Did you know 28th May is celebrated as Menstrual Hygiene Day. I didn’t. But the moment I get to know about it, I jumped at the opportunity to use this platform to talk and share awareness about it. Because menstruation, like any other topic need to be talked about openly.
Did you know 50% of the girls in the world don’t know about menstruation before they reach puberty. I remember as a young kid, I was curious of the Whisper (a sanitary napkin brand of P &G company) advertisement that used to come on TV. So one day, when I was watching the TV and that ad appeared, I asked aloud to my aunt and mother who were sitting nearby “What is this ad all about?” My aunt laughed and hushed me stating that it is not your time to know about this. You will get to know once you grow up. Grew I up and only then I got to know about it.
Did you know that there are so many superstitions and taboos attached to menstruation. I was blessed to have liberal parents who didn’t give a damn to any such taboos or superstitions. But few of friends were not. “Don’t touch the pickles as it would rot if you touch it”. “Don’t enter kitchen in those 5 days”, “Don’t enter the mandir in those 5 days”, “Don’t touch anybody in the house in those 5 days”, “You are impure so stay out of sight of family as much as you can” are few of the instructions that menstruating girls were subjected to.
Did you know there are girls who quit school as they start menstruating. Getting periods and hitting puberty means a girl has matured into a women and a study suggest that in low-income groups, parents are prone to get their girls out of school as she starts me nstruating. This could be a cultural thing or lack of menstrual facilities at school or home or shame because of lack of knowledge about menstruation. I didn’t notice any such thing growing up but notice I did that how some of the girls would stop participating in the sports and other physical activities in “those days” or how girls would skip school on one of the days when they are menstruating.
Did you know that there are millions of women around the world who are not practicing proper menstrual hygiene. The reason would be lack of knowledge, lack of proper sanitation facilities, toilets, menstrual hygiene products and thus are at a risk of Reproductive tract infections and other diseases. Cleanliness of body, using clean sanitary products (and changing them every 4-6 hours in case of sanitary pads and tampoons) are the basics of menstrual hygiene.
Menstruation is a natural process but we are hushed to talk about it, sanitary pads are wrapped in black polythenes to not be seen, people (read men) are conditioned to act as if they don’t know or talk about it. It is seen as a women problem, something which is to be discussed by women only that too in a hush voice. But it is now time to change. In fact, times are changing. You and I are changing it. But so much more need to be done at our level, at national and international level. How, you ask?
- By educating people about menstruation. There has been a lot of talk to teach sex education to children and it has been started. Similarly emphasis is to be given to teach about menstrual hygiene to students, to workers. So that when puberty hits, a girl knows what is happening to her body and accepts it as a natural phenomenon. So that a woman knows how to maintain menstrual hygiene and be infection-free. Only by education, empowerment can happen. And when we are educating, let us not make it gender-specific because men also need to know about menstruation.
- By breaking the chain of superstitions and taboos that surround menstruation. In 21st century, where you are just a click away from everything, to believe that pickles would rot or a menstruating girl is impure makes a very sorry picture. It is important to encourage girls to not restrict themselves during menstruation and that they can play or do any physical activity as they would do in any other day.
- By providing proper mentstruation facilities in institutions and public places. Today, schools and organizations keep sanitary pads and other menstrual hygiene products to distribute to students or anyone who is in need of one. Proper toilet facilities, separate bathrooms for girls with sanitary pad disposal systems need to be there at schools. We keep on hearing about Sanitary pad vending machines. They should be installed at public places.
- By being open to talk about it. And this where role of media comes into picture. Lets talk about the Indian movie “Padman”. When a mainstream movie starring a big actor is based on menstruation, it helps in making menstruation a topic to discuss in the living room of the house or say in a public place. And isn’t this is important to break all the taboos.
- At national and international level, we need to make the menstrual hygiene products affordable so that more and more women can approach these products and have safe and infection-free periods.
Menstruation does not limit, it empowers. I didn’t realise it then when the first time I menstruated, but later it dawned to me that menstruation has given me a power, a power to reproduce, a power to create a new life. As a new mom, one thing that I am amazed of is human body. How it bleeds, stretches itself many folds, carries a new life inside its own body and delivers it and return to its previous form. Also how a tiny squiggly creature that was born grows a little bit everyday in all spheres and turn into a strong and mature individual. Menstruation is the basis which leads to all this wonder and isn’t this worth celebrating about. There is no limit to a woman. #nomorelimits.
This World menstrual Hygiene Day (May 28), our endeavor is to break the taboos that engulfs this natural phenomenon that is the basis of very existence of human life on earth. This post is a part of blog train hosted by Anupriya of www.mommytincture.com where 14 wonderful ladies have stepped forward to express themselves this #MenstrualHygieneDay and stress on the fact that there are #NoMoreLimits for a woman. I would like to thank Siddhi of www.ofbookbabiesandmore.wordpress.com for introducing me. Give her page a read where she has written her ideas on menstrual hygiene day.
And also I would like to take this opportunity to introduce Disha, an IT professional and a lifestyle blogger who writes about travel, food and fiction at http://lifemyway.in . Check her site to read her views on menstrual hygiene day.
But wait there’s more. You stand a chance to win a DEA Corp Menstrual Cup worth Rs.2500/-.You just have to visit http://www.mommytincture.com/2018/05/27/menstrual-cups-boon-menstrual-hygiene/ and leave a comment about your #NoMoreLimits experience.