This blog was originally published by Focus on Health and Wellbeing online magazine on 20/05/21
Can you recall the scene from Bridget Jones, The Edge of Reason when she was thrown into a Thai women’s jail? The sense of camaraderie that Bridget shares with her fellow inmates, for me, tells a story of the strength of sisterhood and why it is good for the soul.
Whilst we may not all go crazy for super-bra’s and copies of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus these days, (I still have a copy but no longer own a super-bra) the sense of support (no pun intended) and belonging we gain when we find ourselves in a group of like-minded females, can bring a sense of connectedness and wellbeing that we just wouldn’t be able to find alone or in a room full of men! Don’t get me wrong, I love men! But we are just wired differently aren’t we? We can see skirting boards and dust for a start, not to mention being able to plan and cook the tea, book the dentist, take the dog for a walk and hold down a full time job whilst also finding time for a bit of yoga and a quick trip to Aldi to keep the fridge topped up!
However supportive our husbands/partners/other halves are, you can’t beat a good moan about why he always leaves his pants on the floor (or folds them in Marc Darcy’s case) and the fact that he can’t plan past the end of his nose and you have to remind him when his mum’s birthday is! All this we find soothing and cathartic to discuss with our female friends, a sense of not being alone in our frustrations re the opposite sex…but what about when it comes to our menstrual health?
Are we as keen to chat about the length of our cycles, our cramps, headaches and pre-menstrual rage? I founded my organisation, My MindFlow, to raise awareness of the link between our mental health and our menstrual health. As part of this, I host a private conversation group on my Facebook page to discuss all things menstrual health. My experience, is that even in the UK, we still struggle to open up about our menstrual health. If I put a post on my group encouraging discussion around mental health, the messages flow freely but when the topic is menstrual health related, it’s a different story. And yet, people tell me that this is a discussion that needs to happen, that it’s an under-resourced and poorly understood topic. So why are we being shy to tap into the most valuable form of sisterhood there is? Is it Stigma? Is it self-consciousness? Or worse still is it shame? We NEED to talk about what our bodies do naturally, in the supportive framework of sisterhood. What could be a better thing to discuss as women?
Yes, menstruation can be messy, yes, it can be uncomfortable and yes, it can feel like an inconvenience in our westernised day to day lives…but it can also be empowering, fascinating and life changing, not to mention life giving! Let’s end the stigma and be the change we want to see in the world, so that our future sisterhoods can thrive.