Each week, we will be asking people who get their periods to talk about their relationship with their menstrual cycle. Feel free to get in touch with us via email in order to submit your own Period Piece. Thank you to all menstruators who choose to share their stories. By doing so, you are helping to break the taboo and normalise menstruation.
I was one of those girls who really wanted to be a ‘woman’ sooner than most. I remember making everyone in my class believe that I had my period before a school trip…because I guess I was just weird. I didn’t live with my mum and when she would come visit me, she would often ask if I had gotten my period yet, and once I replied: “yeah, I think so, I had it for about an hour yesterday”. I guess she had a good laugh at that back then!
I've always been interested in being a woman, although the reality of it was, unsurprisingly, a bit meh. I went on the pill at 17, when I met my first serious boyfriend so I didn’t have much of an experience with my period. I remember a few fun times, where mid-sex, I would scream, jump off my boyfriend and run to my pill drawer, to only realise that I had actually remembered to take it and we could continue…I’m sure my boyfriend loved that!
After a year of that kind of malarkey, I decided to get an IUD. I just couldn’t be bothered with having to think about taking a pill every day. My doctor was a little surprised someone so young wanted an IUD, as they are usually reserved for women post-baby. I assured the doctor that despite my age and tiny body frame, I was very mature and could act just like a lady who’d had a baby, so I was sure I’d be fine. And she agreed!
Getting an IUD... that sure was a fun procedure! God, I love sitting in a room with my legs in the air while three people look up my skirt! I vividly remember thinking what an idiot I’d been to shave down there but leave my legs all hairy. However, it was a welcome distraction to having a very large glass object (speculum) shoved up me. Anyway, I liked the IUD, it was nice that I didn’t have to think about birth control, but it did make me fart a lot during my period…
Yet the irony was that although I felt secure that I was protected from pregnancy, because the (hormonal) IUD stopped you from bleeding, each month I sort of freaked out a little just incase it had stopped working and I was actually pregnant.
So after 5 years of this, I changed to the copper IUD, one of the only non-hormonal forms of contraceptive available. Again, the insertion procedure was not ideal, but it was the first time in 8 years that I would experience my body, period and hormones without anything changing them. I was excited to see who I was, underneath all those hormones I’d been putting in my body.
Getting my period again was a bit like that scene in The Shining... the bit where the elevator doors open and there’s blood everywhere…yeah it was pretty gross. I’d also forgotten what it was like to buy tampons and pads! I forgot that when I laughed or farted, the tampon would push out a bit, like I was giving birth to a tiny cotton baby…but it was strangely nice.
In a weird way, I like getting my period. I like knowing that I am healthy, I don’t have anything making me moody or gaining weight - I’m just moody and greedy naturally! I am one of the lucky ones though, my periods are pretty light now and I only experience mild pain and irritation. I know that a lot of women have it much worse than I do, so I am very thankful for my body. I feel like I have a stronger connection with my body now that I'm hormone free.