I waited until we got back home,
And asked my father.
“My aunt said so and so,
And I don’t want to catch this disease.
What should I do?”
My father is a doctor,
And he made sure while we were growing up,
To let us know that our relationship is more than just a father-daughter relationship.
We were also friends.
So he explained everything to me.
The first time I got it,
I thought I had injured my privates.
The pain, the shock of seeing blood—it was all new to me.
I had no idea what was going on.
womanhood, body image, period
I didn’t get my period until I was 15.
Everyone told me to wait,
And that I’ll get it eventually.
I listened to them and kept waiting.
I thought it was just late.
My younger sister even got it before me.
My mother took me to see a doctor to find out what’s wrong.
I expected the doctor to say that it was just a hormonal imbalance.
But it turned out that I had a condition called an “imperforate hymen”.
I would always hear stories from my friends,
About how they were surprised the first time they got their periods,
And how it affected them,
And how they accepted their changing bodies.
Thank God for my mother,
May she rest in peace.
When my body started to change,
And show signs of puberty,
My mother explained to me what menstruation was,
What happens exactly during it,
And why it happens.
It was me and two or three other girls on the bus.
Two of them were veiled and one was wearing the niqab.
We were all standing in a corner.
We were surrounded by men.
There was a man sitting with his legs wide open and laughing loudly.
It was as if he was the owner of the bus and could act any way he liked.
I wasn’t feeling well for over a month.
I had a stomach-ache,
And was feeling down all the time.
My mother took me to see a doctor when I told her.
After he examined me, he said,
“There’s nothing wrong with you.
And stop eating food that isn’t home-cooked.”
A month later,
I got my period.
I didn’t understand what it was at first.
My period affects my life to a large degree.
Not just during it,
But also the week leading up to it,
When I’m unable to move.
My body feels weak,
And my legs feel as if they’re being pulled away from my body.
There’s usually a general feeling of exhaustion,
Which continues until my period ends.
My family was relatively understanding.
When I was young,
Baba used to always tell people,
“She’s a woman now.”
It made me happy that he saw me that way,
Even though I was still young.
That line used to boost my confidence,
And I knew I could handle anything,
Even if I hadn’t hit puberty,
As opposed to our society,
Which associates puberty with maturity.
I didn’t know a thing about periods.
When I asked, all I got was its definition from the dictionary.
“Menstruation is a physiological change that the female body goes through during puberty if the egg isn’t fertilized.”
I didn’t understand a word.