WHAT WOMEN WANT
I got up feeling sore about the fact that women have more problems than men. Their problems are twofold. One being societal and the second being physical. I felt it was unfair that women have more than their share of problems.
So I went on a rant in a couple of groups where I felt safe to be vulnerable about my misgivings. I said that women have fought their own battles and there have been slow but steady changes in their condition, especially social, and it will continue to improve.
But when it comes to physical problems we have to face it all by ourselves. Our grandmothers, mothers and now us- we have had no choice but to accept the reality of menstruation, period pains, excessive bleeding, PMS, menopause and so on. I am not even talking about gynaecological problems here. I am only talking about day to day “normal” challenges only women have to face.
So in one of the groups where I was ranting, one gentleman said, “It was insightful to me to know about the natural suffering which now I am willing to understand.”
This made my day! This is it! A little understanding is all we need for us to go through what we have to go through. A kind word here and compassionate gesture there from a man (who we resent for having to deal with hardly anything- truth be told) can go a long way to help us feel stronger and supported.
In my grandmother’s time, women would (be made to) sit separately during their periods (by other women 🙄). For three days no one would touch them nor could they touch anything in the house.
For three days, men would take over the charge of the house and women did not have to do anything except maybe wash their stained clothes. Men would mind the children and even cook!
Had this been done with compassion and respect we would not have fought so vehemently against this practice.
Unfortunately, we were made to feel like untouchables during this time and treated as if we were dirty. For this reason we rebelled and abolished this practice successfully. In short we managed to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
We lost our chance to take rest for three days as the men toiled and also learnt some life skills.
Now we have successfully liberated ourselves from this three day rest period. Yay! So now we can go about our lives, work, home, cooking, children and have the period. We have the cake and get to eat it…….all we needed was a little respect 😓🤦
This women’s day my appeal to all boys and men is this. Please sit down with the woman in your life. Be it your mother, sister, wife, girlfriend, colleague or your daughter and tell her that you want to understand so that you can support.
It’s different for every woman. It begins at around 12-13 years and goes on and on till about 50-55 years.
Sit with her and ask her how she feels about her menstrual cycle. Directly or indirectly depending on the comfort level. If you don’t ask her, it’s likely she won’t tell you. That’s because she has accepted this reality.
Some people may be shocked to hear this because it is still taboo in some parts of our country to talk openly about this, especially the women themselves. They would not want to talk about this to the man no matter how troublesome it is for them. She would rather suffer silently.
Ask her if it is painful, ask if she bleeds too much. Observe if she’s feeling tired and drained out.
See if it’s too painful, could she use a hot water bag? A little back massage? Get her a cup of hot chamomile tea maybe? Or you could get into the kitchen and make a simple breakfast or a meal. Give her a break from household chores.
Don’t call guests for dinner when she is menstruating. Take care of children’s homework and other needs at least for three days.
Most of all just try to understand, because it will be impossible for you to empathize. Don’t even try!
A little support from you will go a long way in giving her the strength to continue doing what she has been doing all these years- all by herself. Maybe, just maybe it will be a little less painful with your help and care.
By Nirupama Rao
Peace to all!
I had a very deep and profound conversation with someone after I posted this article. As a result, I have become aware of a few things which I must mention here
1. I’m aware that every one has challenges and so do men. If the men out there want women to understand something about them, we will try our best. Give us a chance. We may not be able to find solutions but we can try to understand. At the same time, women, let’s not expect men to magically read our thoughts. If we need help, let’s ask for it. We don’t become any lesser for it.
2. There are natural solutions to menstrual issues especially in ayurveda. There is no need to suffer. Take care of your iron and calcium.
3. Men are often the way they are, because of the socio-cultural conditioning. Let us, as parents become aware of the differences in males and females and teach our children to respect and accept these differences. Let’s teach our children to respect everyone without discrimination and lead by example.
I’m sorry, Please forgive me, I thank you, I love you, Let the grace flow, Peace begins with me 🙏 (Ho’oponopono prayer)