Growing up, I would see men all around me cringe at the word, ‘periods.’ Or the ladies would be hiding their faces just because there was an ad playing on the TV. But I never got why. Why would someone consider such a powerful act of nature to be disgusting? If it was so disgusting, why would it be such an integral part of the birth of a human?
I thought about it, I observed and I finally knew. It’s because we don’t even know what a period really is.
No no. We do know is that it happens to almost every girl and well it’s a symbol of “growing up” and that she is “napaak” in those days. But is that it?
I grew up a little more and I saw my cousins and friends not even being comfortable about it with their husbands.
Yes, when it comes to asking our husbands to go to the store and get us a mysteriously filled “khaaki lifafa” we are all up for sharing, just because we are too ashamed of going ourselves. But when it comes to actually telling them what you’re going through, errhh nahh.
Consequently, I was also scared to one day have that awkward conversation with my husband.
All was good when I got married until it was that time of the month for the first time. Regardless of how open we had gotten with each other, I still couldn’t share with him what I felt. I had severe PMS. And every time I thought of sharing with him how I felt, everything I had ever heard from women around me started running around my head.
“You shouldn’t share too much with your husband.” “Not everything is supposed to be told to men.” “He won’t understand.” “It’s not a big deal, you’re not going through anything special, get over it.”
And so, I crawled back into my own space where I would have to put on a show and act normal even with the one person I promised to be myself with. But what I also kept thinking was that if he was meant to be my other half, why should I have to hide my pain and frustration? We both chose to be with each other through thick and thin and well this was when I needed him the most.
So, one night, I finally gathered the courage to have a talk with him, but seeing that he was so tired and stressed out from work, I again chose to stay quiet.
Yes, “shauhar ko aur pareshan nahi karna” mindset did that. “But what if he wants to go THERE even when I’m in pain and disgusted by even the thought of it,” I asked myself. And finally, he knew there was something really wrong going on with me.
And that is how it all started. He asked me to explain to him exactly what I was feeling because like every other guy he didn’t know more then what was “allowed” for him to know. At first, it scared me, yes his concern scared me that why would he want to know?
But I started putting my feelings and fears out in front of him and as I kept going, I started feeling lighter and comfortable around him.
He held my hand and apologized first (for not realizing what I was going through earlier) after which he just told me this:
“I know I can’t possibly understand what you feel, but I promise to make an effort every single time so you don’t have to be scared ever again”
A year later today, I still have the same PMS, so every day (during those days) when I get back home after a long tiring day at work and cooking in the kitchen, he comforts me in every possible way, no matter if he’s tired or not. He takes care of me, even spoils me a little and makes sure that he is doing his part to ease my pain and irritation.
No, that does not mean that menstruation is an illness. But it means that if it happens to every single woman in the world, it still doesn’t make it any less painful. Mood swings are real, cramps are real, the nausea is real and so are all the other symptoms that we get during this time.
Since that day, I’ve found the courage to go and buy my sanitary pads myself and no I don’t need a black bag to take them home.
It might seem like a very tiny thing to some, but it has had such a huge impact on me and my self-confidence.
Not hiding it from your other half is a different thing. Letting him know how you feel is a whole different discussion which needs to be done between every couple. Something that scared me so much, gave answers to so many questions that I had about myself. It made me realize that we need to educate both genders about this social stigma that we have created ourselves.
All I needed was a heart to heart with the person I will be spending the rest of my life with.
And it was so simple. I realized what lack of awareness can do. It can change your whole perspective about something. Apart from how much I loved my husband, he gained respect at a whole different level in my eyes.
Telling him that you don’t feel like going THERE because you’re in pain is okay. No force on Earth tells us to inflict pain upon ourselves while pleasing someone else, chahay woh shauhar he kyu na ho. And trust me, he won’t know until you tell him.
For me, a marriage is a bond of trust, love, and understanding between two individuals on EVERY SINGLE LEVEL. And I choose to not let go of a single level because that is why I call my husband, my other half, my soul mate and my life partner. We are with each other for better or worse and it’s time we quit saying it all the time and start implementing it.
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments.
Cover image via babyology.com.au