Coping with Menstrual Isolation

gitajayakumar
Posted April 11, 2019 from India

Do we realize that most of what we go through come from belief systems that have been inculcated in us by our family members, friends, and other people we were in contact with in our early formative years? I had an interesting case where the lady was going through severe symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). 

According to her, her period was “3 days of sheer torture.” On further questioning I came to understand that ever since she got her periods as a young girl, she faced menstrual segregation.

She was made to stay separately and away from her family, eat and drink out of plates and glasses reserved for these days of segregation, stay in separate rooms, not mingle with other members of the household, not see them till they finished their daily prayers and rituals, and couldn’t go out anywhere except to school (and later, college). 

She did not like this practice and every month, a week before the onset of her periods, the dread would begin. She so wanted to be with the other members of her family, partaking in the joys and sorrows like she did every other day, on those three days. But, she was left “in the cold” as she put it. During the winters, she was literally left in the cold with just a mat to lie on and a thin bed sheet - not even a blanket - to cover herself. 

She realised that she got “puffy during those days” – which is a result of the isolation, speaking from a psychosomatic perspective. 

After she got married, the condition prevailed but not to the same extent. She could sleep on a bed and mingle with her family, but she was not allowed into the kitchen or prayer room. 

As years went by and her family turned into a nuclear one, she changed the rules for herself and her daughter but had to revert to old ways as there were frequent visits by her in laws. The story started again! It is really sad that despite growing up we still allow other people to rule our lives. 

Working on her belief system, releasing her emotions, thoughts and getting herself new strategies to cope with this situation, we worked together to set her free of this issue.

Comments 11

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Corine Milano
Apr 11
Apr 11

Gita, thank you for sharing about this practice and the impacts it had on this woman's life. It is not surprising that she feels so much around her period. I am glad you were able to work with her to help her cope and process the impact this has had in her life, and I am also glad to hear that she has tried to change the way she and her daughter experience menstruation. Certainly, many on World Pulse are working hard to challenge stigma—and I am glad you have joined us to speak out and create change on the topic as well!

Kirthi
Apr 19
Apr 19

Corine, Gita is my mum :-)

Jill Langhus
Apr 12
Apr 12

Hi Gita,

It's so sad that this practice still continues today. I'm not surprised that this woman's body was retaliating from how she was treated earlier in her life during her period. I'm so glad that you were able to heal, however, from the beliefs that were created around this harmful practice. It's good that she's changing the norm for her daughter and the future generation, but I agree that's it sad that people still allow other's to rule their lives, and to perpetuate harmful patterns. Thanks for sharing your powerful story.

Hope you're having a great day!

Kirthi
Apr 19
Apr 19

Jill, Gita is my mum :-)

Jill Langhus
Apr 20
Apr 20

Oh, wow! Sounds like you have a great role model, dear:-)

Hope you're having a great weekend!?

ELIZABETH ZIRO
Apr 12
Apr 12

You are and Angel Gita, keep doing the little things.

Beth Lacey
Apr 12
Apr 12

It is wonderful you were able to help her

Jensine Larsen
Apr 13
Apr 13

Gita, your healing powers are touching so many lives, keep going! We love to hear your journey and the joys and sorrows here. With love.

Kirthi
Apr 19
Apr 19

Jensine, Gita is my mum :-)

Seka
Apr 16
Apr 16

Dear Gita
Thank you for sharing this story where you show us how you are saving a generation. It inspires us because we also have cases where we have to stand up in our societies.
Blessings!

CATHIE
Apr 17
Apr 17

Hello Gita,
You are the light to many lives, thanks for helping her through. I love her beautiful attitude of trying to change the situation for herself and the daughter. Blessings as you enlight many lives!

Bright blessings.

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