I sat down on cold porcelain and sighed in annoyance at what I saw before me. Shoot. I didn’t even feel it come on. Was it already that time, again? I carefully folded up toilet paper in annoyance and hoped it would do a sufficient job until I could scramble towards a “feminine aisle”, somewhere and anywhere.
Buying a cotton and cardboard menagerie monthly was exhausting, and expensive. I had bills to take care of, now this? I was sick of the cramps; the migraines; the panic that flooded my pants– making my head mental at the thought of “what if I leak through?” I hated feeling like a walking whale, bloated with little control of my bodily reactions and appearance. I hated giving blowjobs for a week straight while I received nothing in return. It just didn’t seem fair. I had had enough.
The injustices added up to be too much, or so I thought at the ripe age of 20. I’d heard of the wondrous IUD through friends who spoke of its wonder. Most of the friends I spoke with raved of having no periods, or if they did it’d only be a day or so of light bleeding. They could have sex at any time (and without condoms*, at that!) and never bloated or wrenched over in pain. It was covered by their insurance, and seemed an extraordinary gift to the uterus. Plus, I could save about seven dollars a month not buying tampons. Extra money for … well, whatever I wanted in the newfound freedom of not being trapped within my inherent femininity.
In May of 2010, I joined the club. I entered a brief surgery and had that triangular, thin piece of plastic placed in my uterus. Welcome to freedom, I thought.
I love my IUD; I do. I love the convenience, the freedom it really has granted me. Yet a part of me, unexpected and abashedly, misses having my period. I know, I know. I must be crazy.
I can’t explain it really – try as I may here, there aren’t words to express the emptiness that encompasses and accompanies the one week each month where I know I’m missing a natural part of myself. I miss being able to relent with my girlfriends about the horrors occurring in our under garments; I miss scaring males with tales they didn’t wish to ever hear; I miss the slight embarrassment yet subtle pride when paying for tampons in the presence of a horrified male cashier; I miss the pain that, even when light, no one knew but me—I could still exaggerate the general existence of minor cramps and spend a day watching trashy (or great!) reality TV marathons while gorging on chocolate ice cream and Puffy Cheetos. I miss the relief of knowing I wasn’t pregnant (though that relief was always fleeting if I was watching an “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant” marathon). I even miss the bloating—I always enjoyed wearing yoga pants for an entire week and relished the swelling in my breasts. Comfy, still semi-fashionable, and my goodies looked fresh. Win, semi-win, and win. It was like a good monthly girl talk I could count on.
The days of menstrau-cities (catch my pun?) have long been feared among womankind. But, after knowing its absence (not due to menopause) periods need to be celebrated. It is a time, a thing, which is truly ours, and one else’s. It belongs to us, and only us. It is with us for the majority of our lives, and then one day, we will lose it. It is an ever-present friend, that we are too harsh and quick to judge. It is our own– so special, and rare in a world where everything is shared and few things are entirely personal and Without my period, I feel far less free—and far less easily reminded of what makes me a female. I miss that monthly reminder of what and who I am. Most of all I miss the pride I never took in it. I regret my
prior attitude. If I could do it all again, I would appreciate my monthly gift, my monthly visit from Aunt Flo. Albeit my incessant annoyance with her in my younger youth, Aunt Flo really was pretty cool.
My IUD is fast approaching its removal date. Though I have enjoyed its presence in my body, I am looking forward to the return of what makes me unique. My period will be forever appreciated in a singular way, the way it ought to be. Each month will have an almost spiritual meaning. For I am a woman, and I will continue to bleed true to that.
*Disclaimer – The IUD is the most effective form of birth control (besides abstinence) and doctors find it reliable despite not using condoms, though one should still practice using condoms to prevent the spread of disease.