Girls all over the world struggle to manage their period. Women Deliver Young Leader Annah Sango talks about the challenges she faced when she hit puberty:
Society doesn’t readily acknowledge the support needed by women and girls to manage the mental, emotional and physical aspect of menstruation. We never get a lesson in the way your hormones burst into different dimensions, the cravings or irate feelings you may experience.
During my period, it is daunting to think about going to work, as I imagine everything that could go wrong, from the uncomfortable feeling that I may have leaked, constantly checking my clothes whenever I stand up, to having to use a bathroom where water may not be available. Sometimes the pain is unbearable, but the truth is not everyone understands what we go through. Women themselves don’t understand.
Sexual reproductive health is an important aspect of a girl’s life, and without relevant knowledge, most girls succumb to unreliable information, myths and misconceptions. As a mentor, I always aim to assist young girls in addressing some of these challenges.
Timely and correct information helps girls prepare for menstruation and helps answer questions they may have. With the correct information, we can manage our periods in safer ways that not only ensure good health and hygiene, but also make us feel confident and in control of our bodies. Girls’ Clubs are important meeting spaces to openly share our experiences and highlight possible solutions to challenges.
Some feel they haven’t been validated as a woman if they haven’t had their period. When I was 12 years old, I remember my friends asking me why I didn’t have a boyfriend yet and they concluded it was because my period had not come yet. Eventually my period arrived, three years later when I turned 15 years old. I felt excited that boys would finally notice me. When I look back at it now, I feel very silly, but when I was younger I felt like an outcast, like I didn’t fit in with everyone. Remember, it is completely normal to be a late bloomer.
My advice to young girls managing their periods would be to seek information in the right places, while avoiding myths and misconceptions. Menstruation is a part of nature, we need to learn to love our bodies and respect the changes that happen.
Let us take control of our bodies and be proud and confident of our feminism.
Hear Annah talk about what it means to her to manage her period and help other girls:
Annah Sango, a Women Deliver Young Leader from Zimbabwe, is currently studying Community Development and aspires to empower youth in remote, inaccessible regions of Zimbabwe to improve their lives and communities. She is also a motivational speaker and life coach, focusing her talks on the importance of young people maintaining their health and wellbeing as well as the need for young people to know about their sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV/AIDS.