This is probably gonna be one of those TMI posts. It’s gonna be a post on the female body and how utterly confusing it is. Not only that but how little information there is out there and I, personally am very annoyed by that fact. I was roughly 13 when I got my period. This isn’t one of those stories of “I had no idea what was happening” because my mother was pretty prepared for this one. My mother is an oversharer… it’s definitely something I get from her. She gave me this book, that felt like it had my written in the 1800s and it explained how the female body worked. I so wish I could remember the name of this book, mainly so I could go back and reread it and know it’s accuracy. But it’s too late to ask and so I’ll just not worry about it.
There’s some standard things you should know about a period or using the technical term menstruation. It’s perfectly normal and something that we shouldn’t be afraid of talking about. You should get it every twenty-five to thirty days, it should last anywhere from two to seven days, and it should be anywhere from one to six tablespoons (this sentence supported by Planned Parenthood). I had to look it up because none of those things were the case for me.
My experience was vastly different. It came and went as it pleased and from age 13 to 18, I had two thoughts. One was that it’s irregularity was perfectly normal and two that there was no way to predict it and it’s happening was simple terrible. Let’s discuss that first thought. Perfect normal is not what my period was. It should happen every twenty-five to thirty days, not sixty days then ten days then thirty days apart. It shouldn’t be so heavy that you can’t leave the house because you won’t be able to prevent leakage. As an adult I am vastly confused as to why I wasn’t taken to the doctor and give the opportunity to have this sorted out. It is mostly certain what I would recommend to any one these days. At 18 a good friend, said it wasn’t normal but her approach and the doctor we went to’s approach, was to fix it with birth control without discerning the actual issue. Now there is technically nothing wrong with this approach, however I do think it is lacking. Irregularity can be a sign of some pretty big issues. From eating disorders, to exercising too much, to PCOS. It probably would have been good to have those looked into. Certainly at the time I was struggle with food (still am… though to a lesser degree) and I might have been able to get that addressed sooner than in my thirties.
For thought number two. Once I learned and understood what birth control was, my frustration in that not being given to me as an option before the age of 18 is very high. Birth control is not just about preventing pregnancy. It also give you agency over your body, allowing you to predict when it’s gonna show up, control or minimize cramping, and regulates it. All of which are things I could have used as a teenager. All of which I am so thankful to have access to since I was fresh out of high school and into the next phase of my life.
Now let’s talk about the present. I am a 32 year old women who is on her second Mirena IUD. My god, is my IUD a beautiful thing. Especially that first one, no period, no cramps, no mess, and no worry for five blissful years. The second one hasn’t been as great, insertion was more complicated and while protects me, I once a month get a bit of spotting. Literally nothing to worry about but the cramps are definitely present. This is the main purpose of this post actually. Recently I bought a book called Sex Plus by Lacy Green, she used to be a great activist but has since done some questionable things, however her book was super informative. It’s a book I wish I had read when I was twenty and wondering about my body. I think it’s a good book to give teenagers and the like because it answers lots of good questions. My point is… I’d really like that book except aged up. Aged up to sexuality for women in the thirties, before menopause and after self discovery. A book covering all the weird body things happening now. Of course there are a lot of good resources out there on the internet, but there’s just something about holding a book that appeals to me. I enjoy being educated and reading about things directly affecting me and a book would satisfy that need.
Things I’d like to know
How to effectively counter sugar cravings with good food and not just straight up white sugar, which always makes me feel worse.
How to manage my migraines. They are always ten times worse during the week before, however I am working on this.
What pre-menopause is and all the details in the inbetween.
What questions I should be asking my doctor.
What my body needs as it gets older, cause let’s be honest we’re all getting older.
I know there is no one answer for all these questions as every single body is different. But I’d just like to know.