What menstruation stories did you hear growing up (true and fiction)?
I heard about girls who taught they got injured in their pininin and got so scared...
I heard about others who weren't prepared for the experience and acted hysterically at the sight of their blood...
I was about 12 going to 13 when I first started menstruating. I had felt the urge to use the toilet and discovered two tiny drops of blood sitting on my panties. Luckily for me, my mum had prepared me for this and I had an elder sis who was already in the boat.
Back in the day's (dunno about now) menstruation was a big deal. It meant you had graduated from a small girl circle into the big girls clique (you know those cliques that talked about "boys, parties and all) with little or no information about menstruation matters.
I was a shy and introverted girl while growing up so menstruation was a big deal for me to handle. Apart from the horrific pain that accompanied every period was the fact that I was shy about it. I feared being stained and talked about in school (believe me I had seen one too many girls being stained and I didn't want to be part of the gist Toluwalope Adewusi can testify) so I devised both hygienic and unhygienic means to achieve this dream (believe me you don't want to know, lol). I would use my sanitary towel and use tissue paper (thank God none of my tubes got blocked) to support, sometimes it felt so uncomfortable you'd notice from the way I walked (whoever thought I'd be writing about this?)
So even though I went to a good secondary school with access to basic WASH infrastructure (toilets, water system and refuse bins) it was so uncomfortable coming to school when I was on and if for any reasons my period started in school, I'd almost faint trying to collect sanitary towel from the school counsellor who always had them to give.
Funny experience but I wish I knew some things then that I know now.
Now, more than before, girls need to be taught ( I hear some girls start menstruating as early as 9 years old) about the changes their bodies experience and that it sometimes comes with a change in their mood so they can take charge. They need to be taught to embrace womanhood, menstruation is an initiation into womanhood. They need to be taught to speak about it and ask questions when they need to. They need access to good menstrual & hygiene education and hygienic menstrual products (regardless of their economic status). They need to know that It's normal and it prepares them if God decides to bring forth "mini them" into this world.
Dear menstruating girl-s, you aren't dirty, no, you aren't smelling, you are a woman, you are beautiful!
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