Being female: Riding the cotton pony
Saturday, 31 August 2013
Sometimes it aint half grim being a woman. Thrust into a world of cramps, mood swings, general lunar psychosis, cervical mucus (seriously, how repulsive is the word mucus....say it fast...say it slow and try not to wrinkle your nose in distaste because it simply sounds frightfully grim either way) and bloody abject misery. Yes, pun indeed intended. Then you have the delight of forking out for products to see you through these grim times seeing as the Red Tent isn't terribly conducive with modern day living and I suspect the impracticality of free-bleeding isn't exactly everyones bag. The majority would appear to swing towards pads and tampons yet on the crunchier side of the fence there are the terribly curious things called moon cups (and their various rival counterparts) which I openly admit to being terribly squeamish about despite having happily used cloth nappies on two of the three spawn (yes, I do realise this is my issue, those that use them swear by them). Then there are the tremendously twee named Fairy Hammocks (i'm sorry but a fanny pad will always be a fanny pad even if they can come in organic bamboo velour hand dyed by arctic sprites under a pink moon) Yet wait for it, I've saved the best till last....I dare you not to be tempted to click on this, The Jam Sponge, if the name alone doesn't have you smirking then I really do fear for you dearest reader seeing as life is essentially not survivable a decent sense of humour is our best ammunition. I may jest yet I am somewhat in awe of the more ecologically responsible methods of dealing with being on the blob, yet despite my minor crunchy tendencies I have yet to cross the line into trying them.
I fully salute those that appreciate and even celebrate their time of the month, go team red! (though I'll be absolutely frank in admitting to be squicked out at the menstrual art corner of the we are bloody woman hear us roar camp) but unfortunately I remain in the absolutely unempowered 'oh ffs....can I hibernate through it?' camp.
One of the benefits of breastfeeding is the increased chance of delayed periods, this time round the painters only turned up a week before The Toddler turned three, obviously due to pregnancy with said toddler I had a terrific nine month break from them prior to this, in fact due to breastfeeding Thing Two from December 2005 until April 2013 i'd had the grand total of one period (two pregnancies and a miscarriage) I don't feel empowered nor celebratory at the time of the month, instead I just feel fat and even more pissed off than usual. Happy days.
As if we don't have enough to deal with as well as menstruation we obviously have pregnancies, boobs of doom and the event that strikes fear into even the greatest of us estrogen warriors....The Smear Test. Tell me you have never ever put one of these off? That you don't hear the bells of doom toll in your head when the letter lands on your doormat. That you've happily spent several years without having someone scrape your cervix and suddenly all you can think of is the big bad mofo called Cancer? If you've had children you'll be well versed in being near fisted by latex glove clad matrons whilst goggle clad juniors gawp, holding an industrial sized spotlight aimed up your foof yet still it doesn't lessen the utter feeling of abject dread that only the smear test can invoke. The fears, that's what it gives you, The Fears I tell you.
I remember my very first, my friend (yes I actually had one, once) told me it's just like uncorking a bottle of wine. Never mind wine, I was craving vodka....intravenously.
Despite the professionalism of the nurse/doctor and the knowledge that when you've seen one fanny you've seen them all, it all dissipates into meaningless drivel because this is your fanny. The breezy small talk as you hear the snap of gloves on hands as you drop your knickers behind a curtain does little to create the illusion that this is a happy gathering. 'I'm ready!' even though you're really not and you wasted 3 minutes wondering how to make that claim without sounding like you're in a carry on film or a phone sex line whilst being totally flummoxed by the disposable paper sheet wondering what to cover most with it, your mummy tummy or your nether regions? then comes the infamous faux-cheerful 'Now just try and relax' Ha! yeah right. As if. Sure, i'll be totally zen whilst you have a rummage down there, do you come here often? Then, after gawping up and sweeping your love tunnel they then leave you in privacy to get dressed again? like it didn't just happen? No cuddle or cigarette? yeesh well talk about feeling used.
Only it doesn't end there. You then spend the next week or two irrecoverably convinced your results will be awful, bad, doomy doom.
However, lets not forget for one moment the sheer and absolute importance of a smear test, seriously, it's not nearly as bad as you fear and it takes 5 minutes if that and it could very well save your life. You should do it for you and if you have children, do it for them too.