Hi everyone, last week I did a post on female health related issues and some of my own struggles in that area. Today I’d like to chat about a few feelings I’ve had since putting that post up. If you haven’t read that post, head here first, otherwise this post will make very little sense.
Firstly, I’d like to say thank you. The response I had to that post was overwhelming. Everyone was so kind and supportive, I honestly don’t know what to say. Which brings me on to this post, I don’t know what to say. I haven’t replied to the comments on that post yet because every time I try, I’m completely at a loss for words. And when I do reply, I’d like those words to have some meaning, to have a proper conversation about this.
Should you be proud?
There are however a few recurring themes in those comments that I’d like to go a little deeper with. A lot of you told me I was brave for posting it, or that you were proud. By the way, being told by a large number of people who are essentially complete strangers that they’re proud of you is very emotionally overwhelming. Those comments were all so lovely, but I’d like to take a minute to discuss why it’s brave. It shouldn’t be. Many bloggers talk about health issues, whether that be stomach issues, intolerances, or something else, I see new posts about health every single day. That post should not be considered any different.
While I’m so grateful that people were applauding my decision to post it, I can’t help but feel sad that talking about my menstrual cycle is considered so taboo that people feel like it’s worthy of an applause to begin with.
It’s 2018 and if my stats are correct, 90% of you are women. And 90% of you are between the age of 18 and 44. So the vast majority of you have had a period in your life, even if you’re not having them right now for whatever reason. We should be more comfortable talking about this.
Education (or lack of)
Another comment got me thinking for quite some time, and that was by Alice (Black Tulip Beauty). She said she’d been chatting to her friend about the lack of education we have about periods.
That got me thinking about my own education and the first time I ever recall it being mentioned at school. I think I was in year 9 the first time someone came in and tried to explain what a tampon was. For those of you outside the UK, you’re 13-14 in year 9. I don’t know the average age girls get their periods, but I’m pretty sure most of them have theirs by then. At least my friends all did, and I was already on medication for mine by then. Making that whole session completely redundant. I’m 24 next Friday, so this was 10 years ago. I sincerely hope for the sake of every teenage girl in the country, that the system has improved greatly since I hung up my blazer and tie.
Outside of school
Then I thought about this deeper. I educated myself. I’ve read just about every NHS leaflet that’s available, I’ve spent hours of my life Googling things. I spoke to my mum about the treatments she had, I’ve spoken to other people about their experiences, what’s worked and what hasn’t. Whenever a course of treatment has been suggested for me, it’s because I brought the discussion to the table. As you know, I got knocked back every time, mainly because I’m childless. But that got me thinking, what if I wasn’t the kind of person who did this research? What if I took the doctor’s word that the pill is the only answer? That’s just a further example of the fact we have no education on this subject.
Many of you said in those comments that you weren’t aware these options even existed. That’s not your fault. I can understand how someone wouldn’t necessarily know about these things if they’d never had any major issues or no one close to them had either. But I also think it’s something we all deserve to be informed about. We all have a right to know the options regarding our health. I don’t know why doctors don’t tell us, and whether or not it’s as simple as the NHS can’t afford it, so we don’t like to talk about it. But I think it’s wrong that we’re not told about the possibilities available.
Another comment that came up a lot was people thanking me for starting this conversation. I don’t think I can take any credit at all for starting this conversation. Some other great bloggers/ vloggers have discussed similar issues before, Hannah Witton is the first who comes to mind (I’ll leave a list below). While I can’t take credit for starting it, I would love to be one of the people who helps continue it. I wasn’t sure if posting a reaction to that post was the right thing to do, but I also thought I couldn’t leave the subject there when I still had so many thoughts on the issue.
Obviously, I’ve opened those doors now, so I’ll obviously keep you updated if my situation ever changes or I make any progress.
Thank you for taking the time to read my second essay length post on periods in as many weeks. I’d love to know your thoughts on education around this subject. Also, if you’re younger than me, how old were you when school first gave you ‘the talk’? I’d really love as many answers as possible on that one.
Until next time,
Hannah Witton: The Hormone Diaries
Beth Sandland: Why I Decided to Come off of The Pill
Melanie Murphy: PMS Parties
I’m sure I’ll add to this list as I remember/ come across more. If you know of anyone I can add, please let me know!