This is a winning entry of our writing contest on “Periods and Technology” by Sandy

My trust around menstruation started surprisingly only recently during an emergency family trip back to my wife’s place. Due to a sudden illness of my wife’s parent, we had to hurriedly travel 50 kms by car to their place just after sunset. On the way, lo and behold ‘aunt flow’ arrived. My wife
had forgotten to pack her pads (the tension of the last few days probably led her to forget that her period was due). Due to this being a deserted piece of highway road, we had to travel quite a bit to find a general store/pharmacy open so late. This was followed by the hassle of finding a decent changing room (eventually the back part of our car proved more useful).

On returning home a few days later, one fine day it got me thinking: is there anything that I could have done differently about this secretive women’s issue? A little googling later, I think I knew the answer. It starts by not treating it as a women’s issue, but by talking about it as openly as possible. I realised that there was also the power of technology to consider. I got my wife to install a period app to help her remember when her next cycle was due. Out of curiosity, I installed this on my device as
well, syncing it to her period timetable. This proved to be the turning point. The app was designed in such a way that every day it would tell the person what changes could be expected in the body, to predict moods, provide suggestions from juices to libidos, from ever changing body hormones to
acne and more. While every woman and indeed every period is different, many a time I can now understand the moods of my partner (due to the app), leading me to become a better man.
Women’s bodies are much more than the physical, and this app helped me understand the dynamic inside my partner’s body each day and with every cycle. For instance, our fridge is now stocked with all her craving requirements whenever needed. This spurred in me the desire to research more and today I know what periods are, and more importantly, that this is a wonderful yet intriguing and fascinating creation of nature.

I now even regularly send suggestions to the app developer for its improvement based on feedback from my partner to help other women get better experiences. I regularly follow period education
websites like Menstrupedia to broaden my understanding both medically and socially. Today, I send out regular WhatsApp information to my male friends. Initially it was difficult to convince them; however, slowly some of them have started to understand that this is not about periods as much as
it is about having conversations about it. Hopefully one day, we as a society will accept menstruation as something natural, normal and beautiful that should be included in family conservations.

We must understand that technology is only an enabler, and that it alone cannot change our mindset. From fitness trackers to advances in medical understanding of how periods function to advances in medicines and to ever improving pad technology, I am convinced that while every field
has seen its fair share of advances, how evolved are our mindsets to be truly open about periods?

Many questions are of concern, such as, would we ever ask our children to research periods on the internet? While tracking my partner’s period seems natural, would it not be eerie (maybe even
sadistic) if we tracked others’ cycles (I mean all mothers track their daughter’s cycle initially but imagine if a father were to do it!). We need to be subtle yet firm in period talk. I find it astoundingly hard to believe all the myths that surround periods to this day.

I visualise a time in the future where we will find pads at checkout counters, where we will happily celebrate the first period as happily as celebrating 18 years into adulthood. Most importantly, I hope
for a day where technology will make a discernible change in the lives of our future daughters, where no stigma lurks around and where lingerie will have cheap technology that can self-adsorb,
thus eliminating the cumbersome requirements for pads. This will go a long way in eliminating period poverty and bring more girls to schools, playgrounds and so on.

To all the girls and women reading this, do install a period app and see how you begin to appreciate yourself more. Added bonus: no hassles of forgetting your periods!

The solution is to be open and talk more often. Employment of digital media can go a long way in first enlightening the masses on the subject and while the way is long and arduous, the work has well begun.

The intersection of periods and technology will surely impact young girls positively as they start out on their puberty journey.

Author: Sandy

Edited by: Divya Rosaline