During My Periods, I Could Only Rely On My Grandmother – Guess What She Told Me!

Posted by Youth Ki Awaaz in #IAmNotDown, Menstruation, Society
May 28, 2017
This story is a part of Youth Ki Awaaz’s campaign #IAmNotDown to spread awareness on menstrual hygiene and start a conversation on how sanitary pads can be made more affordable. If you have an opinion on how we can improve access to menstrual hygiene products, write to us here.

Submitted Anonymously:

A Case Story On Awareness of Menstrual Hygiene

I live in the slums of Dinanath Mitra Lane in Kolkata. Life is not as easy as I would like it to be, but I manage. In fact, sometimes I feel that life was much easier for me, until about a year ago, when I started menstruating. You wouldn’t believe me if I narrate my life story, but every word of it is true.

I am the only child to my parents. My mother was killed when I was young. I grew up with my father, my uncle and my grandparents. I have never known about the special bond that mothers and daughters have – something that my friends keep talking about. I never had a woman in my house with whom I could share my ‘girl troubles’!

But, in all my life till now, I have never missed my mother more than the last one year. At 14, I was told by my friends that I am running late – a step behind all of them who had apparently started their journeys into womanhood. The first time we spoke about it, I was a little jealous. But I had heard the horror stories about the pain, the cramps and the blood stains. And I was thankful it hadn’t happened to me.

But it did. And I had no one to run to for advice, except my grandmother. She told me I wasn’t supposed to wash my hair during my periods, not visit the temple, not eat pickles, not run and play with my friends – and most importantly, not talk about it. She told me I was impure during these five days of the month – and that I must clean and wash all my clothes thoroughly and hang them separately, not with the other ‘clean’ clothes.

It frustrates me to be unable to talk about the discomfort I go through every month. I had mood swings, and I used to hate using cloth, and then wash the dirty ones. I wanted to feel cleaner during those days.

I really want to understand why this whole process is such a big secret. All my friends go through it – and that means every woman on earth has periods!

Recently, I got the chance to speak to some representatives of an NGO that helped me move from using cloth to using sanitary napkins. I feel much better nowadays. I really wish our families or schools would prepare us better to live with menstruation in a cleaner and more informed manner.


Image Source: Tanmoy Bhaduri