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It was my 13th birthday and my aunties and cousins had gathered home for a birthday hi-tea. After I did the cake cutting and everyone wished me Happy Birthday, I realised my aunts were whispering in my mom’s ears – It’s her time, make her understand about it. And my mom reciprocated with an embarrassing grin, saying – I have asked her cousin to talk to her.

I overheard this conversation many times. While this made me happy for all the attention I was getting, I was also curious to know what was this thing.

I am sure by now; you must have guessed it too. Yes, they were talking about Menstruation, menses, periods, monthlies.

Menstruation, a life-giving, biological process of our body, yet a taboo in our society. It is so ironical, when a woman is pregnant, has a life inside her, she is pampered, her pregnancy is celebrated but on the other side when the same woman gets her period she is abandoned and almost secluded from the society.

In my 10 years of the corporate stint, I realised even the corporate women; the educated, independent and a significant lot of our society fail to express openly about this bodily function. They may joke around this topic, may laugh at the code words used for addressing menstruation but the fact remains that they still feel the need to shush around often when talking about periods.

So, coming back to my 13th birthday, and the time arrives when my cousin finally gathers the courage to talk to me and explain this phenomenon. While I don’t clearly remember about what she told but I do remember her expressions. Throughout she was hesitant and embarrassed. She asked me to always keep it a secret, to not talk about it with anyone, and especially not with my papa and bhai as men are not supposed to know about this at all.

While this episode left a not so good impression about the upcoming phase of my life, I now feel that at least my mother was keen to make me prepared for my first period.

Per a few studies – Even today, about 70% of mothers in the rural community think that Periods are dirty and impure and sadly they pass on this stigma to their daughters. About half the girls are unaware of their first period and are not prepared. Many girls I spoke to shared they thought they had got some disease.

What does this unpreparedness lead to? Confusion, anxiety, shame, embarrassment, feeling of isolation, loss of confidence, inferiority complex and the list could go on.

Menarche – What could have been a cherished experience for girls becomes a dark memory of their lives that they want to forget about. Having to adhere to societal practices in name of rituals and traditions, feeling as if their wings had been clipped. There’s nothing beautiful about womanhood for them.

However, we all can bring a change in our society. One of the important contributions can be normalising periods, normalising the conversation about periods and helping to invoke immense confidence in our daughters so they never dread of Periods in their lives like a lot of us did. We must talk to them and assure that Periods is just another biological function of our body, yet important, as important as breathing.

Let’s enable them to celebrate this phase of life…LET’S TALK PERIOD!!!

Photo by Nikhita S on Unsplash

Dr Vijaya Krishnan is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), and the Co-Founder and Director of Healthy Mother Sanctum, Natural Birth Centre. She is the leading official Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) in India and teaches the Healthy Mother Lamaze Accredited Childbirth Educator Program.

At her Natural Birth Centre, The Sanctum, she has pioneered a unique Collaborative Model of Care – Women receive Independent Midwife Led Care, through pre-conception, pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum, with back-up support and emergency infrastructure on site

Dr Nidhi Agarwal is a connoisseur of the Holistic approach to propagate medicine free lifestyle for the last 12 years! She is a Homeopathic physician, Lifestyle & Wellness Coach, Relationship Counsellor, a holistic healer and the Director of Prakash Holistic Health Care Centre (PHCC).

Dr Nidhi, a harbinger of holistically healing any individual body, mind and soul.  Her motto is to successfully guide her patients towards a lifestyle where they can cure their body from within by understanding the requirement of the body and nutrifying it by embracing home remedies and using ingredients from your kitchen, with the minimal or no medicinal intervention.

Period Hub is proud to have Dr Nidhi on the Advisory Board. We share the same value system and advocate the Natural way of living. Period Hub hopes to benefit from her rich experience and utilise her insights to enrich our workshop modules. We also hope we shall be able to extend her expert advise to our customers and bring them out of their Period Woes.

Hema Balakrishnan is a social entrepreneur and founder of The Conscious Storey – A Unit of Color D Earth – A Handmade Collective. Hema is an alumnus of the prestigious 10000 Women program, a Goldman Sachs funded Initiative for Women Entrepreneurs in 2009. In March 2012, she was chosen by the U.S Department of State to attend the coveted International Visitors Leadership Program on Women and Entrepreneurship by the U.S. Department of State.

An ardent believer of conscious living and sustainable lifestyle Hema mentors The Period Hub in its outreach programmes and activities at the grassroots level.

Kanupriya is a seasoned marketing leader with more than 16 years of rich hands-on experience in various facets of marketing. She has spearheaded the creation of multiple brands and digital properties in start-ups like Canvera and Seventymm, as well as managed the brand portfolio of large conglomerates like Godrej and Infosys.