I didn’t discover the period positivity movement until around 2015, even though I had been period positive since I was a teenager. I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment I decided to change my mindset; it’s like one day I woke up and just got sick of all the patriarchal bullsh*t that was coming my way. I was also getting tired of depriving myself of sex just because I was bleeding.
The term ‘period positive’ and the movement seems to be frequently misunderstood. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to feel positively about your period. There are a number of reasons why somebody may hate their period. You can even be ‘period-neutral’ if you like! You can feel however way you want, you have every right to and our cycles are all unique to us.
I personally went on a bit of a journey with my periods. For years, I took the pill back-to-back to avoid menstruation and it completely messed up my body. There are a number of reasons why this might work for some; endometriosis and PCOS are just two. As a pretty hormonal person who struggles with her mental health, I couldn’t deal with the intensified mood swings. I also didn’t feel in control of my body and I hated that. As a result, I’ve spent the past two years doing everything I can to embrace my periods and trying to get my to my regular cycle.
You may be wondering, how does one embrace their periods? Well, I thought about all the reasons I used to avoid them and tried to find something positive about them instead. I also stopped using products I hated and explored alternative ones. In addition to this, I vowed to educate myself more too. Here are just three ways becoming period positive has transformed my life…
Having a regular cycle and tracking it helps me manage my mental health
It’s no secret that the pill can alter your mind, it’s one of the reasons I had to stop using it. The only thing I miss about it is having a super regular period, but again it’s ‘controlled’ and I’m not into that. Getting my cycle back has helped me understand my mental health more and this has been life-changing for me. I started using a period app, which lets you track symptoms like: mood, sex drive, discharge and more. After tracking for a few months, I noticed a pattern. There are certain days in my cycle where I won’t feel as great as I normally do. I’m also at my best mentally once my period ends. I have all this pent up negative energy and my hormones are all over the place right before, it’s like I need to bleed. This became even more apparent when I noticed these symptoms becoming progressively worse during the months when my period was late.
Understanding my cycle more helps me manage my time better and as a freelancer I need all the help I can get! There are now days where I’ll make a point of scheduling certain tasks like client calls and such because I know I can handle them better. I also try to avoid emails if I’m PMSing.
I’m more in touch with my body
Becoming more comfortable with periods and getting to know my cycle made me want to be kinder to my body. I have struggled in silence with mainstream menstrual products nearly all my life. I got to a point where I finally felt ready to try more alternative menstrual products. The idea used to gross me out a little, but I got over it and grew out of that mindset. I realised that my disgust towards menstrual blood was learnt and probably the result of internalised misogyny. I’m not actually squeamish at all! Becoming more period positive made me find methods that really work for me. I dread to think how much longer I would have suffered if I hadn’t discovered alternative menstrual products such as: menstrual cups, period pants and cloth pads. Using products like this has taught me more about my body too, which I think is really neat. I’ve learnt how to measure my cervix, what different discharges mean and so on. I personally find it interesting seeing what comes out of my body in a cup. They’re definitely not for people scared of blood, but it’s been interesting to see how it breaks up clots and such. I learn something new about my body each cycle and it continues to amaze me.
I’m more educated and outspoken
Most importantly, becoming period positive has allowed me to use my privilege for good. I’m very fortunate because my periods aren’t too debilitating. Sure, I experience symptoms like cramps, sore boobs, and the lark. But generally, I’m able to get on with my life. The best side effect of becoming period positive is how it’s inspired me to be more open about menstruation in general. I frequently write and talk about stigma, menstrual wear, and all the things people don’t tell you like how unreal period poos are. Through this I have learnt so much about how periods affect others, how real stigmas still are, and what we can do to fight them.