When I opened Instagram last week, I didn’t expect that my rant on PMS would actually “catch on” with so many of you. In fact, most of you wanted me to discuss it more.
While I apologize if this blog makes some of you uncomfortable, I’m going to write it anyway because I think functions of the female body deserve attention and discussion.
If you think you can handle a piece on PMS, keep reading.
If you’re not sure what PMS is, let me refresh your memory. Women’s Health explains that, “Premenstrual syndrome is a combination of symptoms that many women get about a week or two before their period.” This can include anything from headaches, to bloating, moodiness, food cravings, and strong cramps. Personally, I know that I bloat, get cramps, am irritated more easily than normal, and really want a cheesy pizza before (and during) Aunt Flo visits.
My situation is a little different though, and I think you knowing this is important before we continue. You see, I take birth control pills because I otherwise wouldn’t be able to make estrogen on my own (thanks, Turner Syndrome *insert eyeroll*) – so, I need them to function as a female. They’re potent enough to tell my damn defective system that it’s time to work! This means that I do still get periods and cramping like any other menstruating woman, although I only have to bear it once every three months (or when I go a day or two without a pill – oops!) instead of monthly. Apparently, a uterus needs to shed that lining regardless, yo.
While I am so over what PMS turns me into, I do accept that it’s part of life for many women.
Want to know what PMS and Aunt Flo visits are really like? Well, let’s start with the most fun part of the process, shall we?
Firstly, you sit in your own blood all day and pray that a diaper (called a “pad” so you don’t feel as immature about it) catches the remnants of your shedding uterine lining. You have to do this regardless of what’s on your schedule. Please do this while someone does the two step on your lower intestines and pelvic area at random (and sharply) too. Oh, and god forbid anyone smell it! And, don’t let anyone see you sneak some Summer’s Eve cleansing wipes and an extra pad with you while you make your way to the bathroom to change either. Then they’ll “know” what you’re going through – and we can’t have that!
Sometimes you can use a tampon to “catch” blood, but really those are just expensive cloth plugs that just “come loose” and fall into the toilet (thus clogging your plumbing) anyway. This is why I just don’t buy them anymore.
Be sure to hide your moods and hide your frustrations about all of that, because god help the person who even hints at a PMS joke around the time you’re actually going through it. Otherwise, you’ll want to tear them apart limb from limb and hope they feel every sensation of you doing that to them. You’ll curse that person, and wish evil on them, even if you’re generally pleasant. Hell, they don’t even have to be joking about PMS at this time. They just have to irritate you in the slightest while you’re menstrual (or getting there) for you to react in a way you’re not proud of and have to apologize for later. Oh, and the funny thing about that is, apologies and acknowledging that PMS is an issue that’s making you crazy FURTHERS THE STEREOTYPE THAT IT DOES MAKE US CRAZY – which we try to fight when arguing for equal rights!! Ya’ll just don’t know how much effort goes into concealing this and trying to stay stable for appearance!
*TAKES A DEEP BREATH* Ok, I’m done now. Almost.
Perhaps what hurts most, is knowing that you’re a pariah at this time. I’ve lived with men all of my life, and I’ve been told by them (and other women!) to “take out the bathroom trash” or “hide that stuff” so that “the men/they” don’t “have to see that.” And yet, their bloody band-aids that they leave around aren’t a problem. Baby diapers aren’t a “problem” because “they can’t help it!” – but female “diapers” (pads) are, and we can’t “help it” either. We’re told to conceal any shred of evidence that this happens to our bodies and are shamed for it.
Oh, and put yourself through this natural reproductive process even you can’t give birth naturally just because you’re taking pills to spark it – that’s the cherry on top of it all! It is in my case, anyway. There is literally no reward for any of it.
But hey, to some women, the fact that this process gives them the ability to have a child is likely a silver lining.
Ladies, gentlemen (if you’re still here – and I hope you are), that is the essence of what PMS and menstruation is. It’s complicated. It’s bloody. It’s tiresome. It’s gross. It’s natural. It’s inevitable.
Please don’t dismiss it. Learn about it. Understand it. Help each other through it. We all could use a little more kindness in regards to this annoyance today.