It is almost that time of the month when Hubbster retreats to the safety of man-cave, lest he become the victim of a hormonal mood swing, or worse, an unexplained flood of tears.
It is funny how your attitude to this bodily function can change over the years, isn’t it?
These days having completed my family, it is little more than a nuisance with the associated aches and pains thrown in for good measure.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding gave my body a much rejoiced break from menstruation, and endometriosis.
For a time, which felt like a gut-wrenching eternity, the arrival of my period signalled the fact that Hubbster and I had failed to conceive the child that we so desperately hoped for. Each month the crescendo of hope crashed against the shores of heartbreak, and miscarriage, eroding my self esteem and dreams of starting a family. I felt ashamed and alone.
Days between periods were counted down meticulously, contraceptive pills were popped, and a period that came even a day late elicited much panic. The arrival of periods were cause of mini-celebrations. Yay – I’m not pregnant!
The starting of a period signalled entry into womanhood, a sign that your body was maturing, was fertile.
At school it was almost a badge of honour to carry your pads in your bag, and those that hadn’t yet had theirs worried why not.
It was the perfect excuse to escape a boring maths lesson under the pretence of having to go to the school nurse to get a Panadol for period pain. Trust me, no male teacher ever questioned that line!
But besides taking a note into the P.E teacher to say you wouldn’t be taking part in the swimming lesson that day, it was business as usual.
This morning a parcel landed on my doorstep. Even as I approach my 3rd blog birthday, I still get excited when random unexpected boxes get delivered to me. With Foghorn and Bubble peering eagerly over my shoulder I tore off the brown paper packaging and opened the lid on the black gift box.
I took out the letter and read it eager to make sense of this strange ‘gift.’
It is almost unthinkable that women and girls living in this day and age don’t have access to simple sanitary items. While our menstruating teens surf the net on their smartphones, and tablets, chatting on social media sites, attending school and visiting shopping malls, school girls in Uganda, turn to homemade ‘pads’ made from items such as newspaper, leaves, banana fibres and old clothing. Not only are these methods uncomfortable, and inefficiently absorbent, they often result in infection, and periods are often accompanied by embarrassment and shame.
Menstruation has a direct and negative effect on the education of girls in Uganda with 1 in 10 African school girls missing school during menstruation, or cease attendance permanently due to the lack of access to effective sanitary products. Poor menstrual hygiene management amongst school girls also results in 4 or 5 absences each month, making up 20% of the school year, and profoundly impacting on the academic potential of these girls.
Moxie in partnership with Ugandan based social organisation AFRIpads have launched the ‘One for the Girls’ initiative. Over the next six months, for every pack of Moxie Slender Pads, Moxie Slender Liners and Moxie Sleepovers sold, Moxie will provide the equivalent amount of washable and reusable pads and education to Ugandan school girls so that they can continue their schooling uninterrupted, and gain the education they deserve.
The reusable ‘Deluxe Menstrual Kits’ will last each young woman up to a year, and are handmade locally in Uganda by a team of over 50 women, which in turn allows these women to generate an income and to send their children to school.
You can follow their progress on the Moxie Facebook page.
Go on…buy ‘One for the Girls’ this month!