The cramps, nausea, and insane cravings are not the only things Nigerian women have to deal with during their period. 7 Nigerian women had a quick chat with me about their most cringe-worthy period experience.
My experience was really awful. I had an ex-boyfriend who would complain and call me lazy for having cramps and throwing up. For the days I would be on my period, his attitude towards me would change. He would reject everything I do. He termed menstruation as unclean, unpurified, irritating and utterly disgusting. I noticed he mostly got like this during my period so I tried to stay away whenever it’s that time of the month. At some point, it became overwhelming and I had to leave the relationship.
I once called a friend to get me an extra pad, the guy who just happened to be around when I made the call acted all disgusted that why didn’t I step out to make the call. I couldn’t believe the effrontery. Another notable one was the guy I made plans to hang out with and then my period showed up and he started acting funny, making remarks about the whole thing. That was when I knew I had dodged a bullet. A few days later, when baba was sure the period had gone, he tried to chat me up. Omo, the way I aired that message, avatar Aang would have been proud.
I dated a guy who didn’t want to come close to me cause I was on my period. He kept behaving like I was diseased. I noticed that I wasn’t a one-time thing. Every time I was on my period, he would make excuses not to be with me. One time he mentioned that I shouldn’t sit on his laps. It became too much and it’s one of the numerous reasons I broke up with him.
There was a guy I really liked and felt very attracted to. The first and only time we had sex, my period came mid-sex. We were both too horny to wait so we tried having sex close to the car. When we saw someone coming, we quickly stopped and got back into the car. The trouble started when he noticed blood stains on his white underwear. He freaked out, shouting that if he was a ritualist that he would have to kill me for spoiling his jazz. He went on and on about the spiritual implications of what just happened. I was so scared. I didn’t expect any of it and kept hoping to make it home alive.
My first experience with some form of period stigma happened when I was in secondary school. After school that fateful day, I was suffering severe menstrual cramps. It was so bad that I had to stop on my way home to throw up. Different ladies passed me that day and none of them helped. I could see them sizing me up with their eyes, some hissed, others made snark remarks and most just passed me by. Now that I think about it, it’s really sad that none of those women stopped to help and others just naturally assumed that I was pregnant. I was a child for goodness sake and this really made an impression on me. I am grateful for my friends that helped.
So I remembered getting stained for the first time ever in 2017. When I came down from the cab, a guy passing saw the stain and looked at me like I had shit smeared on my forehead. I knew something was wrong but wasn’t sure until I turned to check my skirt. There was so much blood, I wonder how I missed it. That experience stuck with me because it happened in public and it was my first time. I wish more people get properly informed about menstruation so they stop acting like it’s the black plague.
I once told a friend that I was having menstrual cramps, he apologised and told me not to worry that it will finish by the next day. I was like I just started that day and he asked and I quote “Isn’t it like you’re peeing blood for a day?” and he went on to explain how he thought periods worked differently. In my life, I have never been confronted with such ignorance. I did my best to explain how periods actually work. When I was done, he said he just assumed that menstruation was like pee and never really asked. All I could think about was, did this man even do biology? A quick Google search could have saved us from this conversation.
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