Thank you, Morgan for the chance to share some thoughts on Periods from a male POV. I am honored to join this conversation with you but honestly am more comfortable talking about periods as they relate to sentence structures or even those periods of the day when I go for a run and tune the world out. Period-talk for me is something I spent half my life ignoring and minimizing but even though I still don’t talk about it much, I am increasingly awed by the beauty, strength and sometimes challenges women convey as they manage their body cycles.
To provide some background, my mom was 19 when the pill first came out in 1960 and mass produced for millions of women across the country. Growing up as a child of the ‘60s, I remember seeing mom’s birth control pills tucked in a kitchen cabinet. I never told her at the time but I thought they looked so cool in their round plastic cover resembling the dial of a vintage rotary phone.
Mom told me her male doctor prescribed the pill for her and she took it regularly, although never talked about it with her closest friends, family and definitely not her mother. My grandmother’s generation maintained an entirely different mindset on Period talk or anything even remotely related to pregnancies, and handled their female issues on their own with their doctor. My grandmother and each of her two sisters were among hundreds of thousands of women in the late ‘40s and ‘50s who had hysterectomies to eliminate “female problems” they were having at the time, which was code-talk for issues with their Periods.
So much changed for me after marrying and talking with my wife about her Period and seeing how well she handled it even during some months when there was severe cramping and bloating. She did it all despite working and experiencing all of the same life demands I had. That admiration grew as I saw my wife coaching and cheerleading our daughter as she navigated questions and issues over her Period. It seems like cycle management is something that can connect women generationally on a level men cannot relate to.
Even though Period-talk was something I never discussed with my mom and still don’t bring up widely with other men, I am excited about how the taboos and misunderstandings and even jokes men tell are decreasing through education and outreach such as Connect’s Period Empower Packs (PEP). One step at a time, my respect and admiration has grown for women and their cycle care.