Period poverty is when you cannot afford proper hygiene products during your period. Products like tampons, menstrual cups, sanitary pads, etc. These seven Nigerian women share times in their lives when they have experienced period poverty.
There was a time I had to used paper towels. Luckily, I happened to find an actual towel later. I folded it and used. A whole goddamn towel. Each time I went to the restroom, I would fold the towel in a different way to avoid it from soaking really quickly.
Once, I was extremely broke and my parents were completely out of reach. I had to use tissues, and even the tissues were given to me by someone. I cried so much.
I had to go to school while on my period, so I needed to buy pads. I also needed to buy food, but it was one or the other. So, I used my money for food to buy pad because school was compulsory. It was either I starve or I stain and I chose to starve.
I was to get money from someone, but banks were having so many issues that period. I cried so much because if I buy the pads plus the painkillers with the one thousand naira I had left, I would not be able to afford transportation to school or food in school. There were assignments I had to submit so I needed to be in school. So for the first day, I went to school using tissue papers. It was so uncomfortable because I could feel the tissue dissolve. When I got home, my friend asked why I did not stay till the end of the day. I told her my predicament and she sent me money and brought pads and food to my house.
It was the first day of my period and I had classes for over six hours. On days like that, I usually try to place one pad on top of the other so I do not get stained. However I had used all the money I had to type and print out some work our lecturers assigned to me. I could not afford to use two pads at once, so I had to use tissue and a pad. For over six hours, that was just how I was.
My period came two weeks earlier at my brokest point in school. Luckily, I was home all day for the first day so I kept alternating between tissues, plain underwear and just standing in the shower naked. It was such a stressful experience. When I woke up the next day there was a big stain on my bedsheets. I had to call my parents and beg for money.
When I first started my period, for months I used my old school uniforms because I couldn’t afford pads. I’d cut them into smaller pieces, fold till it looked like tissue, and use them. Once it’s soiled, I’ll wash it and use another. When I finally could afford pads I still really couldn’t afford a lot of them, so I’d use one for a whole day. What helped was I constantly rinsed myself so they wouldn’t be a lot of blood in the pad, and I did a lot of calculating too. I never used pads on the first and last days because it always felt like a waste.
For more articles on all things women, please click here