Paging Edward Cullen. Shark week. Black towel time. Red wedding. Or the classic: time of month.
Whatever you want to call it, periods are, as is said in the Tampax Pearl commercials, “mother nature’s monthly gifts” in a non-sarcastic sense of the expression. Like most of us I’m sure, I was brought up with the understanding that getting my period meant the transition from girlhood to womanhood.
I remember, as a teenager when I first got my period, looking in admiration at the women around me thinking I would one day have a similar, womanly figure as them and the strength that comes with being a woman. So, why is there shame? People don’t shame boys for having wet dreams in the same instance that people shame girls for getting their first period.
“We don’t hide toilet paper away, yet some women still get flustered if a tampon drops out of their handbag, or we might buy a floral-patterned tin to hide our sanitary pads,” writes Emily Jupp on the menstruation taboo. I know I still get embarrassed at moments like these, but I’ve come to embrace a different attitude towards my period that I know other women have already adopted and that some haven’t given much thought towards. Despite it being a natural bodily process for women, they still get insecure about their periods and they tend to focus on the “bloody, crampy” details rather than appreciating their bodies’ way of telling them that they’re still healthy and happy.
Instead, this is the time to celebrate eating as much chocolate, bananas or ice cream as you want to soothe your cramps. It’s the time to have sex with your partner and celebrate your body. Rather than complaining about period cramps or having to wear your ugly period underwear, it’s the time to celebrate being a woman. The average “red wedding” goes for about three to seven days. For each of those seven days, here’s one thing to be happy about.
Day One: Balancing act
Hooray! Getting your period on time means that your stress levels were in check during the past month. Kudos to you for managing your time properly, getting enough rest, eating well and remaining positive living the hectic student life. Periods help to keep your hormones in check—an absence of these hormones would leave us feeling less than ideal, contrary to popular belief that women become bitchier on their periods.
In my freshman year of university, I was so stressed out for my first set of exams that I missed my period. What a relief it was the next month to be able to use a tampon, I’ll tell you that. Never take your period for granted because one month you might just miss it.
Day Two: Perfect bod
If you’re insecure about your body type, don’t be! Whether you have a muffin top when wearing jeans or are part of the itty bitty titty committee, your period will tell you also that you have the perfect body weight for your body type. In other words, getting your period means that you are neither too fat nor too skinny. Menstruation regulates your estrogen levels which tell you something about your body and hormones.
Too much fat deposits—which contain high levels of estrogen—will cause an irregular period. Similarly, being underweight from stress, overtraining, lack of sleep or dieting will also cause an irregular period. Women also don’t have regular periods when they are under the mental stress that comes with mental illnesses. So, if any of you ladies are suffering from such irregular periods, seriously consider taking care of your mental and physical health.
Day Three: Anyone call for housekeeping?
Housekeeping? It’s time for your body to clean your lady bits!
For those of us who did not become pregnant after ovulation, excess blood and tissue from the uterine lining is released. The release of excess blood and tissue reduces the build of cells that could become cancerous as time goes on. In this blood and tissue, your bodies also expel excess iron, which reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s. Your monthly cleanup helps to not only expel what your bodies don’t need, but also keeps you healthy for years to come (remember that before going on the pill).
Day Four: Spice things up in the sack
In addition to its usual health benefits, having sex during your period will take your sex life to new heights. Studies have shown that the pleasure that comes (no pun intended) from orgasm can lessen the pain of menstrual cramps.
The muscle contractions experienced during orgasm can also shorten the duration and lighten the flow of periods. When climax is reached, you also experience more pleasure since there is no need for lubricants and because your estrogen hormones are high, thereby releasing more endorphins during this time.
Not surprisingly, you experience more pain relief after sex and sleep easier. If you’re insecure about making a mess on the bed, wear a menstrual cap—it’s like a filter for your honey pot. So, men, do your lady a favor and ease her menstrual pain; it’ll be worth it for both of you.
Day Five: Period glow
Everyone’s all heard of the infamous pregnancy glow, but few talk about her unknown sister: the period glow. During the time of month, you actually look and feel more beautiful than you normally do.
During the first couple of days of your period, your estrogen levels will be low. When estrogen levels are low, you may feel more sad, depressed or emotional than usual. However, these moods don’t last forever. After the heavier days, your estrogen levels are high—thereby releasing endorphins which keep us in a more alert, happier and active mood.
High estrogen levels make us feel more attractive and feminine since estrogen influences how your brain controls emotions. Your faces take on a period glow and your skin looks clearer. You also have less pimples during this time.
Ladies, don’t shy away from wearing that gorgeous red dress and going out while on your period—you’ll look hotter than ever! And don’t be confined to the ugly period underwear—you can still wear a thong, just put a tampon in. And take some good selfies and post them up on your social media sites!
Day Six: Find your zen space
During the time of month, you also release pent-up anger and frustration. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the liver, in both menstruation and whole-body health, plays a key role in keeping us happy. When liver qi (energy) is stagnant, women experience irritability, tightness in the chest and feelings of frustration and anger. Some believe that premenstrual syndrome or PMS is related to a blocked qi, which menstrual flow releases monthly. Considering this, our periods are a response to the excess energy we have also.
And when we release this anger and frustration, we also live longer lives. Having our periods increases longevity of life over men since we are able to discharge excess iron.
Day Seven: Sisterhood of the traveling tampons
Have you ever been in that awkward situation when you feel period cramps coming along and know you’re having your period, but don’t have a tampon or sanitary napkin? Everyone’s been there. That’s the beauty of having your period: most women you know share the same bodily function. Women have to stick together and help each other out when the few don’t have a tampon or sanitary napkin.
The next time you have your period, remember that you are not alone—almost half of the world’s population gets them, too. We are the sisterhood of the travelling tampons—needless to say, don’t share them!
At the end of the day, women, both young and old, need to walk away from the taboo of periods as an unclean, shameful and embarrassing act. Quite the contrary, shedding blood from your uterus each month is a natural bodily function that we need to embrace and love because it means that we are healthy.
So, don’t shy away from going out during your period, having sex or just enjoying yourself during your time of month. Remember to take pride in and love your womanhood, you deserve it!