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I was busy with my matriculation examination when suddenly I felt that something is wrong with my stomach because I just had a soft drink. After about half an hour, I found that this pain wasn’t caused because of gas, but it was like someone is hitting my lower abdomen.
I packed my bag and silently lied on the bed. When my alarm woke me up for Fajar prayers, I found that blood clots were oozing from my private part and my favorite white churidar pajamas were stained with red. I rushed to my bedroom where the bedsheet was stained too with blood spots.
Being the only sister of three brothers, I had no idea what just happened to me! I then came to know that why my class fellows taunted me after every day or two. ‘Tumhare Periods Shuru Nae Hoe?’,’Jawaan Nai Hoi Abhi Tak?’,’Tyre Puncture Kab Hoga Tumhara?’ and started laughing. Even my best friend never told me about this blood thing. I regretted of living oblivious!
I waited for the morning so that I could tell my mom about what happened. During a 5-minute conversation, she handed over me a panty with a piece of stiff towel-like cloth and told me that this bleeding is called menses. She added that when a girl gets her first period, she has to use this (pointing at the panty and cloth) to absorb all the blood. Then, she showed me how to put that cloth and directed me to wash the cloth so that you can reuse it. I was dismissed then, without being able to ask any questions.
I bled for three days and during these days, my mother restricted me from offering prayers, reciting the Holy Quran, wearing light-colored dresses and eating pickles. She handed me a book regarding ‘how to purify after menstruation?’ and I acted upon it. And that’s how my first period ended! But I was lest with hundreds of questions! Why did this happen to me? Did every girl bleed this way? What can I do if don’t want this? How can I stop all this? I spent two years in despair until I got access to my own PC!
I asked every single question from Google and it answered me like a kind friend. But the thing which saddened me was my mother’s attitude. I am her daughter, she bore me, she fed me, she took care of me but at this point in life where I am going to hit puberty, she needed the courage to discuss menstruation cycle with me. I can just imagine how my grandmother would have guided my mother when she had her first periods.
We are living in the 21st century but yes, menstruation is still considered a taboo. A girl isn’t allowed to buy sanitary pads without a ‘brown bag’, she has to hide the ‘brown bag’ in her closet, she should wait for changing the pad when her father along with other male members of the family are sitting in the living room, she has to wake up for Sehri and many more!
It is very well said that charity begins at home. I believe that an educated and well-informed girl can break this taboo. Talking about menstruation frequently with your female friends can be the first step in this direction. Increasing awareness among mothers regarding menses can be impactful for future generation.
Come forward if you want to end this taboo so that your daughter couldn’t suffer!