CHENNAI : Warning: this column is about the menstrual cycle. Readers who might find this inappropriate, gross or shocking should go and read about the weather instead. You know what the best thing about being pregnant was? Sure being waited on hand and foot, getting to eat the last besan laddoo and having a legitimate excuse to wear clown pants is brilliant. But for me, the best thing was that your periods bid you goodbye for those nine-odd months and then for anywhere between six to nine months post-baby, or for as long as you breastfeed your child. I know in the grand scheme of having to grow an extra organ, morning sickness and housing a small watermelon in your body, celebrating not having a period seems like a small thing. But hey!
So imagine my dismay when in the middle of night feeds, banshee-like crying (mine and baby’s), and wondering if you will ever sleep again, your old friend comes visiting. The unfairness of it all. The injustice. The confusion! Have I turned into a crazy person because I haven’t slept in six months or because of my period? Do I feel like crying because my baby won’t smile at me but smiles at the postman or because of my period? Am I tired, angry, irrational and mean because I’m a new parent or because I have my period?
You’d think that parenting with PMS would get easier as the years go by. But no. Because your period and the extraneous things you feel, think and do when you have them don’t seem to stay the same. At least not for me. Gone are the lower back pain and cramps! Now I’m the fortunate recipient of full-blown mood swings, exhaustion, crying jags and that’s just in the week-long run-up to getting my period.
Then there’s my period itself and the week after where I need to do damage control for having called my husband and children names and possibly thrown things around. We now have an end-to-end three-week-long production with emotions, drama, pain, suffering and a somewhat happy ending. It would make an excellent Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. As my children grow up, I look for words to describe what it is that’s happening to their usually not-so-reasonable but fairly sane mother every month. They understand the menstrual cycle, and to an extent the physical tiredness.
But how do I begin to explain the hormones side of it when I don’t understand it myself? Plus, if all they see and understand is that Amma gets angry on her period, they might grow up to be those men who respond with ‘Are you on your period?’ every time a woman is angry, upset or passionate about a cause. Or worse, think that changing my Netflix profile pic to an orangutan will improve my mood. That didn’t go down so well did it, dear?Till I figure out the right words to use, I will keep my mouth busy with a jar of Nutella and salted caramel spread. Oh boys, so funny, you thought they were for you? Hahaha! See, at least I still have my sense of humour intact.