An open letter to my 12 year old self
Congratulations on your first period! I am sure you must be reading this letter in celebratory chaos – as our family will be celebrating your period today and you have no idea why they are doing so. Aama must have hardly spoken to you at length about why, how, and what is happening to you because she is busy spreading the news to our extended family and also probably because she is a bit shy to talk to you right now. You are anxious, scared, and confused but forgive her and everyone around you- they all were left in the same mental state in their life just like you are right now that’s because no one knows much about periods. Aama wasn’t taught by her mother too, she was taught by her friends who then had limited knowledge and some baseless stories. They were not taught the right way call it due to lack of proper school, education or company of friends but you my love, you should be grateful of the era and family you are born in, you are in a school most people cannot afford and with education, some of them still dream of, so be patient soon you’ll find out everything in-depth as you grow.
I am so proud of you as you have started the journey of becoming a woman. Yes, you are growing and these what periods are all about. A process where your body bleeds at least 5 days every month. Some days will be super easy and some days will be painful, so hold tight and do not give up. In these few days, Amaa will ask you to sit away from bhaiya and papa and she might make you feel like an untouchable during those days but forgive her again, for her knowledge is limited and blinded by society. Here is a secret: It is completely okay to talk to your father and play with your brother (gently) it is only don’t stress your body otherwise chances are that you might bleed more (and please don’t let aama catch you otherwise she will take the roof on her head). On the days when your body pains, especially your lower back and abdominal area, put a warm water bag and sleep for some time. I would recommend not swallowing any painkillers unless the situation is extremely unbearable. Gee, the journey of a painful period is only preparing you for something bigger that will happen to you at the later age of your life when you plan to start a family of your own. So eat to the fullest and sleep tight.
Why do periods happen you ask? - So when you grow to a certain age your body starts developing blood tissue (below your belt area) and hormones – that would bring beautiful changes to your body. Now, at your age, these blood tissues act as waste and would simply pile up and create a serious health problem later if not removed every month. So your intelligent body aware of that and it removes the blood itself. Sometime later in your life, these blood tissues will act as a source of creating another life, which you will eventually come to know.
Soon after your day ends, you will have to get back to school. I know you will be conscious about the sanitary pad you will be wearing all day long but remember you can always count on your friends to help you. Do not be shy then, just speak your heart out to them and ask for help. Always remember to keep 2 pads extra along with a hand sanitizer in the corner of your bag so that you can use them anytime you want. Please do not be afraid to confront your teachers about the pain you might have during classes and if you may want, ask for a rest, these teachers will be like your second parents at school and they have seen much more than you have. So do not be afraid for seeking put help.
Later when you enter your college life you will have friends that will equally contribute to your “embarrassing period story” and you will feel that everything is normal. Awkward situations happen to everyone. College life would be amazing for you as you may have to move outside your hometown and live on your own and hence the journey of freedom will come to you as one of the biggest responsibilities. This is the time where you may incur slight hate towards your body as you might bloat during your periods. You might consider yourself “fat” and probably body shame yourself but my little one that’s exactly when I want you to love yourself the hardest. That bloating in your belly and breakouts on your face will fade away once the period ends but the hate might stick for long. So hate less, avoid the junk, cut on soda and coffee, and live more!
When you enter your career, you will be wonderfully mature and become a reflection of your aama and baba. You will at this stage completely understand the meaning of “menstruation” and would love yourself just the way you are!