My Mother Made Sure She Taught Me About Menstruation As A Young Boy

Posted by Nick Hill in #IAmNotDown, Menstruation
April 28, 2017
This post is a part of Youth Ki Awaaz’s campaign #IAmNotDown to start a conversation on the stigma around menstrual hygiene women deal with. If you have an opinion on how we can improve access to menstrual hygiene products or a personal story of fighting menstrual taboos, write to us here.

I was 13 when I saw sanitary pad advertisements on TV. Out of curiosity, I asked my mother what they were. Before she could say anything, two ladies from the neighbourhood started laughing and said, “This has nothing to do with boys. Don’t even ask about it.” And they switched the channel. However, their laughter continued.

That made me more curious and the next day I asked one of my female friends in school about it since I saw girls using it on TV. She complained about it to our principal and she scolded me. Next day, my mother was called and she was told that her son talks crap with girls. She was surprised by the Principal’s reaction but didn’t say anything and came home.

When I went back home she called my sisters and I and told us about menstruation. Not just the definition, but why it happens, why it is important and what needs to be taken care of when a girl is on her periods. She said, “You don’t need to feel shy about it and you don’t deserve to be scolded if you talk about it.”

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Suddenly, another lady from the neighbourhood overheard this conversation and yelled at my mom saying that she should not tell her son about menstruation. He would talk about it with other kids in the locality and that he was too young to understand. When he gets married, he’ll understand it himself, she added.

To this, my mother very politely replied, “He will eventually know all this. However, what if his wife has the same mentality as you and is raised by a mother who has similar thoughts like you? She will never say why she is behaving differently. Why she has pain, why is she not going to the temple or why she is avoiding being physical with her husband. When asked by a boy, girls have to lie, because talking about menstruation with boys is wrong according to people like you. And then all the boys get incomplete information. What they need is proper education on the issue. I don’t want my son to be lied to when he has questions about it.”

This is the reason my mom, sisters or my female friends never ever hesitate to tell me the reason for their cramps, pain or whatever they go through during those days.

This is just another natural process and why do we have to be silent about it? We need to break the shackles and stereotypes. If a guy asks the reasons for a woman or girl’s bad health, pain or mood, they don’t have to lie. Menstruation is important for the next generation too, right? So, what’s the big deal in talking about it!

Let’s talk about it now!