to feel ashamed about. In fact a woman/girl needs to feel proud that nature has given her the gift of life bearing and this could be done by celebrating when the girl first comes into puberty by giving her a gift of sapling.
I also understand menstrual hygiene is important and I totally agree that in villages like Hapur the shame and guilt around periods is so much that in an attempt to hide about the periods, the women are unable to follow proper hygiene routine.
However not using proper sanitary options doesn't make the menses blood to be treated as something which is dirty as in fact it contains important elements as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which are important for soil and plant fertilizers also contain these 3 elements. Also the pads which are now being available to the women in villages should be biodegradable and I have heard about Sakhi's initiative of providing 100% biodegradable pads in Goa while I am not sure about other villages.
Yes indeed we all need to stand together and spread the word about the importance of menses and helping every woman/girl to switch to an environment friendly option for their periods. Please let me know your thoughts about this and how best we can help spread the word!
Thankyou
Amruta

Jill Langhus
May 31
May 31

Hi Amruta,

Thanks for sharing your first post. I love your refreshing view on how menstruation is a blessing, as well as your well wishes for the environment, and for girls to not have to suffer in future generations when they menstruate. I love Treesisters, too, by the way:-) I'm looking forward to seeing more posts from you and to learn more about your interests and what you're passionate about!

Hope you're having a great Friday!

Amruta Gupta
May 31
May 31

Thanks Jill for receiving my thoughts so well. Yes i would be posting more in here especially about menses and wish that the importance of menses and using an environment friendly options for our periods are spread wide and far .
Presently I am passionate about spreading awareness in living a better harmony with nature and to improve our relationship with nature, trees and indeed environment and that's the reason I am a Treesister :) Are you also a Treesister? If not I would really welcome you to becoming one! Also would also like to know more about your interests?

Jill Langhus
Jun 01
Jun 01

You're welcome, dear:-)

Great to hear!

Yes, I'm also a Treesister.

Thank you, dear. I'm multi-passionate:-) I love designing, mentoring and am presently working on my passion organization to create a website and safe havens for women worldwide to help stop trafficking. You can read more about it on my "posts" page, if you like. Thanks for asking:-)

Hope you're having a good weekend:-)

Amruta Gupta
Jun 03
Jun 03

That's lovely to hear Jill that you too are a Treesister! And amazing to know about your work. Sure will read more about it!
Thankyou and have a nice day :)

Jill Langhus
Jun 03
Jun 03

Thank you, dear:-) I appreciate it!

You're welcome. You, too:-)

esther atosha
May 31
May 31

hello gupta ,
thank you for your first story on how menses are seen in your society and your wishes regarding this equivocation.
i'm looking forward to learn more about you.
स्वागत

Amruta Gupta
Jun 03
Jun 03

Thanks Esther, for your support and welcoming me! Yes we all are here to learn and share with each other :)
And to tell about me a little is that I am Amruta based in India and I am passionate about spreading awareness to people about coming into a right relationship with nature. Though we Humans are the most evolved species on this planet, yet we are not living in harmony with our natural world as compared to other species and this is resulting in a lot of chaos.
I understand as we have evolved, our technology has advanced in order to separate us from nature and to conquer it. While if observed closely nature is also a genius in creation. Everything which is created goes back to earth (biodegradable) and there's no waste that is created. And I truly wish that the manufacturing companies especially pads/ tampons companies also understand the basics of creation and become responsible by innovating their products to that which are biodegradable and cause no harm to our environment.
In present scenario the pads which are biodegradable are more costly as compared to the ones which are not and for the latter cost are borne by nature for providing the product. And sooner women from all areas need to understand this that life on earth is more important than making a big savings for the family. And for this I am glad women like you and me are coming together and sharing our thoughts/ insights which go out loud and clear to change the course on how each one relates to mother earth.

Michaela O'Driscoll
Jun 01
Jun 01

Beautiful words Amruta. It is so true, as we reclaim honouring and reverence for our girls and women's bodies, we restore reverence to our blessed Earth.

Amruta Gupta
Jun 03
Jun 03

Thankyou Michaela! Sending lots of love and blessings on this new moon :)

Immadupoto Shilalo
Jun 07
Jun 07

Congratulations on sharing this on World pulse, it's a fascinating message.