If you haven’t read part 1 and 2, stop here and go read them! If you have, thanks for coming back! This final installment of this story is the part that impacted me the most. It’s one of the reasons why The Fertility Project has been born in hopes of bringing light to women’s health and ending the controversy of an open conversation.
We left off in the midst of one of my student’s becoming a woman in my classroom with fear and confusion in her eyes. I was there, she had me. She knew that, at that moment, it was okay and she had a plan to put in place once she got home.
The next day, midmorning, I heard my pod door creak open during my reading lesson. Of course, my eyes shot over one of those “I’m in the middle of my lesson” looks and I quickly noticed it was the same girl, with the same scared-out-of-her-mind expression. I quickly gave my students an independent task and rushed over to the back corner of my room. I was so confused because we had such a great conversation the day before, I told her to talk with her mom, I gave her a quick “how-to” lesson. What could be wrong now?
“It happened again”
I tried to bring her back to our sex ed talk a few weeks prior. I reminded her that it could be anywhere from 3- 7 days. I reminded her about using pads, keeping that cute little discretion bag, talking to her mom. Where did I fail her? Then all of a sudden I was forced to realize that it wasn’t me who had failed her.
“I went home and talked to my mom just like you said. I told her that I needed her to take me to the store to go get pads. But, when I told her she just told me I was too young and then she went in her room and cried. I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings.”
My heart shattered into 5,000,000 little pieces.
Her mother wasn’t there for her. She sat there that night alone, confused, scared.
AND FOR WHAT?
I reassured her that there was absolutely nothing wrong with her. It was natural- BEAUTIFUL even. I told her that he mother was wrong for acting that way. I apologized to her for having to go through that. I gave her every single pad I had in my desk for “emergencies”. But what else could I do? Nothing. All I could do was remind her how much I cared about her and that if she ever needed me, I was only a room away.
This student, this story, this heartbreaking moment is the reason we are here today. Sex education, periods, puberty, women’s health should NEVER be something to be ashamed of.
If you or someone you know has been afraid to talk about their period, embarrassed of holding on to menstrual products, ashamed of accidental bleeding. This one is for you. Your body is not controversial. Your period is not controversial. YOU are not controversial.
It’s time to start the conversation. #normalizewomenshealth