It used to be referred to as "the curse?" And yet there is a time when The Curse can be a blessing.. Our reproductive lives have become more under our own control in the last 40 years since the advent of the contraceptive pill.
Our great grandparents and grandparents had little control over getting pregnant. If they didn't breastfeed completely and thereby hopefully suppress ovulation, babies would often naturally follow, and inconsistent or short term breastfeeding meant the babies came close together. Even when fully breastfed for the first year, a woman could find herself pregnant shortly after solids were introduced to the baby's feeding routine. Two years was then a standard gap between births.
Not every woman can successfully take the contraceptive pill. Being hormone based, the pill can turn your emotions upside down. For some it's like being permanently premenstrual. Break through bleeding, cramps and a lack of libido can be common side effects. For others being on the pill is impacting enought to put them mentally in a deep dark hole, with no libido whatsoever..What's the point of being on The Pill if you don't feel like making love ? You may well ask..
These days there are different sorts of pills designed to better match individual hormones. Some are more progesterone based, others more estrogen based and your doctor can advise what suits your particular body type the best.
Being on the pill can make your periods lighter while skipping the placebo pills altogether and going directly from one month's supply to the next means you can temporarily stop menstruating altogether. Some women do this for years. Is it harmful? I don't know. Saving money on sanitary products is an advantage of course, but when nature take its course and a menstrual period arrives, it always pays to be prepared. An emergency pack of pad and tampon in the purse is a very reassuring thing, enough hopefully to get you home or to the closest store to buy supplies.
Thankfully, as periods are common to most women, we seem to be sympathetic to the plight of other women who have been caught short. Someone will hopefully have a spare pad or tampon on hand for a woman in distress, bless them.
But if you have access to sanitary products you are lucky. Many women do not have such a luxury. You've heard of women using grasses, socks, leaves and shockingly even sand to catch the bleeding. And what about in an extreme emergency; an earthquake, tornado, tsunami? What's a woman to do then?
If you are having regular periods it pays to always have a stash at hand, just in case.
There has been a big move to reduce the price of sanitary products and make them obtainable for all women regardless of their income or lack of it. It's one area women who are below the bread line, destitute or homeless really struggle.
In New Zealand the Countdown supermarkets have dropped their prices on sanitary products. In Australia they've taken the gst off sanitary products.
At last there is acknowledgement of the price women pay to manage their monthly.
Spare a thought for those who are suffering the shame and inconvenience of no income. They have to resort to the old-fashioned method and are literally "on the rag." Eco Bin is supporting Share the Dignity for this very reason. www.sharethedignity.com.au
But also be aware there is a strong movement to returning to washable, reusable sanitary pads, at least while at home.
We women generate so much sanitary waste and it needs to be captured before it gets flushed away. It really creates a headache for the council and pads and tampons are a problem in a septic tank.
It is so much easier to deal with sanitary waste before it enters the sewers, as the city council will tell you. Using a Disbin disposable sanitary bin could be part of your normal cycle; somewhere to dispose of wrappers, pads and tampons. Between periods the Disbin disposable bin is good for panti-liners, condoms, breast pads, nappies and all other personal waste that shouldn't be flushed down.
It's a small thing we women can do to help protect the planet. And it has a low carbon footprint meaning it takes less petrol to relocate, less water for washing and helps protect the city sewers and further down the track, the ocean.