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From Cloth To Tampon: My Menstrual Journey

I was 13 when I got my first periods. Having grown up in a typical conservative Bihari family, someone explaining the blood out of my vagina was a dream! Just another afternoon during my holidays in March, and I went to take a bath for the second time, took off my clothes, and just when I thought I will fill the bucket, I saw blood on my panties. I was scared to death that I’ve probably got some incurable disease and I will die soon. I went to my mom confused with tears in my eyes, and she started scolding me. It is a puzzle I still haven’t cracked! My mom suggested I speak to my aunt, who ended up giving me a really rough piece of cloth that I did not know what to do with. 

My mom took out a pad from somewhere and asked me to put it on. My younger self thought the sticky side should be up, and I wore it upside down, regretting it the next moment (obviously!). My mom handed me some old cotton cloth then. I used them and had to walk really slow so it wouldn’t slip. I spent two years in school with clothes inside my panties, always scared to death that it will slip any moment (Not to forget, the horrific shame that came with stains in school). Much later I realized there are sanitary napkins as well. 

After the two scary years, I started with the general sanitary napkins. I have an extremely sensitive body, much like everyone. Genitals are all the more sensitive and softer. Those napkins troubled me for years! By the end of my third day, it would get difficult to just walk due to the rashes between my thighs. I would hate the 4 days of bleeding and wearing the pads and being a woman. 

After I started working and earning myself and understood menstruation and my body some more, I figured there are cotton pads that can help avoid any kind of rashes. I felt as if my prayers have been answered! After a few months, the rashes did come up again. It wasn’t for me. I had heard a lot about tampons, so I ordered some and decided to give it a go. The first day, first experience, and I knew this is meant for me. I have felt sure about very few things in life, tampons are definitely one of them. Tampons suit my idea of independence, comfort and ease. That is all we need in life, I suppose. 

 

By

Sweta Mishra


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