Butterfly Cauldron

Sunday, July 16, 2006

To bleed or not to bleed -- is that really the question?

Times like this, I feel like a Bad Feminist (tm). There's a convo going on at Alas, a Blog about the "new" pill that allows a woman to skip her period. And lots of people are talking about how periods are stigmitized and women are Othered by society for having them. And those are all good points and I agree those are things that should be discussed.

But I just don't want my period. I don't. I don't love it, I don't need it, I don't feel any attachment to it. Give me a pill to make it stop and I'm a happy girl. Seriously. It's just blood. It doesn't mean anything more to me than a cut on my finger does. I have no plans to ever have children, so that basic function isn't even something I really need.

I object to people, particularly other women, trying to guilt me into loving my period. I just don't love it. I don't. It's not in me, okay? I don't think about it too much, because my periods themselves aren't really big events. I'm one of those lucky women who are very regular, so I'm rarely surprised by it. It's always the same length, always about the same amount of blood. Which, for me, isn't much. I'm really lucky. I don't have to change pads but once a day. So, really, for me it's kind of a non-event. There are five days a month when I can't wear white. Big deal. Whoo hoo. Where's the party?

No one has ever tried to make me feel guilty or ashamed because of my period. At least, not since I got past puberty. Sure, at that age people were weird about it. But frankly, kids at that age are weird about everything. No one has ever tried to make me not do things because I've got my period. There are things I don't like to do on my period -- not wild about swimming -- but really? It's a non-issue. There are exceptions. Sometimes I get really bad ones and have to double up my pain meds. And I've had a few instances where the pain was so bad I stayed home from work. But that's maybe once or twice a year. On the whole, eh. I don't really care so much. And if I don't care so much, and it doesn't matter to me, why should I be compelled to experience it?

Again, it's one of those "My body, my choice" issues to me. I don't get why this is even an issue. (Now, I understand why the marketing of the pill is an issue. But that's not the same issue and yet, it all gets dumped together.)

While my period is no problem, I do have a problem with PMS. Let me state this really clearly -- I have a problem with PMS. Which makes me feel kinda bad, since in most parts I agree with Happy's take on it.

For more women, PMS isn't a big problem. For me? Yeah. It is. Actually, my doctors say I'm borderline PMDD which is bad, bad, bad. So, I'm the exception to the PMS isn't a huge deal rule. Which makes me not want to talk about it too much, since I don't want my experiences to be thrown up against women in general.

For me, the two weeks before my period are generally very rough. It varies from month to month, but usually I start to get really, really angry. I mean irrationally angry. I got pissed off once because I had to pay for my gas before I could pump it. I was just furious and why? My rational mind knows it's no big deal. But I was just...it was crazy. I've gotten so pissed off at people I wouldn't speak to them for weeks. For no real reason, except that my brain chemistry was Fucked. Up.

So, explain to me please, why I (and people around me!) have to endure that trauma when there's a pill that could put an end to it all? Since my PMS/PMDD is brought about my changing hormone levels and the BC pill can stablize/regulate/suppress that shifting, why shouldn't I take it?

If I can have a better life through pharmacology, why shouldn't I?

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posted by Zan at 10:07 AM


There are some people who believe that women are not meant to have so many periods, anyway. We haven't evolved much since hunter/gatherer days, and in those days we lived very differently. Girls matured later, because of nutrition, and once they had their first period, they were married and almost at once had a child. Then, they demand nursed the baby for about four years, which for most of them suppressed their periods and acted as a contraceptive. Then, as they weaned the child, they were pregnant again. Some hunter/gatherer women who were studied in the 20th century had one period their entire life. Which may explain how the species has managed to survive when so many women have so many problems with periods. Until very recently, most women just didn't have many of them.

So, what possible harm could be done by taking a pill to return us to that state without making us be either pregnant or nursing our entire lives?

2:38 AM  

Uhm, I am so fucking with you there! I can't get behind the whole "IT'S NOT NATURAL" thing. My period is annoying. It gets in the way. I do not enjoy blood gushing out from between my legs. It's messy, it's gross, it smells funny, and sometimes it gets in the way of me getting laid (and that is totally inexcusable!).

I'm like you in that my PMS is awful, but instead of being really irritable, I mostly get very depressed. I feel like my entire world is going to crumble and like there's no point in living and I just wanna die. I have no motivation, I can barely get myself out to bed... it's awful. I'd be happy if I never had to go through that again...

4:02 AM  

All the research I've seen suggests that missing periods isn't really harmful. Now, I can understand if you're sexually active and you want the assurance of not being pregnant. Even though, having a period doesn't mean you're not pregnant. My mother found that out the hard way. (And thus, I fear it will happen to me one day. Gah.)

I just don't understand the love affair with the period. I'm pretty damn woman-identified and I just....it's just blood, ya know? I'd feel better if I didn't have it and so...why not?

Although, I finally got some medication that seems to be working on the PMS!. Whoohoo. And it wasn't given to me for the PMS, it's just a lucky side effect. Two months now with none of the emotional symptoms. I'm hoping this holds up. I can deal with the insane cravings for ice cream and steak, but the wanting to kill people? Eh. Not so good.

8:03 AM  

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