As children, we are often taught that some things no matter how normal or natural, should not be spoken about. Especially when it comes to periods. Some of us grow up in families where no matter how close we are to our fathers or brothers, the topic of periods is always ignored. As a teenager, I often had to rely on my friends to buy me pads since due to my irregular periods, I didn’t always have them in stock.
I don’t entirely blame anyone for it. The truth is, like my father and my brother, probably many men were never made part of the whole period conversation. They were always kept in either utter darkness or were left to figure things out for themselves, especially at a time when they were trying to discover their own body’s process. That can be a lot to take in. Due to this when the boys grow up to be men, they shy away from conversations without realising that they can play a vivid role in those phases of a woman’s life.
In our attempt to spark the conversation, we spoke to the men of our community. While some stories were already familiar, some stories made us realise that men want to be a part of the conversation as much as we want them to be!
Find out what they told us, below:
Mohonish Mullick – “I have been living with my girlfriend for 5 years now and I buy sanitary napkins for her. I try to be more careful during those 4-5 days because she has PCOS and endometriosis, so it’s important that I be there for her.
I think everyone should talk about periods.
It’s not right that women have to be ashamed of it or hide their pads or tampons in their purse, every time they need to go to the washroom. It is a natural process and it doesn’t need to be hidden. “
Anurag Pandey – “I try to keep things as normal as possible for my wife when she is going through her periods. She might be a little extra sensitive, or might just have a temper more than normal, but that is how it is.
I do get concerned about her pain but I try to give her the space she needs.
I feel it is important that more people talk about periods. Only then will we understand the associated problems and be able to spread awareness about it.”
Sharat Venugopal – “I knew little about it when I was growing up. I think I actually started talking about it when I joined Nua where I interacted with my colleagues.
I came to know about it through the course of discussion and it also encouraged me to have some more serious conversations with my mother and my friends.
I never knew the extent of menstrual cramps before these conversations, but now that I know, I feel there needs to be more talk around it.”
Ashutosh Jha – “I was in 8th standard when I first heard about and honestly, I didn’t understand much of it.
Although I didn’t react much I got it that it is a normal process and a gradual one.
It was after 10th standard when I discussed it with a friend. She told me she was ‘down’ and I had heard that from her for the first time. She did explain her situation to me and although I couldn’t be empathetic – because I was not going through what she experienced – I tried to understand her. People should talk about periods and this whole black carry bag to cover up a pack of sanitary pads should be avoided.”
Abhishek Ramanathan – “I was also a curious child; I always asked questions and my mother made sure I always had an answer.
My mother always ensured that the boys and the girls in the family were treated equally.
She taught me about periods when I was young and she made it normal around the house through open, informed discussions. I am trying to do the same with my children. I firmly believe that this is an issue that should be discussed openly. My wife and I are trying to educate our children through proper language and I believe if you are discussing periods, it should happen at a very early age.”
Afaan Arshad – “I come from an all boys’ school and in the 8th or 9th standard, kids generally begin to talk about all kinds of crass stuff without knowing much about them. It is through such discussions with my friends in school that I found out about periods for the first time. Later, I began to find out more about it from my girlfriend.
I understand little but I am aware of what it is, and because of that I try to be as adjusting as possible.
I generally never had a regressive mindset and my sensitivity towards the subject grew when I started living with my girlfriend. I try to be a little more accommodative during her PMS. I consider myself to be a forward thinking libertarian and believe there needs to be more talk around stigmatized subjects such as periods.”
Bhasyajit Mukherjee – “I heard the term for the first time in Biology class and it sounded so painful.
Although the process is beautiful in its own way, the first impression of it made me realise what it actually is.
I never spoke to my family members about it but I always tried to be there for my sister. She used to have back pain and I made hot water bags. The pain was there but I tried to make her feel comfortable. I definitely don’t see a conversation about periods happening randomly but there needs to be an increase in awareness to reduce the stigma around it.”
Do you think more people should talk about periods? Are you someone who came to know about periods from your mother, sister or friends? At Nua, we are constantly trying to create dialogue around periods and normalise the talk. Tell us about your experience in the comment section below and if the voices resonate with you, share the article with your friends and family.