Monday, December 7, 2009

Jesus, Yogi Tea, Midol & Always Infinity

We live in a culture where a woman's menstrual period, and thereby a woman, is often described as "disgusting" and "dirty." I've watched men look away and cover their ears when a pad commercial comes on the television or run away, in actual fright, from the sight of unused tampons.

Even worse, I've heard different groups of men say, "You can't trust anything that bleeds for seven days and doesn't die," accompanied by laughter, in response to comments on the natural process of menstruation. "Trust," as defines it, is "reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence." Apparently, women cannot be given responsibility or authority because our non-pregnant bodies shed their uterine linings!

Furthermore, topics surrounding a woman's period are generally considered taboo, which is why men may use demeaning 'jokes' to quiet a woman who brings them up in conversation. But why should I be silenced and made to feel bad about myself or my integrity when I complain to a male friend about my menstrual upper leg muscle aches and lower backaches? Why the fear and disgust, Man? Why the timidity and shame, Woman?

The notion that a woman who bleeds cannot be trusted has existed for centuries. In Old Testament biblical times, an Israelite woman who recently gave birth was considered "ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period" (Leviticus 12:2). By law, such a woman "must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over" (Leviticus 12:4). In fact, women could only be "purified," after the passage of a certain amount of time, by providing the priest with "a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or dove for a sin offering" (Leviticus 12:6).

If you grew up in a Christian church like I did, you may remember the New Testament Bible story, found in Matthew 9, Mark 5 and Luke 8, of the woman who had an illness that caused her to bleed for 12 years until she touched the hem of Jesus' cloak. As a woman, especially an "unclean" one, she risked further social ostracization and even physical harm in touching a rabbi.

But imagine bleeding and not being allowed to go out because of it for 12 years. Imagine being made to feel disgusting for having your period every day for over a decade. Imagine hoping to just fit in.

Jesus' revolutionary reaction to the woman's risky action seems to take these psychological, social, emotional and physical sufferings into account: instead of condemning the woman, as any other man would have in that society, he says, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace" (Luke 8:48). In this story, Jesus regards the woman as a human being, as a suffering person deserving of attention and help. So I am thinking, if Jesus wasn't reduced to little-boy squeals of disgust by a woman who bleeds, why should anyone else be?

Interestingly, when women complain, "I hate my period!" their reasons for such loathing are not framed by comments on feeling "dirty" or "disgusting." In fact, the appearance of one's period commonly comes with two major woes with which most women can empathize-- physical agony and fears of leakage. Women's remarks about their menstruation usually include: "I am in so much pain;" "I feel so sick;" "I can barely walk or get out of bed;" and "I keep having to check the seat of my pants." Instead of saying "Ew" in response, we can learn a lesson from Jesus and focus on the fact that a woman who is experiencing a painful period is suffering and in need of help.

Hence, my response to such comments is a list of recommended products that have been helping to ease my menstruation pain and leakage fears this week:

1) Yogi Woman's Moon Cycle Tea: Although Yogi is sure to say that the statements made on its tea box "have not been evaluated by the FDA," I have been relying on this tea, which was given to me by Krystal, "to help relieve the minor tensions and discomfort" of my period. The tea is made of Dong Quai Root, Chaste Tree Berry, Juniper Berry and a proprietary blend of organic herbs, including fennel seed, ginger root, cinnamon bark, chamomile flower, raspberry leaf, anise seed and parsley leaf. Even if it didn't physically comfort me, I would drink this tea because I thoroughly enjoy this combination of flavors and the tea's texture.

2) Midol Complete: Midol, which contains acetaminophen, caffeine, pyrilamine maleate pain reliever, stimulant and diuretic, is used to provide relief of menstrual symptoms, such as cramps, bloating, water-weight gain, breast tenderness, headache, backache, muscle aches and fatigue. I switch between Pamprin and Midol, both which work wonders. Some tips: A) Take two Midol caplets before you feel pain because once your uterus starts contracting to push out the lining, it'll take at least half an hour after you take the medicine for you to start feeling better; and B) Do NOT take Tylenol in addition to Midol because you can overdose on acetaminophen.

3) Always Infinity: Always has designed yet another pad that I first tried through a free sample I got at a Seaport fair. After the first four hours of wearing this pad, I was hooked. Although the pad's wings do not necessarily fit all of my panties right, the "revolutionary wing design for secure protection" works phenomenally and it doesn't feel as if I am wearing a folded up tee-shirt down there. My only issue with this pad is its cost! Note Rite Aid's $5.59 price tag on a box of only 16 pads. Get a FREE SAMPLE of Always Infinity and other Procter & Gamble products delivered to your home within 4-6 weeks by clicking on the link above. It really works!

*Try Always Feminine Wipes too. They come individually packaged now.

4) Playtex Sports Tampons: These tampons have a contoured plastic applicator, which is so much more comfortable and easy to slide into the vagina than the uncontoured cardboard applicators my mother buys at the 99-cent store. This tampon also sports a "custom fit design" that "expands all around with every move you make" and a "unique second backup layer for defense against leaks." Again, my only issue with such a high quality product is its price. So try it out for FREE by clicking on the link above!

Happy period!