There are a lot of reasons why being a female is hard. I could actually write a whole long list as to it, but since I am limited to 1500 words for today, I’d pick one and say “period” or In the more formal term”menstruation”.
What I really mean is “impromptu menstruation“. If you are a female, then you know what I’m talking about; that moment when we’re out in public (putting on a white skirt) and then all of a sudden, the walls of our uterus decide to shed and bam, a red spot which gradually expands, appears on the skirt In public, for all to see. Yeah, getting stained in public is not a pretty experience at all. And if you haven’t experienced this, then I want to say you are one very lucky lady and hopefully you wouldn’t have to. But for those of us who have/had irregular periods, when the period decides not to come on the normally accepted 25-30 days, but instead it comes whenever it feels like without a regular pattern, then I sympathize with you and you are not alone.
Coming to this discussion, in my post on “how puberty did me wrong“, I talked about one experience of being stained in school (surrounded by a bunch of guys) and even though there are a whole lot more embarrassing stories of being stained in public ( irregular periods is not pretty), I’ll save them for next time. Instead, I want to talk about how to prepare oneself for impromptu periods. If you have ever had one of those embarrassing “public staining” experience, then I hope after reading this you wouldn’t have to.
So, how to avoid public embarrassment in relation to menstruation. In other words, must have Kit to effectively deal with impromptu menstruation.
1) The first on the list, which I’m sure a lot of you can guess is A SANITARY PAD. I would have suggested tampon, but l feel at that moment when you realize “oh boy, I think I’m on my period“, the easiest thing to do in that anxious state of mind is to put on a sanitary pad, and then (if you have a heavy flow) hurry home and deal with in the right way. So first on the list is a Sanitary pad. And the beauty about them is they can fit into even a small clutch, making them easy to carry around.
2) Next on the list, A SPARE UNDERWEAR. I mean, what’s the point of having a pad If u have no underwear to put them on. So if possible, a spare underwear. And for those who have a normal menstrual cycle, for at least two days prior to your period, I’d suggest taking a spare underwear when going on long outings just incase the period decides to make an appearance a little earlier. Trust me, it wouldn’t be the first time. And this happened just a few months ago, I was comfortably sitting in a lecture room when out of nowhere, I felt a stinging sensation at my lower back. I thought to myself “it’s not possible”. My period had been behaving pretty decently for a while, always coming on the 27/28th day and that day was the 25th. The pain grew more and more and I knew it, the period had decided to make an early arrival. The good thing though was that my apartment was a few blocks away and we didn’t have lectures after (okay, I think I skipped them, can’t exactly remember). And sure enough when I got back home, it was the period.
3) PAIN KILLERS: I do not condone non-prescription drug use so don’t get me wrong. But experience has thought me a great lesson- a period without a pain killer Is hell on earth; I have tried it and let’s just say that was my first and last. Menstrual pain is something I can’t even begin to explain. Of course it cant and doesn’t compare to childbirth. But at least, after the pain of labour, the mother gets to have a beautiful bundle of Joy. In the case of menstrual pain, all you get is, the walls of your uterus shedding, with lots of blood and bacteria in them. Yeah, all those pain for that. For those who suffer from menstrual pain, I recommend having painkillers to at least ease the pain for the time being. Though I’m sure a lot females would agree that menstrual pain is such that the best thing pain killers can do is to reduce the pain not numb it. And if you do have a medication that numbs it, the comment the section is all yours.
4) CASH: This might be an unexpected choice but I personally think going out with at least a bit of cash (if possible) is useful especially in cases of emergencies. On the topic of impromptu period, let’s say the unexpected period comes with a heavy flow which the single pad and underwear in the period Kit cannot contain. The blood stain begins to gradually appear on the skirt and the designated driver supposed to take you home hasn’t arrived. With a little bit of cash, you’d be able to take a taxi home or at least buy a pack of sanitary pad (they are not expensive) from the nearest shop. Or, and this is something I relate to, the night before we are supposed to have our periods, we decide to binge on two to three chocolate bars plus a few cans of sodas. The following day, the period comes with full blown menstrual cramps (effects of the sugar) while we’re out and we need to immediately go home and roll on the bed/floor and basically do anything to distract from the tormenting stinging and twisting pain of the lower abdomen. For those of us who don’t own a car, rather than explaining to the designated driver amidst lower waist spasms why we need to go back home ASAP, cash would be helpful in just getting a cab and going back home where you can safely roll and cry without scrutiny.
The best thing about all the four above is that they are so small and can practically fit into most purses and bags. Writing about this post and even though what I’m about to say now is totally a digression, this reminds me of the first time I saw a girl stained. I was 10 years old and in seventh grade. I always sat down in the front seat (which still didn’t stop me from dozing off in classes) and besides me sat Viv. She stood up to do something I can’t remember and then out of nowhere I blurted, okay, kinda screamed out “there’s blood on your skirt” (something like that). In my defense, I was 10 and naive and, alright so I have no excuses. The good thing though was I don’t think any of the guys heard. And if they did, I am sorry Viv. A few years down the line, who would have thought I would be “the girl with the stained skirt” because my period loves to misbehave and come at the wrong times.
Lastly, one or two things I’ve learned about saving face when stained is- sweater and scarfs are life savers. Especially sweaters, I cannot count the number of times a sweater has helped cover up my “red patch” and save me from embarrassing situations. How? It is quite easy. If you happen to be wearing a sweater or a scarf around your neck and you think you are stained (and chances are that you are stained). Even before going to check, just loosen the scarf or unbutton the sweater and then tie them around around the waist. Worst case scenario, you end looking like a hipster with the waist sweater or a gypsy with the waist scarf. And they both beat walking around with a red patch.
And that’s it! My must-have in order to effectively deal with an unplanned Period.