Recently, I learned about the Oscar Winning Netflix documentary called Period. End of Sentence. I was moved to tears in the first five minutes. Let me tell you why…
The film talks about women in India who do not have access to sanitary napkins during their monthly menstrual. They are extremely ashamed to even say the word or talk about their periods, and many of them didn’t even know WHY they are bleeding. They said it’s a “dirty blood” and only God knows why it happens.
A few things made me very emotional.
The first thing… They said that, while they are on their periods, they are not allowed to worship in their temples. They believe that they are so unclean, that God will not hear their prayers, no matter how hard they pray. How devastating. :-(
The second thing… They said that when they start bleeding, they will use whatever they can find to maintain it. They showed a muddy field that was full of soiled cloths that they had used to absorb the bleeding. All I could think of is the many infections and sicknesses these women have possibly endured, due to using unsanitary cloths that they find.
The third thing… and perhaps the most heartbreaking thing… Many young girls drop out of school when their periods start, because it’s too difficult and burdensome to maintain it, since they don’t have access to the things they need. Ummmm what?! I'm sorry... A natural part of life should NEVER hinder a girl's education! PERIODT! UGH! That made me mad.
So, let me explain why this film really moved me on a deeper level.
September is PCOS Awareness Month and guess what…. I have PCOS. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It’s a hormonal disorder that has MANY different effects and no known cure. Your hormones are important because they act as messengers throughout the body, coordinating its activities so that each part functions properly. PCOS causes cysts to develop around the ovaries, so the hormones produced in the ovaries don’t flow the way they should. This typically leads to infertility, heavy periods, no periods at all, scalp hair loss, facial hair growth, acne, dark skin patches, severe mood changes, terrible cramps, depression, anxiety and the list goes on. So basically…. It sucks.
For me, PCOS has caused EVERY symptom listed above, except one. And that’s a lack of periods. Not only did I have periods, but it seemed as though my periods would last
F O R E V E R.
I would bleed for months at a time. And don’t even get me started on the cramping. This is one of the primary things that led to my recent surgery.
When I watched this film, all I could think about was…. What if any of them have PCOS like me?! Do you have any idea how much bleeding that is? When I say I’ve bled for months at a time, I am not exaggerating. There are days that I have filled 12-15 pads a day, losing so much blood that I was admitted to the hospital. So putting myself in their shoes, what if I had no pads at all? OMG. *tears*
The great thing about this film is the way these women were empowered when they were taught how to make and sell sanitary napkins in their country. Through the efforts of The Pad Project, they are gaining better access to what they need and becoming entrepreneurs. The Pad Project is also working toward helping women in our country who are homeless or in other situations in which they have limited or no access to pads. The Period shirt I’m wearing from Mindful T-Shirt Co. is in partnership with their initiative. 10% of every T-shirt purchase is generously donated to The Pad Project. Woot woot!
One huge thing the film did for me, was made me want to encourage women not to allow their period to be a shameful part of your life that prevents you from living. Even when “Aunt Flo” comes, you can still go about your day-to-day life. I learned to be better prepared for my monthly friend, so that I wasn’t prevented from my normal doings. I could still go out and have fun, go on dates, WEAR WHITE (yep, I’m that brave and unashamed). Here are a few measures I took to be prepared:
Keeping extra sanitary pads in my glove compartment and in a cute makeup bag in my purse, for easy access and discreet carrying
Keeping a long sleeved shirt or jacket in my car, to wrap around my waist in case I accidentally bled through my clothes
Having a pair of jeans in my trunk for the same reason
Having pain pills near by and a heating pad, in case of bad cramps
Whatever you have to do to be better prepared for your time of the month, do it. But don’t let it stop you from functioning. And if you exhibit signs of PCOS, please talk to your doctor. Even though there is no cure, we have options!
Please do me a favor and check out the Period T-shirt campaign from Mindful T-shirt Co. Together, we can fund amazing projects like this, and do our part to better the women in our society and the world at-large. And if you haven't yet watched the Netflix short film Period. End of Sentence., check it out!
T-shirt from Mindful T-shirt Co
All Outfits styled by Star Campbell
All Photos taken by T. Alan Photography