Hi. Things are about to get real intimate between us. You may say to yourself while reading this. “Toni, why? Why are you doing this to me? Why are you making me read this?” And my only answer is because I had to. I had to do this to you.
In the 3 years since birthing a child, the only time I don’t have an audience when going to the bathroom is when The Munch is asleep. It is hard to remember a life when I didn’t have big blue eyes staring at me intently as feces expelled from my being. As an infant The Munch would lie on my lap, as baby she would sit on the floor, and now as a toddler she will barge in and insist on having a conversation.
But I don’t want my child to have a complex about her body, or body parts, or excreting bodily needs. I am not an uptight person. When I was a kid my best friend and I would keep each other company for every bowel movement. If things got really wild, she would put lotion under our noses giving us little white Hitler mustaches to help mask the stench. Granted we were then inhaling the scent of gardenia-scented poo, my point is that I accustomed to communal bathroom habits.
Yet even though I poop with the best of them, I have always been pretty private about my period. As a woman you are expected to keep it to yourself. You would never show a friend your tampon and say “check how full that one got!” or “look at this massive clot! It’s a good thing that wasn’t in my brain!” We just don’t do that.
So the other day when I was in the bathroom changing my pad and The Munch walked…
Munch: Mamma what are you doing?
Toni: I am just going to the bathroom. Give me a minute I will be right out!
Munch: What is that?
Toni: Its nothing. Just give me a second!
Munch: But Mamma what is that?
Now I could have just lied to her, or told her to go away. But part of me was like “fuck it.” For one, maybe if I just told her the truth she would be so freaked out that she would leave me the fuck alone when I was in the bathroom. And another part of me was thinking that she is going to go through this anyway, so why hid it from her.
I don’t want my daughter to feel embarrassed about her moon cycle. Especially considering that girls all over the world are forced to feel ashamed for their menstruation. For instance in India many girls don’t have access to sanitary products – so the start of their period it is often the end of their education because of humiliation and societal limitations imposed when they are “impure” and involuntarily bleeding. Many cultures have taboos regarding the vagina and its monthly menses, which imprison women by their biology. And even though in the West, Tampax commercials will happily remind you that you can still play tennis, go on boat rides, and walk in a field with their tampons to plug up your poon, it is still something that women feel they have to hide from the world.
Yet the insanity is the fact that a woman’s need to ride the cotton pony is part of the whole her having babies thing- so what the fuck world? I know it is kind of yuck, but it is also why we are all here. I am not saying chicks should just bleed all over the place because that would ruin our clothes and couches, but I am saying that it is a real injustice to be made to feel like its dirty.
So this is what went down…
Toni: It’s my pad Munch.
Munch: Is that a diaper?
Toni: Yup. Kind of like a diaper.
Munch: A Mamma diaper?
Munch: But what’s that? What’s on your diapi?
Munch: But where did it come from? Your butt?
Toni: Sort of. It came from my baby hole.
Munch: Are you getting a new diapi to put in your underpants?
Toni: I am.
Munch: But don’t bleed on that one okay?
Toni: I will do my best.