That blissful period-free zone of your life when you were pregnant and/or breastfeeding has halted to a close. Your baby started to wean, the schedule changed, or you had to go on a trip. BAM. Your period comes back. But it’s not just a period. Not the period you used to get. This feels like birth again. What just happened to you looks like a crime scene. And oh, how unprepared you are.
You forgot what it was like, for at least 9 months or more. Or, maybe if you’re like me and you didn’t get a period between baby #1 or baby #2 (yes, they are close together) you didn’t have a period for a LONG time… like 2 years! You’ve been distracted by your baby and everything else that comes along with that! That period of time without a period is full of all kinds of other body changes and life changes but at least you didn’t have the period. You mean I have to be a mom and do all the mom things and get all the sicknesses and the sleep deprivation and take care of my kid and deal with periods?!
As if the rollercoaster of challenges and milestones for the first year (or two) of that little ones life are not enough for your mentally strong and easy going mama brain *cough*, just wait until you have to add the unique balancing act of that beloved menstrual cycle into your busy day. You will have so much fun! Your nipples will get sore again and your baby will refuse you. Just when you think breastfeeding is finally going how it should, the period throws another twist into the journey.
After a few cycles your hormones start to level back down and the periods become a little more “normal”. So they’re not always as bad as that first postpartum period, THANKFULLY. But then… you realize something. Unless you have another baby (which you are not ready for at the moment by the way!) you will keep getting these blasted periods every month for possibly 10, 15, 20, maybe even 25 more years. You do your own personal math. You almost faint from the shock. Or maybe the blood loss. Time to get your iron checked, perhaps?
So… you do do the only thing you can do, the thing you’re forced to do. Accept the truth and start figuring out how to live a normal life as a mom with a period. Okay fine, you tell yourself, there are worse things in life! We are not in a part of the world where women are banished to menstrual huts.
Then you remember that having a period means you have to go to the bathroom A LOT to…ya know, take care of yourself down there. You don’t want to have another crime scene like that first postpartum period that one of your kids may inevitably and awkwardly walk in on. So start planning your bathroom trips accordingly, and make sure your bathroom door locks.
Oh yeah, and then there are the dreaded questions from your preschool aged son as you drag him into the women’s bathroom of a shopping center, “is that candy in there mom? Can we get some out?”
You say, “No, it’s not candy.”
Son: “Well what is it?”
You: *blank stare*
But then they find said products under the sink and the two year old starts unwrapping them and sticking them on things in the bathroom. One day you’ll go to the bathroom and find a bunch of empty applicators lying there and you literally have no idea when or how it happened.
You’re just trying to take care of yourself for crying out loud, isn’t there a better way!?
So you get this great idea, you think, I know, I’ll try one of those menstrual cups so I only have to visit the bathroom once a day and all the products, the questions, the time spent in the bathroom will surely lessen and make my perioding mama life easier. So you buy a cup and the wash and give it a go.
Your precious four year old daughter who is very interested in all of your hygiene and make-up products was spending an unusual amount of time in the bathroom one day. The silence in there is alarming, so up you go. You find that she has made her own little concoction of hand soap. She used your menstrual cup wash. Yes, you did just read that right. Now your soap pump has a mixture of menstrual cup wash, regular hand soap, and water in it. After the shock and horror has worn off and you’ve spent an awkwardly long amount of time staring into that daughters innocent and proud but then confused face as she wonders what she did wrong, you decide to do what any practical mother would do: nothing. You don’t tell anyone, especially not your husband, after all, the menstrual cup wash is hypoallergenic and made of all natural ingredients so…it’s totally fine, right? I mean…if you’re going to use it on something that goes, you know, up there, it’s got to be okay on your hands. No harm done.
And the cute little cotton bag that the menstrual cup comes with for storage when you’re not using it? Make sure you put it somewhere up high where your kids can’t see it, or one of them might just decide to use it as a bag to hide his favorite legos in.
So no, there’s no escaping the plight of the perioding mama. No matter how you manage it (whether it’s pads, tampons, cups, cloth pads or period underwear –click here for my thoughts on period underwear), what you take for it, or how easy or bad you have it, it will still be there. You will still have to be the mama you are and deal with the monthly flows. I am there with you, wishing it wasn’t so, but patting you on the back as you realize, just like me, that there is no escape from this part of our lives.
And yet, at the same time, the sweet little faces who call you mom are there because you get those periods. The miracle of birth and mystery of life wouldn’t be the same without those cycles. So, in a way, you become proud of your period and the woman it makes you. All those awkward moments with your kids, the time rushing through your bathroom break to get back to your mischievous children, the money you’ve spent on period products…it’s all worth it in the end. So period on, mama, you’ve got this.
Please share a funny mom/period story in the comments below and share with us your tried and true tricks for period care as a busy mom!