The Diary Of A Kenyan Endo Warrior: Period Shaming

 

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Dear Diary,

My heart is heavy. Thinking about my periods as a teenager has brought tears to my eyes. When my periods became painful I heard all manner of comments from other women about how I should suck it up and put my brave face on. “No one needs to know you are on your period. Every woman has a period, you are not the first to have one and you surely won’t be the last”. These are words I heard so many times, and each time they pierced my heart.

I learned to put my brave face on and suck it up. Sometimes the pain was so severe that I couldn’t sit in class. The school nurse was not of much help. She quickly drew an image of the female reproductive system, explained that periods were normal and so was the pain, as she gave me two paracetamols.

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I remember those pills were so hard to swallow, I always said a prayer as I swallowed them. Sometimes she wouldn’t let me rest, because I’d become a ‘repeat offender’, a regular in her office every month. Yet, I never prayed for a painful period. After all, who likes to be sick anyway? I dislike being sick. I felt guilty for being sick, ashamed to be a woman. Sad that I was ‘that’ girl, the one with the problematic period.

Every woman gets periods but not every woman has Endometriosis. Just because your period is painless, doesn’t negate another woman’s painful experience.

Over the years, I grew tired of pretending to be okay when my uterus was collaborating with other organs to kill me slowly. I wore a brave face, while all along, I was dying slowly.

The thing that I wish all women knew is:  Just because your period is painless, doesn’t negate another woman’s painful experience. We need to stop period shaming, and talk about periods openly.

Painful. Periods. Are. Not. Normal!

Love always,

Ess

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