Mama had gone to America for school work. We siblings were having a normal conversation when I started menstruating. My first reaction was that I was scared. I locked myself in the washroom. When Baba found out, he reassured me from outside the washroom and said nothing happened. These are the periods we told you about some time ago.
This is the story of Maryam Aziz who is currently a high school student in a local school in Islamabad. When she started menstruating for the first time, her mother was traveling abroad and only her siblings and father were at home.
“At first, none of the three siblings understood what was happening,” she said. We all had a lot of questions and at the same time my siblings were worried about my health.
Baba then brought the pads, gave me chocolates and explained how I should take care of myself. Later in a video call with the family, Mama and Baba explained that there is no need to worry about periods and they will be once a week for a month. At the same time, Mama asked my younger brother to take care of me.
Before we move on to the story of Maryam Aziz, let me first tell you the purpose of writing the story of Maryam and her family.
Ever since I regained consciousness and started menstruating every month, I used to wonder why girls have to go through a few days of physical and mental discomfort every month and keep it a secret. Even if he was allowed to fast in this situation, he would have to resort to lying in front of his brothers and sometimes even the women of the house to show that he was fasting.
However, I was not allowed to ask this question, nor did I hear from anywhere to shed light on the positive aspects of this natural process.
Years later, in the case of Farah Yusuf, I met a mother who, during her adolescence, went through the same ordeal during menstruation that almost every girl went through at that time. He did not push the daughters into this oppression but also informed his son about the menstrual process along with the daughters so that he could consider it as a normal natural process and give equal status to women.
Now we come back to Maryam Aziz who at that time was sitting with her siblings and talking to us with satisfaction and satisfaction.
When Maryam mentioned her menstrual cycle to her schoolmates, many of her friends had started having periods. However, the difference between her and Maryam’s story was that many of her friends were women However, the girls were not allowed to tell their fathers or brothers about it.
‘Menstruation is normal, you just don’t have to tell anyone’
Here we tell you about the childhood of Mary’s mother Farah Yusuf and her menstrual experiences.
Farah Yusuf started menstruating when she was about 13 years old but like other girls of her time she was also unfamiliar with menstruation so in her ignorance she felt that she had climbed on the wall in wrong way so something happened to her.
“When I was little, I was like a Tom Boy,” she says of her childhood. I enjoyed climbing walls, running and running. So when the first menstrual period came, no one told me I had no idea what was going on.
So I got scared and I washed my clothes all day. I used to run to the washroom every 15 to 20 minutes and change and come back, then my mother became suspicious and when I told her she told me that it doesn’t matter to everyone it is normal just you I don’t have to tell anyone. “
“We were very close brothers and sisters. My brother was younger than me, we exchanged everything, so it was very strange to me that so much happened to me and how can it be that I do not even tell him. I felt very confidential that it was a secret that should not be shared with anyone.
She says that in this regard, she was also worried that if there were periods, there would be trouble, if not trouble. Three weeks a month you are fine and one week you don’t feel like going to school. There is a lot of tension and I can’t tell anyone.
“When the friend started having periods, he realized that his kidneys had ruptured.”
This is not the story of a lonely Farah about hiding her period, but before the age of the Internet, girls usually only knew about menstruation when they started menstruating. Then the conversation about the reproductive organs of one’s body was like a forbidden tree.
Farah says that the first reaction of young girls when menstruation starts is a strong fear of not knowing what disease they have contracted and at the same time there is a fear of being scolded unconsciously, so think that such In the situation, the girl would tell who she did well and how.
When a friend of mine started menstruating, she realized that her kidneys had ruptured. She was so frightened that she realized that her mother would not even take her to the doctor and that she had been a guest for a few days and that she would die.
“Similarly, when a friend started menstruating, his cousin said that you have started a dangerous disease and you did not tell anyone, now you stay in the store. She stayed in the store from morning till night, fearing that she would not know what was happening to her.
One is bleeding from the body and the other is warning not to tell anyone. In the process of hiding, girls are extremely vulnerable at this young age.
According to Farah, he did not understand what he had done wrong, that he was being asked to hide his condition from his brother and very kind uncles.
‘Boys should know that this is the reason for their birth’
Farah says that at that time almost all the girls had the same story but when the time came for their own daughters to reach puberty they decided that they would not allow their daughters to go through this painful experience no matter what. , Which the girls of his time were forced to face.
She began to explain to her daughters from time to time so that when menstruation started they could talk to them or their father instead of panicking and being scared.
“I think teaching children helps them to have self-confidence and less self-consciousness,” he said. So that way they will know that this is a normal thing.
“To hide this, girls should not get up in the morning and act in Ramadan even if they want to.” Boys should also know that this is the reason for their birth. So in order to move forward in life and to change society in a positive way, it is necessary to talk openly about it at home.
‘Consider menstruation a natural process’
The conversation with Farah and Maryam also included Farah’s son Muhammad Aziz who spoke very confidently about women’s menstruation and told us how he could take more care of his sisters during menstruation.
“When my sister’s periods started, Mama told us all, not just Maryam, and told me what to do in this situation and how I should help my sister. In our home we can easily talk to each other. There is nothing to hide from each other.
“Amy Baba is never at home and my sister has to ask for sanitary pads, so I bring them too.”
Farah Yusuf says that there comes a time when every boy finds out, instead of the girl hiding in her own house. When you tell your daughter, tell your son too so that he can take care of his sister and not find it strange, but he will consider it a normal action.
At Farah’s point, we asked Tasneem Ahmar, executive director of Aks, an NGO working on women’s rights and gender issues in Pakistan, about the benefits of educating children about the natural menstrual cycle. Change can come.
Tasneem Ahmar said that this system was not created by women for themselves but was instilled in this body by this system of nature which has a special purpose. There is neither shame nor indecency in it. All girls need to be taught not only from the age of eight or nine, but also girls as well as boys in order to bring balance in the society.
She says that it is very important for boys to be told by their parents so that they can understand that if there is a menstrual system in a woman then nature itself has put it in her and if there is no such system then life Might not even move forward.
“Menstruation is not a disease but a natural process that occurs every month from a certain age to a certain age so that girls who are studying in a co-educational system or who are in a family system between siblings and fathers are given menstruation. Don’t make excuses to give up your various tasks and don’t panic.
Confusion will continue to grow until it is discussed and considered a part of life. The time has come to shed the veil of shame and artificial veil about menstruation and talk openly about the natural system to make life easier.
‘The onset of menstruation can be a terrible experience’
Dr. Mehboob Yaqub, a psychologist at Shifa Hospital Islamabad, says it is important to educate girls about menstruation in a timely manner. “It’s very important to give them confidence that this is a normal process and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Doing so increases girls’ self-confidence.
“Lack of timely awareness about menstruation can hurt girls’ self-esteem and can lead to stress and anxiety as they get older,” she says. Sometimes the onset of menstruation can be a nightmare for girls. He can walk with them all his life in case of fear and hesitation.
However, according to Dr. Mehboob Yaqub, as far as explaining menstruation to daughters as well as sons is concerned, it can help in increasing the respect of these children or boys for women in the home environment and society. Depending on what the family is like and what the family structure is like.
“Explaining menstruation to sons and daughters can have a good effect overall, but it’s not that simple. It is also very important for most people to keep in mind what kind of society you belong to and what your general customs and traditions are.