That Red Thing

By Esther Chineye Mbabie

I read a message a while back of a lady narrating what growing up and going through menstruation was like for her. She recalled how she would go to the store and wait until all the men had left the store before buying her sanitary towels.

Also, just the other day I had read another message of a young lady talking about how she had learnt different alternate ways of saying the word “menstruation” in order to avoid the weird and awkward looks that came with saying the word. Red card, red thing, monthly visitor, mama nature(this one sounds cute though)….and the list goes on and on.

I remember growing up as well, it was our first senior year in secondary school and my seat-mate experienced a case of heavy flow that stained her skirt and the chair she sat on. She, oblivious to that had stood up only to look behind her and find the chair covered in blood. Eventually, after we got to the school clinic, she wept. Not from pain but because the boys who sat behind us had noticed her situation. I remember her telling me that she needed to go and beg him not to say anything about what he saw to anyone. It took getting her mother to come before she relaxed.

There was also the case of a 12-year-old who was the only girl not going through menstruation in her class at that time. She had prayed and cried wondering if something was wrong with her. A few months after she turned 13, “mother nature” finally agreed to visit her. While she had anticipated this day, it was all too confusing for her. She had gone from being an everyday girl to being an everyday girl with a monthly bleeding appointment. Was she allowed to tell her friends? Was it something to tell people about?

Over and over, menstruation has proven to be one of the toughest self-discovery that a teenager has to grow through. They struggle with understanding the cycle, whether to tell their fathers, how to ask for money for sanitary towels, how to act when in pain, whether to be proud of this womanly feature or not.

During these times, they may begin to pull away from their usual routine. I believe that the best thing society can do for teenagers is to create an environment where they can feel comfortable during this discovery stage.

Source: Above Whispers

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