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Sep 18, 2019

#bloodnormal Stories

Women have been made to be ashamed and embarrassed for having their periods, but now they are speaking up and starting the conversation.

Check out these stories from women sharing their #bloodnormal stories.

Hiding it from my family

“At a young age, I got told that I always have to hide the fact I’m on my period from the rest of the family because they were guys. That let me to feel very embarrassed, dirty and ashamed every time I got my period since it was something I got taught to hide so well. It then even resulted in me not being able to warm up a heat pack for my cramps because my family would’ve seen. Luckily, I have great friends and even some of my guy friends bring up the topic who talk about it more casually than me. They’ve made me feel comfortable with everything.” –  Anonymous

 

Manager Issues

“I came back from the bathroom at work and my manager quizzed me on why I went upstairs to the staff room toilet. When I told him I needed to grab tampons, he yelled at me for telling him something he didn’t need to know” – Emma

 

Class Clown

“So this guy was the class clown, the guy everybody laughed with. One day in Year 8, I got my period. It was early so I wasn’t expecting it and wasn’t wearing a pad. It was then I realised it was leaking though my dress. I put my hand up to have the teacher come to my table, today the teacher called me to him. I was horrified , what was I going to do!? I got one of my friends to go up to him and tell him I had a situation and couldn’t stand up, I was sitting at the front and everyone would see. The teacher understood and let me go get cleaned up, so I quickly stood and hurried out of the class. It was all good until I reached the door, and I hear “Oh my god! Her period is leaking through her dress!” from the class clown. I was horrified, the whole class knew and they were looking in disgust, horror and laughing at me. The few that felt bad tried to help me. These were a couple of good friends and my teacher, who was a guy. I was so surprised he wanted to help! I felt so ashamed yet supported at the same time. The teacher and I still joke about it to this day. Girls, don’t be afraid, and guys, don’t you ever laugh! That girl has been bleeding for days and is still alive!” – Kaitlyn

Swimming Fiasco

“Late last year, I went to a pool party at my friend’s house. There was a couple of other friends there, some of which happened to be male. I get really paranoid about lots of things – periods being one of them – and i was hysterically scared of getting my period at this pool party. Before I left, I grabbed a small pouch and packed and packed a couple of pads ad tampons just in case.My friends and I swam for a bit, then we got out and went back inside. We were sitting around and one of the guys decided to go through my bag. I sat there watching him ruffle through my stuff, oblivious to the fact that he would soon find my pads and tampons. He grabbed the pouch and took one look inside and he looked horrified. It was as if he couldn’t believe that I was carrying tampons around with me. I shrugged it off as if it was nothing, but I felt so embarrassed and shameful deep down.

At this time, I swam a lot. I wend into a couple of swimming comps here and there. After this ordeal at the pool party, I quit swimming. I don’t know why – every time I swam I thought about the time when the guy found my tampon stash. I now have this image in my head that females shouldn’t swim at all. I applaud all other females who do swim but I can’t bring myself to take it up again” – Maddie

 

ER Emergency

“Around 6 months ago, I was sitting in the ER, midway through my cycle and realised that my tampon was close to leaking. I didn’t have any products on me as I had gone with my father and was in a rush. I looked inside the one toilet and saw no sanitary products of any sort, I asked the nurse for some and she told me that non were provided. I was stuck there, 14 years old, excruciating pain, and about to soil my trousers with blood. So, I went to the toilet, cleaned myself the best I could, and wrapped toilet paper around the inside of my knickers” – Kia

 

Doctor Issues

I had been on five different varieties of the Pill to try and combat my period problems and I was feeling so alone and desperate. Then I found this female doctor whose bio said that she was passionate about “women’s health”. Thinking I had found my saviour, I booked an appointment. I described the years of period drama; the heavy flows and the pain, the occasional faints, and the 2AM alarms to change my pads. She ordered an external ultrasound. Nothing else. It didn’t show much and she simply prescribed me ANOTHER type of the Pill and told me “Some women just have heavier periods. Good luck”. I felt like some crazy, dramatic person who has no grasp on period reality. It had taken me 11 years to realise that it wasn’t normal and this doctor undid progress with eight words. Luckily, I found another doctor and gynecologist and they discovered that my hormones were doing messed up things to my body. I didn’t need a “good luck”, just someone who listened and took me and my period seriously” – Meg

 

The Female Body is a Taboo Topic

“Growing up my parents were and still are incredibly conservative and traditional. Anything about the female body was taboo. My mother would be especially discrete about periods and bodily functions. I remember the first time I got my period when I was 9 years old, I had no idea what was going on. All my mother said to me was to “be careful, you can get pregnant now”. I had no idea what was happening in my body until grade 6 when we had health class at school. It was especially upsetting because my mother was a nurse and show have been the one to talk to me. Once I started getting my period more regularly, and I knew when I needed pads and tampons, I was unable to openly ask her to buy me some. The words ‘pads’, ‘tampons’ and ‘period’ were never uttered at home. She’d simply ask if I was ‘unwell’ and then buy me some. the very fact she is my mother made it hard to feel accepted at home when I could barely speak to her about the most natural of things” – Vibusha

 

“It isn’t that bad”

“In Year 11, I had to sit out of physical education because my cramping was awful and my medication (the pill and ibuprofen) wasn’t enough to keep it under control. My teacher told me she “had bad periods too, it isn’t that bad”. Thankfully a girlfriend stood up for me and kept me company. Turns out I have endometriosis” – Artemis

 

Dropped Pad

“it was about half way through Year 7, and I had my period for almost a year at this point and was beginning to get used to. One day, I was class like usual and I was walking up to the teacher’s desk. Our school uniforms have tiny pockets that barely hold anything, and I struggled to discreetly hide my pads in my pockets but I made it work. Somehow, without me realising my pad must have fallen out of my pocket and onto the floor, and one of the boys in my class noticed. My entire class burst out laughing and the boy picked it up and began throwing it to his friends and being really immature. All of the girls in my class begun whispering to each other, laughing and the rumors begun around my grade. I was beyond embarrassed. I was upset that even my teacher didn’t offer me any support or resolve the situation. I left the classroom and to this day have not lived that incident down. I wish that this was never an issue, and instead was normalised as this really shouldn’t be something to laugh at someone for” – DeeDee

 

First Period at School

“Well, let’s start off by saying my first period wasn’t a walk in the park. I was sitting in my maths class, I was in Year 7 and had a weird feeling (you know the feeling). Well, I had no idea what it would be so I just ignored it and then the worst happened, I sneezed. I was wearing a skirt so after a few minutes I saw blood running down my leg, but luckily my math teacher let me go to the toilet. So, I got to the bathroom and lucky for me, there was no toilet paper in the stall, so basically I was stuck in a stall, blood everywhere with no toilet paper, and once again lucky me, it was last period so I waited until the bell rung. I walked to the gate and as I walked past the gate, a few girls in my class giggled to themselves, I knew that they knew because I left the seat covered in blood and a trail coming out out of the door. So I hopped in the car, horrified to tell my mum. It was a pretty quiet drive home. When we got home, I went straight to the bathroom change and cleaned myself up and went to my room, I was balling my eyes out thinking that something was wrong with me. My mum came in and said “So, you got your period” and I was just horrified. My mum was actually so helpful so I felt so much better, but the next day. At school was just the worst, people were laughing at me, I was already emotional enough, it just made it worse. So yeah, that’s my story.” – KB

 

Sport Class

“Once I was in sport class and I had really bad cramps. My sports teacher was a male. It got so bad and I was bleeding through my pants (luckily my pants are dark blue). I went up to him and asked to go to the toilet but I knew he would say no, so I said that it was a ‘girl emergency’. he spoke so loudly and there was so many people around, saying “well, if it’s such an emergency, how about you share it with the rest of the class?” I was so embarrassed that I ran into the toilets and stayed there for the est of the lesson”  – Hannah

 

First Tampon Ever

“I went to a Christian school with zero education in Health/Puberty/Sex Education. I got my first period in class and well before any of my friends. I was so embarrassed and I could feel it going through my underwear and school skirt. I very ashamedly asked my teacher (who was so lovely) if she had a pad, but she only had tampons. I had no idea how they worked! So I didn’t apply it properly. Minutes later, I waled out of the bathroom and back into class, and to my horror, I saw everyone pointing to the ground and between my legs, the tampon had fallen onto the ground covered in blood. I wanted to disappear.” – Ana

Yes, We Exist!

“I’m non-binary and I have been medically diagnosed with endometriosis for nearly five years now. I’ve so often been told that it’s not appropriate to openly talk about endo and periods. Like, really?? No wonder so many people just suffer with horrible periods for years in silence. The stigma that it’s ‘only a women’s disease’ sucks, and the thought that you can’t be transgender/non-binary/queer if you’re open and comfortable about having a period is rampant too. Yes, we exist! I’m determined to be loud, proud, queer endometriosis warrior!” – KittenPunk

 

I Set the Rules

“I think as young girls we get the impression from the moment we find out about periods that they are something secretive. I don’t believe this is necessarily the intention, but it’s certainly the way it comes across. We’re told not to tell any other girls about periods, because their mums will tell them when they think it’s appropriate. We’re given a cute little bag to ‘hide’ our pads in. We’re separated from the boys at school to be talked to about periods. We use other terms for it to avoid saying ‘period’ or ‘menstruation’. I know most people mean well and it’s all done in the name of privacy (which we all deserve and many of us want), but how often are young girls assured that getting a period is not something they have to be embarrassed about? How often are they told they don’t have to hide their menstrual hygiene products if they don’t want to? How often are they told it’s okay to tell someone they are on their period or talk about period-related things if they want to?

I got my period for the first time when I was ten years old. I hid my ‘supplies’ discreetly in a small zip-lock bag inside my school bag. I struggled being the only person in my class to have a period. I told a few of my friends about my period, but insisted on it being kept a secret. Of course, that didn’t last. News spread. I distinctly remember the day I discovered that so many people I hadn’t told somehow knew about it. I remember bursting into tears, feeling humiliated. As time passed through and more girls got their periods, I realised the normality of it all. But any discussion of it was still done in hushed tones, especially when boys were within an earshot. I still continued to smuggle my pads in bags and pockets. When I went to the toilet, I still tried to unwrap my pads as quietly as I could, even though just about all the girls and women in the toilet no doubt knew about periods. And I never questioned why I did all this.

Until one day. One day when I decided I just couldn’t be bothered. I couldn’t be bothered to hide it. I carried my pad in my hand, in public, to the toilet, and the world didn’t end. Nobody died. Nothing exploded. No tragedy occurred. I simply went to the toilet, took care of my business, and left. So that’s how I do it sometimes now. I don’t fret in situation where I don’t have a bag or I don’t have pockets. I just carry it in my hand. No big deal. Sometimes people will offer to let me hide it in their bags, but I just say no, it’s fine, I don’t need to. The common misconception though is that I don’t care about privacy. That couldn’t be more wrong. I take pride in the fact that I owe no one any information whatsoever. But sometimes, I just can’t be bothered. Sometimes, I just want to go to the bathroom and change my pad without having to smuggle it like a dangerous weapon or illegal substances. Sometimes, I just want to feel like something that happens to half of the world’s population isn’t shameful. And sometimes, I just want to see the horrified expressions on some people’s faces when I carry a pad out in the open for all to see. It was empowering for me to discover that privacy and discretion occur on my terms. I can be as secretive or as open as I like, and it can change from day to day, situation to situation. I set the rules. I think anyone who believes women should have to be discreet and hide their periods regardless of whether they want to or not need to stop and contemplate why they feel that way. Hopefully most realise they are being ridiculous. As for those that don’t, well, that’s their problem to deal with. I can’t be bothered to care” – G

 

Boy Talk

“There was a day when boys were talking about periods and saying that it were gross and if a girl got their period they would never come near her. I was on my period which made me scared to let anyone know that I have my period” – Maya