Breaking the Silence: A Personal Account of Menstrual Education and Empowering Girls to Embrace their Strengths
Periods. I remember the shock on my face as I discovered this strange and confusing
phenomenon. It was like discovering a secret world that had always existed, except now I
was an active participant. Surprisingly, I embraced it quite smoothly. I had my wise mother
and friends around to educate me, and I settled well with it despite the occasional "Why was
I born a girl?"
This memory quite often puts a smile on my face but simultaneously reminds me of harder
times. We’re all aware of the struggles that women had to undergo due to menstruation in
the olden days, but having a face-to-face conversation with someone who has faced this
problem first hand gave me a deeper insight. As curious teen, I listened to my grandmother with all my focus and attention as she told me her first period story.
Nani got her period at the age of 13. She had no idea why her body had suddenly decided to throw a surprise party in her pants! She was scared and clueless. Thinking it was some sort
of disease, she kept it a secret from herself. Due to her lack of menstrual education, she
dismissed it completely, using dirty scraps of cloth during the cycle. Coming from a
traditional Indian family also did not help; she couldn't approach anyone to answer the
million questions buzzing through her head.
Menstrual taboo has been a long-lasting problem in India since the Vedic period. This taboo
is so stringent that even the mere mention of the word ‘menstruation’ or ‘period' causes an out roar. It was quite later in life that Nani understood the logical explanation behind periods
and vowed never to keep her own children in the dark about the topic.
Hearing her story gave me goosebumps! Imagine not knowing why blood is suddenly
coming out of your body and what you're supposed to do about it. Scary right?
This really made me realise the importance of education. The fact that these girls had no
proper menstrual awareness put them in a dangerous and vulnerable situation. After this
insightful conversation, I realised that communication is the only thing that can help eliminate this stigma. Normalising this natural process is the most essential step towards this. Making people understand that it is a natural process and we need to embrace it.
So to all the girls out there anxious about their first period experience, know that it’s a natural part of life. Seek guidance and support from trusted friends and family, and remember that your period is not a limitation but a reminder of your strength!
Photo by: stylecraze.com
Written by: Aliza Iqbal
Edited by: Prahlad Madhu & Jiya Chhugera