Yes, friends, you read the title of this blog post correctly! We all know I’ve written A LOT of honest and vulnerable things in my day, and, honestly, it’s become one of my favorite things about writing. I feel like I can say so much more on the page (errr, computer screen!) than I ever could say out loud. Well, let’s just say that I’ve said quite a lot with my newest piece for SheKnows on what it’s like to get your period in a wheelchair!
My editor first approached me about writing on this topic a couple months ago, and at first, I wasn’t too sure if I could get 600+ words out of the subject. What on earth could I possibly contribute to the conversation? How would my words even make an impact?
So I started writing, unsure where exactly the words were taking me at first, and then I began to see things take shape. Slowly at first. Before long, I realized why I was writing about my monthly visitor: Because it’s not written about. At least, not from the perspective of women with disabilities and how we deal with all the challenges we face each month.
Here’s an excerpt of the essay, in which I waste NO TIME in getting really, really specific because this conversation is long overdue…
A couple of years ago, my periods became very heavy and very irregular. It wasn’t until then, after having a monthly visitor for some 20 years, it finally hit me: Having your period as a woman with a physical disability presents its own set of unique — and sometimes frustrating — challenges.
So why was I just coming to this realization now, I wondered? For one thing, how women deal with having their period while also living day-to-day with a disability isn’t something that’s openly talked about. Women with disabilities aren’t automatically included in that conversation, but it’s important they are included. Here are three things I wish people knew along with a surprising side effect I never expected…
There’s a whole range of logistics to figure out
Periods are inconvenient, period (pun intended…). They can show up unexpectedly and are just generally uncomfortable, but I’ve found that my disability adds another layer of logistics to the equation. I physically need help with day-to-day tasks, such as bathing, dressing and cooking; my period is no exception. Because I need someone to help me, especially when I have my period, I have to plan activities around my cycle and make sure that if I go out during that time, someone will be with me to help.
You can read the full essay here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo