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Indoda Must Be Period Positive!

A frequent question that a lot of men ask me is: “How do I support my partner or someone I know who menstruates?” And this is a very valid and necessary question. It allows for us as society to rethink clearly about what support is reasonable, appropriate, and respectful. Men, if you are reading this, I can assure you that nothing bad will happen to you if you help a person who menstruates especially if they happen to be your intimate partner, child, friend, or family member. In fact, it helps establish a period positive world if we have more men involved in the conversation of menstruation. But in this blog, the friendly Minister of Menstruation is going to help you with a few steps on HOW and WHY you can be a supportive menstrual ally!

Why: We need to fundamentally shift as a society to be more open in our discussions around menstruation. Many men are uncomfortable discussing periods, even in homes and within relationships. But here is the reality: most people with a uterus that you know will spend about 40 years menstruating. Whether you acknowledge the fact or not, avoiding the topic will not make it go away! The more we talk about menstruation, the more we become comfortable with it and embrace it.

Firstly, normalize talking about it in your relationship. Menstruation. Period. Tampons. Menstrual pads. Vagina. Bleeding. Just a list of words that you will have to get comfortable saying. Menstruation is a normal bodily function just like going to the bathroom or sneezing. Like those topics, there might be certain times when you do not want to discuss them, but there shouldn’t be any shame or secrecy around them either. Next, it is important to understand how periods work and you need to learn to separate the facts from fiction. But it’s really important that you understand that every person with a uterus experiences menstruation in a different way. It’s important to ask people about their period, so you can get to understand them better. With a child, they will be learning along with you, but don’t make assumptions based on the experiences of others.

Here are the 8 ways you can BE a menstrual ally:

  1. Be open and honest. If you can watch violent stuff but can’t talk about periods, then you need to look for a way to get used to the idea of periods. Periods are so fundamental to life, and you actually should be worried if it doesn’t happen for your partner or child. That’s how necessary it is. If you can watch Game of Thrones with all that blood, you can get used to a natural process. Stop feeling disgusted and reassure your partner or child that there’s nothing disgusting about them, periods or not. Also, it’s not an illness or sickness, so don’t treat them as though they are invalids.
  2. Be patient. Make them feel better. If they are feeling anxious, be sure to comfort them. Don’t complain about their emotions. Listen, be attentive, be nice. But don’t patronise them.
  3. Be willing to buy period products. Know the size, and the brand your partner or child likes. Buy their product ahead of their period, without being asked to. You can’t mess this one up. It will show that you care about every aspect of their life.
  4. Be a food delivery service provider: ice cream, burgers, wings, pizza, chocolate, tacos, sushi, donuts, you name it, your favourite menstruator probably wants it. All of it. (Okay, not all of it, but ask which comfort foods they’d prefer.) FYI: Don’t overdo the sugary stuff because it worsens period cramps.
  5. Be Attentive! Be the multi-talented star that you are and massage your partner or child where required. This first requires you to get consent. Once you’ve got it, provide belly rubs and back massages, according to their preferences. You might even provide some heat therapy – hot water bottles help with back and stomach pains.
  6. Be Helpful!: do some of their chores too. Finish work early, wash their clothes, clean up the kitchen, get the groceries, make dinner. And then spend time with them. Just do it. It won’t kill you. But if your partner or child says no to this, then learn to deal with it and if they want to be left alone, then learn to respect their space. Sometimes there is nothing wrong with being left alone but you need to ask first what they’d like. Don’t just disappear.
  7. Be Polite: No joking about periods. It’s okay to make people laugh. Laughter is the best medicine but do not joke about it being ‘that time of the month again’. Don’t shame and judge. No rude comments about them being moody.
  8. Be Understanding: No one can ever entirely imagine someone else’s physical or emotional pain. Simply understanding that they are in pain, and saying that you do, is a good first step. Never ever say it’s not a big deal. That invalidates the menstruator’s reality. And that is not okay.

Signed by Your Minister of Menstruation!

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