Since I had Cygnet my periods have been a lot heavier than they were before I had a baby. One of you commented on my blog post about the clitoris that your orgasms have been different since you gave birth. I don’t know why periods and orgasms might be different after childbirth – I haven’t done my research yet, but I do know that on the first day of my period each month I wish I had shares in Tampax tampons.
By pure coincidence, it was the first day of my period when I read the news story about sanitary protection for school girls. School girls in Leeds have been truanting when they have their periods because they don’t have access to sanitary towels and tampons. I had just spent the day at work needing to change my saturated tampon every 30 minutes and squirming uncomfortably towards the end of a two hour meeting as I became aware that my tampon was leaking. Too much detail? I know, I’m sorry.
The school girls’ stories of using sellotape to stick toilet paper to their knickers and of shoving an old sock in their underwear resonated more than they would have done had I not been having a period-from-hell day. I applaud the teachers who had been buying sanitary protection for their pupils so that they would have the confidence to come to school. These teachers are great, but they shouldn’t have to do that. There is now a fundraising campaign to buy sanitary protection for school girls.
We tend to think that lack of access to proper sanitation and the stigma surrounding menstruation only inhibits young women in third world countries. If you told me that school girls had been truanting at the time of their periods I would naïvely assume you were referring to school girls in sub-Saharan Africa, in India, in Iran, in Muslim countries. It wouldn’t even occur to me that the lack of sanitary protection was holding girls back in Western countries.
Delve a little deeper and you’ll find that it is not just school girls who suffer from not having access to proper sanitary protection each month. Bloody Good (and I applaud them for their Bloody Good name) are a charity that provides sanitary protection for asylum seekers. Bloody Good argue that asylum seekers have enough to worry about without having to worry about their period as well.
Imagine what it must be like to be homeless and to have your period. Homeless shelters regularly give out condoms but they do not provide free sanitary towels and tampons. The Homeless Period believes that tampons and towels should be available through homeless shelters in the same way that the government provides condoms.
Next month, as I change my tampon for the twelfth time in as many hours, I won’t be sitting on the toilet thinking about buying shares in Tampax tampons, I will be donating some instead. I will be donating tampons to my sisters who really need them.
P.S. This isn’t a collaborative or a sponsored post. My heavy period made me realise the importance of sanitary protection for school girls … and for asylum seekers … and for homeless women … and for all women if women are to realise their potential.