Do you know how terrible it feels when you wake up in the middle of the night to experience some involuntary, spasmodic muscle contraction below your belly button? Pain that also radiates to the lower back and thighs, and in fact, sometimes even through the whole pelvic region? Your eyes don’t want to open but your lips murmur “Oh my God!” and your hands go down to see if it is wet down there and then the mind starts calculating the dates.

Yes in my case, I always observe the fleetingness of my actions that include pulling myself from bed, which almost always feels like pulling each and every muscle individually. You tuck them all together and walk towards the closet. Dig in for a black plastic bag hidden in the most unreachable area under a big pile of a lot of unrelated stuff.

Then, to get into the bathroom silently like a mouse so that I don’t disturb anyone else’s sleep because something very shameful, hideous and hush-worthy is happening to me. Nevertheless, I am very sorry since I am in a great deal of pain because of that. I wish I knew of any one thing that I have done that has led to such pain every single month. I swear to God – there is nothing that I would not have done in all my life to prevent all the excruciating pain I have had to hide from the world.

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Now after washing up the whole mess and plugging in a giant tampon inside me, the last thing I want before going back to bed and trying to get some peaceful sleep is to find a deep red blood stain on my precious white linens. That is the moment you hate the most: when you are shown how well your contraceptives have been working this month. Now at three o’clock in the morning, I had to pull the whole bed sheet out and get to washing off the stain when it was still fresh by scrubbing/kneading it out with a bar of Ivory soap. With all the mounting pain in my lower half and not to mention, my spinning head, I also know that this is the only time when it works like magic or else, the stain would just stay there forever and haunt me with reminders of such disgusting bleeding nights. In fact, I was happy to catch those stains red-handed as it were, before it was too late to work on them.

Nevertheless, periods are a curse that doesn’t leave girls for merely feeling bad about them even when it is long gone. My husband sometimes folds my laundry. He has told me oftentimes that he has had to fold my period stained underwear a few times and he thinks it looks gross. He thinks I should throw those pairs of underwear right away, the moment it gets a bloodstain on it. He basically wants to hide the stains from all visible sight.This not only reminds me of those painful nights but also makes me feel embarrassed of bleeding and ashamed of  being a woman.

I am almost certain that all men complain much the same way and that all women have this cumbersome problem to fix. But I think it would be really expensive to replace your underwear every month. I do have some assigned period panties that I repeat during my periods. But I don’t know exactly when I’m going to get my period. And almost every pair eventually makes its way to the blood stained status unfortunately. Also, I don’t know about other people, but I can’t use tampons, and there’s always a chance that the blood will kind of overflow like the pad a bit (though not necessarily because it’s too soaked or anything, but sometimes because it isn’t positioned correctly). This is especially a problem when I sleep, because if I get blood on my undies right after I go to sleep, then it’ll be dry by the time I wake up and discover it. It really sucks, but I tell myself, hey, no one’s going to see you in your underwear anyways, so there’s no point in throwing out a perfectly serviceable pair of undies, and most of the time if you soak and scrub them in cold water, most of the stain comes out. Also, I buy a lot of dark colored underwear so the stains remain pretty much unnoticeable. Obviously, I treat the stain with all the possible solutions available and as long as they’ve been washed well, they’re still perfectly usable. For scientific reference of their cleanliness and hygiene here is the reference: Most of us are not millionaires, and we don’t like to waste. So, isn’t it more practical to wear the same, already-stained panties instead of ruining new ones? In fact, I like to see that rusty looking shadow of a stain that is all mine.

We should expect all men to be able to handle a few stains from something that they don’t have to actually deal with every month. In fact, all husbands should actually feel bad when their wives’ favorite pairs get stained. I want to just tell them, it’s a stain, not the plague!

Ironically, it’s not just men who hate stained panties but we have many women in our society too, who feel the same disgust. I remember during one of my vacations to my aunt’s place when my pants were picked out not to be washed by their laundry person because my aunt found some bloodstains on them. My mom and my aunt reprimanded me for not cleaning them properly. I felt there was nothing more humiliating than washing my stains in the middle of day at the age of fifteen. But I totally don’t understand why husbands get so grossed out by periods or any vaginal discharge for that matter. They clearly have no idea what’s coming out along with their babies.


Author: Garima Kushwaha

Garima is a Bioinformatics scientist at Roche Inc. Her research focuses HIV diagnosis. Apart from doing scientific research, she loves to read, write and spend her time at the gym. She blogs here.

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