A few of the blogs I have read lately recently contributed to the “Menstruation Matters” meme and I found them a fascinating read. I have always loved hearing and reading about different bodily functions, particularly ones I could relate with. Growing up, I never really liked talking about my periods because it was considered “not polite” or “no one’s business but mine.” Even with doctors I felt uncomfortable discussing my menstrual cycle. I never really became open about my periods until I had serious boyfriends, because well, I didn’t know how to hide it. After I started my blog I became even less shy about periods. Here is my story.
I got my first period a month and a week after turning 11 years old. My first one wasn’t bad to be honest. It only lasted a day, there was very light bleeding, and no cramps. My next few periods stayed light, and only lasted about 3 days. I started to get mild cramps, but they never were too much of an inconvenience. They were fairly regular, coming 25-32 days apart for the first year or two. I also remember them always starting during the most inconvenient times. I had not yet learned to always be prepared for them by carrying pads with me at all times.
My period gave me several embarrassing times. One time in junior high (I was about 12), I got it in the middle of an assembly. Because I had no pads with me, I had to go to the school office and ask the secretary for something. I remember it well because the secretary happened to be my crush’s mom at the time. It didn’t matter that it was a natural thing to me, it was still horrifyingly embarrassing.
Another time I was at summer camp, talking to some girls that were a year or two younger than me. They had not started theirs yet, so they wanted to know all about periods. I was sitting cross-legged on a rock and describing my embarrassing moments with periods when one girl pointed asked if I was bleeding down there. I looked down to see that yes, my period had come when I least expected it. I was mortified, especially since I had to find my camp counselor to get help. To make matters worse, my counselor was male. Luckily he was very nice and found his girlfriend, another counselor, to help me. She had some pads, and even gave me a few quarters to take a shower in the bathroom.
When I was 13 I stayed the night with me sister and her husband. I woke up early the next morning, and was horrified to find a big red stain on their white couch. Ashamed and embarrassed, I got my sister, who helped me clean it and once it was dry, flipped the cushion over to hide the stain.
Through high school and college, I learned to carry pads with me at all times. I never started wearing tampons until I had swimming class in my sophomore year of high school. My mom did not like the idea of me using them, and for the longest time tried to tell me that if I used them I wouldn’t “be a virgin anymore.” After talking to my sisters, they bought me a box to try and told me how to use them.
I first started birth control when I started considering having sex with my first serious boyfriend. I got the shot, Depo Provera and learned it could stop my periods and the embarrassing nuisances I found them to be. I don’t want to go to in depth on my birth controls in this post because I want to write a different post about my birth control experiences.
After I stopped Depo, it took a year for my periods to start back up. When they came back, they came back with a vengeance. I had cramps from hell, and bled way too much. So much blood, that I would fill a super overnight pad with wings while wearing a super tampon. I thought it was normal, so I dealt with it. The next birth control I seeked only to stop my periods, as I wasn’t having sex.
I was never happy with pills, since I still had a period, even if it was (only slightly) lighter than my new normal periods. I switched back to the shot, back to pills, and now I have the Mirena IUD. For the most part the IUD stops my periods, but since I have been on the keto diet I tend to get really bad cramps and light bleeding when my body goes into ketosis.
The cramps get so bad that I can be doubled up over a heating pad and still not feel relief. I live with it though, because I don’t think I would do will without the IUD. Again, something for another post.
Much to my surprise, I have not had a period in the last few months. In a way I am happy, as I wanted the IUD to stop my periods, but at the same time I always have a slight worry in the back of my head of “what if?” What if I started doing keto wrong? What if it moved to a place it shouldn’t have? What if etc….?