The Awkward

I woke up this morning about 6 am – 45 minutes before my alarm was going to go off, with the sense that there might be a problem.

My body, as I approach peri-menopause (yes, I am young. We go young in my family) is changing. My periods are changing. It fills me with glee.

I had a ‘slight’ leakage problem, all over the white sheets of the hotel bed. I am sure that I am not the first person this has happened to, and I know, full well, having worked as a chamber maid one particularly horrific summer in university, that this is nowhere near the worst thing you can do to a hotel bed. They will bleach the sheets, like they always do, and it will be fine.

I was mortified all the same.

It’s that mortification that I’m thinking about. I am normally a fairly blunt, matter of fact person. I taught sex ed to teenage boys. I am the person you call when you have been exposed to an STI, and I’m not going to blush or flounder, I’m going to tell you it’s ok, and that you need to get tested, and I’ll tell you what signs and symptoms to look for. I won’t be embarrassed, I won’t think you are dirty or sinful or evil. STI’s are the common cold of being sexually active, and if you practiced safer sex, you did what you could and you are likely fine.

I have to go and see my doctor and talk about this, figure out what I can do about the bleeding, but that note I had to write. I stripped the bed for housekeeping, thinking it was the least I could do, but I had to write a note and at least explain, if not apologize, and that was hard.

It’s a funny thing. It’s a perfectly normal bodily function. Like I said, people do way more disgusting things in hotel rooms, and they don’t clean up after themselves, I assure you. I struggled with the whole situation, mortified.

I am a 36 year old woman, I have had a period since I was 12. That’s 24 years, as near as makes no difference to a quarter century, and I was utterly humiliated and furious with myself. I’m old enough that this shouldn’t be happening to me. I’m old enough to know better, I should plan better.

I can blame my upbringing, that you don’t bring these things up in front of men, ever, but that’s not quite fair. I don’t think anyone meant for this mortification to happen.

Really, the only point to this post is this – it feels like I should be able to be more matter of fact and less humiliated about something that millions and billions of women experience as part of having a normal, healthy body.

This entry was posted in Feminism. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Awkward

  1. a says:

    You are not alone…

    I think it’s because any kind of bodily fluid from the southward direction is supposed to be contained and private.

  2. loribeth says:

    Definitely not alone. :p I sat on a newspaper, driving through Nova Scotia, because I was having a particularly heavy period & I did not want to risk staining the seats of the lovely rental car we were driving. :p (Nothing happened — but of course it probably would have if I hadn’t taken precautions, right?)

  3. Mali says:

    The last few years (before my very necessary hysterectomy this year) this happened to me repeatedly, most mortifyingly at a board meeting. I only belatedly found out (from friends) that this seems to be quite common when we’re in peri-menopause. I wished it was something we could talk about openly, but we don’t seem to be able to, even amongst that 50% of the population who actually understand this. I feel your frustration.

  4. Kinsey says:

    I’ve been in this exact situation and it was mortifying! You’re right, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, yet we are. I actually have “period sheets” that I use on our bed at home because I have leakage issues so frequently. It’s comforting for me to find another woman close in age to me that is starting to notice changes in her period, because most my age think I’m making it up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *