My menstrual embarrassment part 2 is a piece seeking to educate and share information with women on menstrual hygiene and the importance of knowing your period.
Last time we talked about the first day I saw my period. It wasn’t a good experience at all. The pains and my ignorance about it are unforgettable.
Today, I will take you through a journey most of our African girls’ experience. This is because they did not get an education on menstruation.
How did my menstrual embarrassment start?
So there was this Sunday we sat in the chapel (school church) for holy mass. I was in form five then in a boarding school; Saint Francis College Fiango Kumba.
While singing the closing hymn, I started feeling some funny pains around my lower abdomen. It felt like the usual menstrual cramps I used to have but I didn’t think for a sec it was what I was thinking. After all, I had one more week before it could come. I was expecting it the next Sunday.
However, to be sure, I went behind the dormitory after mass to check my pants but there was nothing there. Everything was intact, the same way I left the dormitory that morning. The cramps didn’t bother me because I knew they always came some days before the actual flow.
Confidently, I was back up school, it was time for breakfast and the whole school was seated in the refectory already. I reached the door, took the small bread from the awaiting basin and went to my table. I bought a boiled egg which I ate my bread with.
Ah ah! I still felt some sharp pains again. This time continuous with much intensity. Hhmmm! I hoped it wasn’t what I was thinking. My mind went down there immediately. I remained quiet as I crushed the small bread and struggled to hide the pain. Little did I know something was dropping from under. But I felt some wetness around my pants though I wasn’t sure of what was happening. Maybe my illusion of my period coming a week before made me feel wet, I said to myself.
“Sango decide for come one week before ya.” I took my bottle of water from my bag, had some sips after eating my bread and waited anxiously for the Refectorian to say “Rise for prayer.” That was the norm in school. We always prayed for grace after meals.
When I finally heard it, I stood up quickly to do the ritual and then rush to go confirm if my white gown was stained. Then I felt two taps on my back;
“…Senior, senior, sit down your white is stained behind.” Whaaaaaat! This one weakened me. I sat down immediately. My brain paused for a minute as I went into a trans. Tick tock, tick tock, I regained consciousness and I started imagining things. I wanted to sit down to hide my shame.
What was my problem with this?
What excuse do I give the Refectorian or the ruling class as a whole for sitting while the whole school is standing for prayer? You all know form five and lower sixth, the ruling class are always at loggerheads. It may just be another road to embarrassment for me.
How was I supposed to get out of that refectory with a big badge of bloodstain on my immaculate white Sunday gown? Our Sunday whites were special and we wore them only on Sundays. So you can imagine how bloodstains can be on a white gown. The refectory was another hall that brought the whole school together aside from the chapel. This means the whole Saint Francis population of more than 1000 male and female students was there at that time.
Where was I supposed to get new pants, gown and pad to change into before the principal’s conference? Because the matrons I knew were not going to let me into that dormitory alone unless it was time for everyone to be there. Our matrons, Ma Ahone and Aunty Ernestine didn’t allow anyone into the dorm alone. So does it mean I will miss the principal’s conference? Hhhmmm woe betides anyone who does that. Father Valentine didn’t take absenteeism lightly.
How I got out of the menstrual embarrassment.
So, I waited for everyone to leave the refectory before making any move. Thank God, one of my friends was wearing her sweater on that day. I begged it from her and tied it around my waist to cover the big badge my period had stamped there. What a menstrual embarrassment!
Immediately the coast was clear, I zoomed off to the dormitory with the determination not to leave except the matrons allowed me in to change. I took the shorter road behind the form three-class, reached behind the chapel and headed straight to the girls’ camp without looking behind.
Ma Ahone reproached me the moment she saw me running towards the dormitory. She shouted at the top of her voice asking me to go back. Nothing could stop me, not when I was embarrassed.
The matrons didn’t like students coming around the dormitory when was time for other activities up school because they peed there and others’ things got missing.
Her shouting nor cane didn’t stop me from coming. I continued rushing towards her while wearing a sorrowful face on. The sky blue sweater was still on my waist.
“…Ma Ahone please, my white is stained. I didn’t know my period will come today. It was supposed to come next week…” I said while tears ran down my cheeks.
“…Just go you back, you are supposed to know when your period is coming. I am not opening the dormitory for anybody. Go up school and beg for pad from any of your friend… ” she replied.
Hhmmm! I had to talk to this woman into understanding my situation. I was running out of time. It was soon time for the principal’s conference. After several minutes of begging and crying, she opened the dorm for me to enter. It took just 20 minutes for me to have a rub down, change my gown and go back up school.
Guess what! I met other students who were hiding in the dormitory. They were enjoying their sleep. I wonder how they managed to hide without Aunty Ernestine, the “omnipresent” didn’t see them.
The lessons I learnt from my menstrual embarrassment.
- Ladies, this our Sango can come at any time ooo. In order to be on the safe side, always have at least a pant, pad and handkerchief in your bag in case of any emergencies. Since that day, I swore never to go anywhere with these vitals in my bag. It is usual for me now. Others even advice you include perfume/spray in the list.
The unexpected period is one of the most embarrassing things in a woman’s life. It doesn’t ruin only your dress but your mood too. Doctors and other studies say your period can come a weak earlier or late, so, beware! To help you manage it perfectly, you can download the flow app and use.
2. My sisters, know your period to your fingertips. It is a saving tip. It will save you from lots of embarrassments. Apart from unwanted pregnancies and health issues, it saves you from terrible situations like the one I just narrated. Have you ever seen a lady who is anxiously waiting for her period? She can drink even the bitterest pill on earth just to make sure it comes. Most at times, they wait without knowing when it will come. My sister, what are you waiting for?
3. Menstrual hygiene is of paramount importance to a woman. It is even “importanter” than food. Because the money you will spend trying to solve its ramifications (infections) will be more than your feeding money.
Why am I saying this?
Many women suffer from infections because of poor menstrual hygiene. I have been a victim too. It’s all thanks to God that I got out of it. See eerr, naivety na some very bad tin. A lady used a tissue paper to pad herself. Don’t forget the result is always horrible. What she didn’t know was those tissue particles got stuck and blocked her fallopian tubes. These cause lots of damages. This is why doctors advise we use sanitary pads or soft napkins, not tissue.
Let me re-echo this, MENSTRUATION IS NOT A CHOICE BUT SEX IS SO, SHARE SANITARY PADS FOR FREE AND SELL CONDOMS. If you feel like helping a girl child today, save her from this menstrual embarrassment by buying her a pack of pads,
As poor as you may be, washing your genitals and changing your pad at least twice a day shouldn’t be a heavy task.
Don’t forget once the blood starts dropping it automatically generates an unpleasant smell talk less of when the colour changes to dark green. Some people especially boys with a strong sense always notice when you are on your period. Hence, you will want to keep it clean down there.
Do not overheat the private part when on your period. It makes it stink too. I know you will want to wear something tight like “colang” to keep the pad tight. But can you allow that cookie breathe some air too? If not it may cause some rashes and other infections. Here is a recommendation on the kind of pants you can wear during your period.
You may want to ask what I did to relieve myself of the menstrual cramps I had back then. Well, some exercises did the magic. I started gyming. Maybe you give it some time too. It will go on its own.
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