Hospitality is not for the fainthearted. It takes a special amount of grace to host someone. It’s easy when the boundary lines are in bold and everyone knows whats theirs. When the lines get blurry, the waters become cloudy.
For some, hospitality comes naturally. Once you hit puberty, as a woman, your body informs you that you need to host a visitor every month, Aunty Flo, whether you feel like it or not. What it doesn’t tell you however, is that the said visitor may come and take over your
reproductive system life. She may move things around like she owns the place. She may get comfortable, make food orders in the name of cravings, make your uterus upset that results in pain; her presence may leave you in a bad mood.
It will be uncomfortable but you’ll learn to live with her. When she becomes a pain, you give her a different nickname that includes the length of her visit: ‘Shark Week’. Sometimes she comes with so much force, and baggage to boot. She makes life miserable. In those moments of invisible pain, it’s difficult to see the silver lining.
As a mum or guardian, it is heart wrenching to watch your little girl crumble in pain every month during her period. As much as you want her to believe that she can do anything that she sets her mind to, some days, all she can do is stay in bed, curl herself into a ball and cry.
Wanting to help but not knowing how to, can be equally frustrating. I saw this frustration in my mum’s eyes as a teenager. I look at my little girls and pray that they will never know Endo pain. If one of them tells me that she has painful periods, I will follow the advice that I wish I could have given my mum years ago.
1) Believe her
Invisible pain is hard to actualize. Many women are made to feel like it is all in their heads, but the pain is real. Believe her even if she doesn’t ‘look’ like she is in pain. Nausea and vomiting do not have to be present to show pain.
2) Listen to the whispers
Pain is the body’s way of saying that something is not right. Listen to the whispers, so that the pain doesn’t have to paralyze her to get your attention. When she complains about the pain listen out for the other symptoms that accompany the pain.
3) Avoid self-medicating
See the doctor when she is experiencing the pain. Minimize the number of over-the-counter meds taken. If the body is no longer responding to a certain medication, note it down and bring it up with your doctor. Read up on the painkillers that she takes – the side effects and contraindications.
4) Keep a diary
Encourage her to keep a diary of how she feels during different times of her cycle. The key things to note are:
- When the period begins
- How long it lasts
- When it hurts most
- Other symptoms experienced during the period and during ovulation
5) Family History
Research about the women in her lineage who had pain accompanying their periods. Write down what were they diagnosis was and the treatment that they received.
6) Concerns and Questions
List down your concerns and questions, so that you can remember to ask the doctor. Carry medical records that may be helpful.
Love on her in the way that you know best. Encourage her to keep a positive attitude. Keep a bucket list with her of things that she would like to do once the pain passes.
8) Watch her diet
Hormonal imbalance is one of the causes of pain during periods. Eating a raw carrot a day has been shown to reduce the pain during periods (it reduces the estrogen levels). Minimize intake of dairy and wheat. Meat and processed foods can also be a trigger. But the thing to do is to isolate the trigger, she can do this is by keeping a diary and noting down changes.
9) Psychosocial Support
If the pain during periods affects her psychologically, or her esteem, find someone that she can talk to. Encourage her to still hang out with her peers.
Do research online before you agree to a course of treatment. Ask questions and read reviews of different drugs.
Bonus point: Pray
For grace to hold her hand during this season. For wisdom to guide her and to know where to go. For favor with the doctors that you consult. And, for healing.
Painful periods are not normal.