There is an important conversation around menstrual equity that needs to be had. Menstrual equity conversations lack the very necessary and important voices: Black women. Menstruation can be a burden on Black women. Historically, Black women haven’t had the privilege some women hold of celebrating their bodies. The shame we often carry from how we are perceived and treated has played a role in how we’ve projected those stigmas with the things that oftentimes come with our body, such as our periods. Sharing these stories, we hope to normalize Black women telling their stories about their periods.
My period wasn’t a huge issue for me when I was a child. I remember when I first got my period, my parents threw me a little party with Martinelli‘s and everything. It was kind of an initiation into womanhood, and it was as confusing as it was intriguing. During my teens, my menstruation cycle didn’t have any effects. I never got cramps, my face didn’t break out that much and I didn’t have any mood swings.
“It’s crazy that there is a preconceived notion that the effects of menstruation are natural when in reality they are not.”
Once I got to University, everything changed. The first effects I began to feel were cramps. Terrible cramps. Ones that kept me up at night, and had me searching for any type of heat remedy possible. I began to take painkillers, just so I could get through classes. Other times I just did not feel like going because the cramps hurt so bad. Then came mood swings. This was a strange phenomenon for me because I never experienced such an emotional rollercoaster in my life. The mood swings would start about a week before my period would come, and would leave me sad and weepy for no reason.
Once my period would come, I felt relieved knowing that I, in fact, was not a weak individual in real life, my period just had me all the way messed up. Lastly, my adult acne started to show up. It was during the second summer of my university years that I began to see my face break out weeks before my period would begin.
The breakouts would be severe, with my face feeling tight and itchy. I tried to wear makeup to mask it but felt like everything made my pores look worse. And to top it off, just when I thought my pimples were overbearing, body hair decided to rear its ugly head. I’m used to body hair (I’m mixed with East Indian), but this was different. I now had facial hair, EVERYWHERE.
That’s when I began to look into hormonal therapy. It’s crazy that there is a preconceived notion that the effects of menstruation are natural when in reality they are not. Many of the signs and symptoms we endure are causes of hormonal imbalances, and with proper care (and supplements) they can lessen.
Being relatively new to this information, I have found myself blown away by the research and diet changes that help aid imbalances. I may have “become a woman” nine years ago, but I am learning slowly but surely about nurturing that woman to be in the best shape she can be.