It's the first day of my period. This morning I awoke to find my monthly visitor had arrived. I suspected that it was coming soon because the last couple of days my lower back has been aching. That is always a warning trigger that my body is going through the process of getting ready to menstruate.
On my first day I don't like to wear a tampon. I prefer to bleed freely as the flow is really low and quite honestly I have never like the feeling of a tampon shoved up inside me. This morning Destruction my 8 year old announced "mommy you smell like blood." I responded, "its because I have my period honey." It's funny up until now all of our discussions about bodies always revolved around masculinity. He knows that I have a vagina and not a penis, but up until today he was relatively unaware that it meant that there was a vast difference between us.
I don't think that I approached the conversation any differently than I would have, had he been a girl. To me it was important to impart that this was a natural part of my biological process and that it was a beautiful expression of my womanhood. With my boys I really want to disrupt the idea that we are dirty and foul when we menstruate. I want them to embrace women with the understanding that though we are different, we are equal and valuable.
He was surprised to learn that this has been happening to me for years and wanted to know why I kept it a secret. I don't know that I kept it a secret, I just never had extended conversations about it at home because other than myself my household is male. I realize now that by not talking about it and assuming their disinterest, I might have somehow fostered the idea that this was a shameful secret, or that it was something to fear. As of today I intend to discuss my period more openly in the hope of conveying not only its naturalness, but my comfort with it. If I want them to love all the intricacies that create "woman" I must be their guide.
Today I would like you to share how you learned about menstruation and if it effected how you would come to understand it. I think how we learn about our bodies ultimately effects our understanding of womanhood. If we are to dismantle the many negatives attached to our moon time, I believe that not only must we embrace it, we need to share our stories with everyone. How can we tell men to honour this time in our lives if we do not honour it ourselves?