Women from every walk of life have learned to manage, accept and embrace their period as part of who they are. Some will tell you a life-changing period story, some will give you tips to handle your period gracefully, some will be candid and share their period struggles with you. Our series, ‘Periods and I’, is an ode to these women and their stories, and this one is all about Adya Roy.
Growing up, Adya was exposed to the different avenues of technology from a distance but in her mind, she believed that technology meant coding and she hated coding. “I ended up doing industrial engineering and supply chain management, with the intention of going into the oil and gas industry or the automotive industry.” Adya ended up going into the automotive industry. “I realized that not much had changed since Henry Ford died in 1947; the job itself has accelerated in terms of technology but when it comes to people’s mindsets in terms of women and people of colour, not much has changed. I was experiencing what my nana would have faced in the 1950’s.” All this compelled Adya to want to work for a company that was more equal in its worldview and that led her to a firm where she works today.
Because of her first-hand experiences and the importance of equity especially in the field of tech, Adya started career-coaching women worldwide to help achieve their dreams; “I have found that when things go downhill, just having one fall back in place can help bring the others back too.”
Given her background, work-from-home was never an option for Adya, and it doesn’t help that she experiences prolonged periods of PMS. To help with PMS, Adya says she relies heavily on essential oils and stick-on heat patches. She also drinks hot water throughout the day to help with the pain, and as an added bonus, “The straw I use serves as a great stress-buster when I chew it!”.
Adya’s first period arrived when she was 10 years old, which meant that she was one of the first in her class to start menstruating. “On my first period, I felt absolutely nothing. I was very surprised at how everything was numb down there, which my mom explained later as a natural function of the human body.”
“One thing that I found to be very interesting is how you inherit fertility patterns from your maternal side but I started experiencing severe cramps and PMS, which is something my mom never faced.” Whenever Adya would ask for notes to get out of P.E., her mother would say “You’re just saying that because other girls have cramps; hamara pareevar mein nahi hota.” But with the right research and the right conversations with her friends and family, her mom was able to empathize and relearn some of her preconceived period notions. These conversations went on to reveal that Adya had, as a matter of fact, inherited her PMS from her aunt on her paternal side! Talking to her aunt and her aunt’s daughter helped her manage her cramps much better.
“Now things have changed with social media and awareness, but back when I first got my period, I felt very alone.” Everything Adya has learned in terms of period management is from social media but in households where this is still a hushed topic, young women do not have the same access to information. Even at the doctor’s, period questions tend to be very pointed and not individualized; “They always ask ‘Is your period regular ?’ and never ‘How is your PMS ?’”. That’s why Adya believes an open forum to ask and discuss all kinds of questions and queries related to periods is key; “A safe space to talk about these things”.
Your cycle is not set in stone and is bound to change as your life changes. A good way to estimate your cycle is to get an app that notes everything. Finally, ask questions! And if you don’t have any, be a channel for someone else who might have questions about their period.
Adya believes that we must look for the science in our menstrual journeys and build a community around our shared experiences. Your period should not be isolating instead, it should be a way for us to relate to one another a little better. When we are in tune with those around us, we can be InSync with ourselves.