These days, having my period sucks! Despite being on birth control (the pill) for much of my adult life, what was once predictable and painless is now unpredictable and painful. I think being in my 40s might have something to do with it. Then again, it could be stress induced too. I write this as I take the day’s second round of ibuprofen. I don’t have time for the headaches, back aches, cramping, and insomnia that now plague me monthly. Quite literally, it is one bloody, hell of a week.
Tough It Out?
My menstrual cycle was not always like this. I credit my birth control for keeping me regular most of my life. Before jumping on the pill, I could never make heads or tails of when my cycle would start. I was constantly surprised. I was also one of those people that hardly had menstrual cycle symptoms. I rarely had cramps or migraine head headaches. I had food cravings and not much else. Even after giving birth to my first daughter, my period wasn’t this painful. I used to wonder how a menstrual cycle could paralyze women. I have known women who have called out sick due to their period. I used to think those women were weak. Couldn’t they “tough it out” like everyone else? In retrospect, I wonder whom I thought “everyone else” meant. Why did I expect these suffering women to “tough it out”?
I now understand why they took so many naps!
Perhaps, this notion came from my upbringing, where the women in my life (my mother, aunts, and grandmothers) never let a cold or sickness get in the way of running their houses. If they were sick, I never knew. They powered through colds to ensure our family had home-cooked meals and that our house was always clean. Keeping the family machine going (while unwell) was and still is a source of pride. If the women in my family could do it, I could too. I now understand why they took so many naps! The women in my life were so damn tired.
It is almost taboo. Why is that?
While I have written much about my wellness journey and self-care, I haven’t discussed my menstrual cycle, except amongst other females. It is almost taboo. Why is that? Given the state of reproductive rights in our country, shouldn’t we normalize discussions around our menstrual cycles? Something to think about or chat about during a future podcast, Hella MomVersations (hint, hint, Olga). Our menstrual cycles (i.e., that time of the month) hits each of us differently at all the different ages and phases of our lives. Rather than suffer alone, perhaps we can suffer in solidarity because, let’s face it, being on our periods still sucks. I cannot wait for this month’s cycle to end. How are your menstrual cycles? Has yours changed with age or after childbirth?