I Can’t. I Have My Period.

by Ellie Kent

uterus superhero! by VulvaLoveLovely etsy shop

uterus superhero! by VulvaLoveLovely etsy shop

“There is a new water Zumba class today; do you want to go?”

“I just found this super rad hot yoga class. Do you want to go with me?”

“Let’s go in the ocean!!!”

And worst of all…

“Let’s fool around…”

Why is it that when we think of our periods, all we think of are things we cannot do?!

Perhaps it lies deep in the teaching that our mother’s mother’s mother’s mother gave her. Education about periods was always done in secret. Pads, cups and tampons are things to be hidden. Heck, even the Bible has rules about periods. But here is how I think of my period: it is a monthly reminder that another chance is right around the corner. If you think about the biology of what your body is actually doing, we should think of our feminine products as tiny, hidden superhero capes.

The shedding of the uterine lining is your body’s way of saying, “I know we didn’t fertilize an egg this month, but don’t worry. We will suit up and get ready again next month.” So as long as you are getting your period, you are being reminded that you have another chance; all you have to do is get up, get dressed and get ready for great things to happen. The uterus doesn’t get sad. It doesn’t get mad. It doesn’t suffer from low self-esteem. It simply continues to get up and do what it is made to do.

As far as I know, my uterus does not read fashion magazines. She doesn’t spend time on Facebook looking at younger uteri wishing for her youth back. She doesn’t call her uterus friends and complain about how another uterus looked better in a sweater than she did. She simply continues on. Undeterred by anything. I can throw pills, patches, condoms, diaphragms and IUDs at her. She simply continues. She reminds me that when there is a job to be done, you simply do it. Period. (Pun intended.)

Reframing my outlook took a lot of work in the beginning. I felt stupid whispering things like, “Be the period. Harness the unending flow of the period.” I felt like that scene in Miss Congeniality when Sandra is being told, “be the crown, wear the crown, you are the crown!” I am my period. I get my period. I am part of that awesome cycle.

If you follow the “Birth Without Fear” movement, you know that there is an “endless cycle of birthing women.” Getting your period is part of that cycle. Our bodies are constantly in a state of breaking down and building up. And so are our lives. If something doesn’t go right at work, try again. If you make a truly terrible cake, bake another, better one. If you treat someone poorly, tear that down and replace it with an apology and intent to do better.

“But, it hurts” you say. Yes, I know. But when was the last time that something changed and didn’t hurt at least a little? Your mother’s life changed when she had you and I am quite certain she experienced some discomfort. When you were growing up and figuring out who you were, you experienced growing pains. The transition from grade school to high school was wrought with difficult times and triumph. The pain is also a reminder; a reminder that you can get through the tough times. So far, your success rate for dealing with tough situations is 100%. Some of those situations hurt, but you have made it through.

How does all of this prevent you from getting attacked by a shark while you are swimming in the ocean during your period? It doesn’t. But instead of saying that you can’t do something, say that you can. Sure, your choices may be limited due to your selection of feminine product, but you can do water Zumba, a hot yoga class or go swimming. Or you can remind yourself that this is a very special time of renewal and focus on renewing other things in your life that need attention.

“There is a new water Zumba class today, do you want to go?”

“Sure, then let’s get a cup of coffee and remind each other how great we are.”

Ellie Kent is a registered nurse specializing in women’s health and has done so for more than a decade.  She is extremely passionate about body positivity, education and love.

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