This time two weeks ago was International women’s day and more than anything I wanted to write an inspirational post. Obviously, I wanted this post to be some of my best work, which would definitely inspire generations and propel me to my rightful spot as World Ruler. All brought about by your realising how awesome, wise and right about everything I am.
The reality however was I had to duck out of work before lunchtime to spend the rest of the day working from home as I was having the worst period pains. Ok, not the worst, I didn’t end up unconscious with an ambulance being called. They were bad enough that I had to go home and put some heat on them in a pre-emptive attack to prevent the need for an ambulance. At first, I felt a little bit like a failure, and I even made a joke about it “what do we want? equal rights…unless our stomach hurts, in which case we want to go home and cuddle on the sofa in comfy pants, with an infinite amount of chocolate and tea!”
However, as I was in the process of judging myself, negatively, I realised that actually, my situation said a lot more about why we needed international woman’s day. When I walked out of the office, despite that fact that I have a genuine medical condition, which resulted in an ambulance been called, I said nothing to no-one. I just kept my head down and shuffled out of there hoping no one would notice. I couldn’t admit to my male colleagues what was going on. Of course, all my female colleagues were very aware and had offered paracetamol and taken me for a walking hoping some fresh air would help. But I kept it quiet, I was ashamed.
It makes me mad, that still in this day and age woman are ashamed to admit they are on their periods and the whole natural monthly occurrence is shoved under the carpet. I’m not quite in the free bleeding camp, but I do think that we shouldn’t have to hide it. It also makes me so mad, that there is so little funding for ailments that are purely woman focus. How much is spent each month on looking at Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or Endometriosis. When I was told I had PCOS I was in my appointment for a full five minutes, I was told to take some tablets which would make all of my symptoms worst but provided me with contraception, and told that I may struggle to have kids. That was it.
It’s now almost 10 years later, I have had ambulances called out to me and I have still not seen a doctor about my problems. I know I should but how do I walk into a room and say “I have period pains” and get the seriousness of the situation understood by a doctor? When my cramps are at their worse I pass out. However, I quickly bounce back and there is nothing to see. The ambulance was called when I had stopped responding to anyone but by the time it had arrived I was sitting up and talking as if nothing was wrong. Trying to explain that to someone… the only symptom I had was a slight change in blood pressure.
I was reading something this morning about how one in ten women have Endometriosis and don’t know about it. I can’t help but think how?!! I know that there are also a lot of male symptoms which don’t get as much funding as they should, and probably if I was a better blogger I would have researched them so I could name them, but surely woman’s period care needs looking at.
I mean let’s talk about the luxury that is the tampon. Something we have to pay over the odds to put into our bodies to control something natural which can give us toxic shock syndrome which can be fatal. I thought toxic shock only occurs when you leave a tampon in too long, something I think we all have done, but then I was reading the other day that another cause of toxic shock can be getting an infection from inserting one. Apparently, tampons scratch the lining of the vagina when they are inserted and this can get infected. How, in this day and age, with all the advancements know to us, can we not come up with a better way of stopping blood leaks in this day and age?
Something needs to be done.
Looking back on history it is easy to say “well they didn’t know better” but now we do. We know that there are glass ceilings, we know that there is a pay gap, and recently I learnt that a woman’s right to choose whether or not she wants an abortion is STILL not legal in my country (UK). Forget, whether or not you agree with abortion for a second, and instead ask yourself is it right that half of our population do not have the right to make a decision as to what happens to their own bodies?
That’s why we need international women’s day, that’s why we can’t stay silent anymore.