Monthly visitor, or like the one we went for, Aunt Flo, so many cryptic words to describe the same process- most of us go through it and yet it’s so hush hush. Even in the commercials for feminine hygiene products, they can’t even show it in a realistic way. Women with massive grins on their faces, flipping over pads with blue liquid that is fast absorbing, yet we watch films with murders and gore and they have far more realistic representations of blood, compared to commercials for sanitary products. Even the name is laughable. So, this week on the blog, we wanted to open up the dialogue, sharing our experiences, thoughts and stories re: our periods. Happy reading!
- Tylenol (pain meds): these can be a life saver, especially if all else is failing to do the trick. I’ll be honest I basically become a druggy of sorts for the first few days of my period. I have come to realize that my 7 day cycle doesn’t like to let up anytime within that week long period, because my pain tolerance in regards to those infamous stomach pains…not cool. I rue the day that I (hopefully fingers crossed) give birth, because I may want to kill someone… sorry not sorry.
- Hot Water Bottle: I’ll be honest with you, I slack in this department. Sometimes I prefer to hibernate in my room (if the day so allows) rather that get up and boil the kettle to fill my hot water bottle, but I have on occation driven with one hidden under my shirt or jacket (lol) you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
- Massage/Yoga/Fetal Position/Propped Up Legs: Just changing your position to take some of the pressure off of your uterus tends to help and this may come in many forms from actually doing physical exercise to simply trying a new “stretch”. I read somewhere on my favourite forum (Pinterest) that propping up your legs on pillows or sleeping in th fetal position helps. For me pillows become my best friend, whether it be between my legs as I sleep, my legs resting on a pillow at night, to sleeping with a pillow up against my stomach along with the hot water bottle, I do what I’ve gotta do to get some good zzzz’s.
- Sugar (chocolate, Twizzlers): Okay, I know that I shouldn’t really be condoning the use of eating when one is not feeling their full self, but lets be honest, certain foods just look SOOO appealing when you have your period and that’s where I stand. Twizzlers and Hershey’s cookies and cream are my go-tos, maybe it’s psychological and serves no real purpose, but to merely make me feel good, but I’m not about to give this one up! I don’t over-due it ( I promise), I just buy one bag of Twizzlers and/or one Hershey’s cocolate bar, and once it’s gone, self-control kicks in. I actually have a method to my comfort food madness, I eat them in moderation, ie to ensure that they last the week 😉 hehe #winning.
- Warm Tea: I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of atea adict…dont judge! I will have a cup of tea everyday if I felt so inclined, but I contain myself and leave that obsession for those dark and cold winter nights, but sometimes having a nice warm drink that cools the insides that are otherwise feeling cold, and 100% not who you are, something warm makes it all feel better. I’ll admit that Starbucks and their Chai Latte’s become my BFF :D.
R2’s Aunt Flo Flow
Ugh, Aunt Flo and I have had a beef ever since I can remember. There are months when I can feel the day approaching where I know she will rear her ugly “womanly” head, and I get myself prepared; liner on, extra pads in my purse with the drugs ready to go! And then that is the moment she decides to be late! For someone like myself, who runs on organization and a bit of a game plan (ok, ok, MORE than a little bit of organization hehe) it kills me when she doesn’t show up on time. She wakes me up out of my precious sleep through pain…WHY can’t you grant me this ONE thing and BE ON TIME!? Mother nature they say, will you help a sister here, because you and I become one for 5-7 days; the least you could do is show up on time, is that too much to ask?!
I remember my mom showing me how to setup my pads for when that magical day would come, that Aunt Flo and I would become bffs every month…only to feel as if I was sick and then go to the bathroom and find myself yelling out to my mom in shock as to what was happening to me. I remember my mom telling me, “always carry extra pads”, “try to get to the bathroom and change every 2-3 hrs” etc etc. She was a bundle of knowledge, but I’m not so sure that she could have prepared me for the unpredictability of it all. The occasional late days, the stomach pains, the food aversions (yes I have food aversions when I get my period… it’s as if I am pregnant O.O), to the times when I throw up on an empty stomach and can barely eat anything. I think that through it all, I have to just remind myself that there is a purpose for everything. The pain and confusion that I go through now, is supposed to prepare me to a future that I hope to have, but it also reminds me of how strong I am. I am able to go through my week with Aunt Flo and do the things that I would normally do if Aunt Flo wasn’t around, and there are no visible signs that something is stirring inside of me and “cleansing” my body. It is those moments of feeling down when Aunt Flo is around, that make me stop to think, if so many women are going through life with similar experiences to mine, then I am not alone. We all have something to say about everything else, so why can’t we help each other out, and suggest the little things that we do to help us deal with Aunt Flo? You’re not riding solo here, we’re in the same boat, am I wrong?
-I used to always be old skool and track my period on an ACTUAL calendar, then I got with the times and bought a digital tracker on my phone. It’s called iPeriod (it appears as iP on the phone for discretion). Most period trackers don’t only track your period, they can also tell you the days you’re most fertile, you can track and schedule in your breast exams and also track your sexual health; all of which are very important.
-Good old calendars do the trick as well, I just preferred to have an app because it’s easily accessible but also if you’re at the drs and are asked when the 1st day of your last period was and you’re like me, an app makes it easy to reply to the question- lol. But you always have to remember, that the app is not connected to you, it is only as accurate as a simple Google search on a topic. It gives you the base-level; a guesstimate for your next period, fertility window and so forth. I still have months when my period tracker is a few days off, but I just get myself prepared, add my little purse with extra pads into my bag and start to wear a liner under my clothes. It never hurts to be prepared, because nothing is 100% accurate.
- Have a Soak: I know people are funny about going in the water when they’re on their period, but I found having a soak really helped me, not only was the warm/hot water soothing my muscles, but it also helps to relax me mentally.
- Chai Tea: I’m sure you can have others, like chamomile and a peppermint, but there is something so warm and soothing about chai tea; it contains star anise and has been known to be given to women who have recently given birth as a way to help them recover, so maybe we’re on to something.
- Move: It may not seem like the likely thing to do, especially when you feel like poo (see what I did there?), but just moving, walking, stretching really does help.
R1’s Aunt Flo Flow
I am that person whose period is as regimented as a military tattoo, I don’t really need the period tracking apps, because my body does what it needs to, when it needs to; like clockwork. It wasn’t until after I had my daughter that my period changed (they don’t tell you this shizzle). It, along with my hormones were all over the place, I would get it some months with all the symptoms and then the next it would be a no-show and then when it did reappear, the pain was so intense, it felt like my uterus was pushing out of my body! And for someone whose period never debilitated my life, it was definitely an adjustment. Once I went back on the pill, that was when it began to calm down and become much more chill, happy and stable.
I’ve mentioned before that the book that legit changed/shaped my childhood was Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, I could relate to the character so well and it was the 1st time I sort of got lost in a book, the only area that thoroughly confused me was the bit when she got her period, I was left scratching my head because up until that point, I had never even HEARD of the word period. (Great job education system). Needless to say, on a random summer afternoon, my mother takes me aside and decides she needs to have “the talk” with me, I’m not sure what it was like for her internally, but what I do know is that I was left feeling like something inside me was going to come out and not to panic because I wasn’t dying. Well! Panic I did! Not sure if my mother is some sort of clairvoyant, but less than 24 hours later, I got my first period, I woke up to find spots of blood in my undies and ran to the bathroom shouting for my mother. The whole time I was trying to reassure myself, “You’re not going to die, you’re not going to die”, “did you cut yourself without knowing?”. Of course when my mom got there she reassured me and reminded me of our conversation the day before and it then ALL started to make sense. But then I was told things wouldn’t be the same, my body was maturing and that I couldn’t do the same things I did before because I needed to do the maturing as well. I couldn’t play fight with my older brother anymore, I needed to do as little activity or movement as possible as I was now privy to a new club of becoming a “young lady”. Well, let me tell you, I wanted no part of it- this may sound odd, but I didn’t know much about periods until those two days and if I’m being honest, it didn’t sound very appealing and I wanted to go back to being oblivious. I know, I know this momentous occasion in every young girl’s life should be celebrated and looked on as a beautiful thing, but I personally couldn’t help but feel it was with a sense of loss. Like your body is ready to do things your mind hasn’t caught up to yet. I supposed I was disappointed with the wonder and awe used to pass on that fact that your body is maturing and it’s yet another thing you can’t control, and maybe as as child this is the 1st moment in a female’s life that this realization hits home. Or maybe it was for me, then again I think now that I have a child of my own and a daughter no less, will I explain the wonders of the female body any differently? I honestly can’t be so sure.
Periods and even the lack there of, doesn’t need to be something hidden away and we shouldn’t be made to feel gross or diseased- it is a completely natural part of the body’s development and should be approached as such. Sharing about our symptoms, struggles and tips/tricks should be shared throughout- not just to the newbies. What were some of the best things you learnt re: your period? Do you have any home remedies for when you’re feeling like your insides are eating its way out of your body? Do share!