Every Girl Should Be Able To Skip School For Period Pain Without Feeling Guilty

26 January 2018, 18:19

Period pain
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

No offence, but going to school with HORRIBLE cramps should be illegal.

If you've never had a menstrual period before, I want you to picture something. Imagine you have severe stomach cramps, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, back pain, and a feeling of general discomfort that ranges from mildly annoying to "nobody talk to me because I could kill someone at a moments notice." Oh, yeah. And there's blood.

Many women and girls experience pain this extreme each and every month, so why don't we talk about it more and why, oh why, do we insist on working and attending school through this often debilitating pain? 

Quick facts 

via FOX/New Girl

Why don't people take period pain seriously?

A friend of mine recently told me about a disastrous visit to the doctor. She'd gone in for a checkup but wanted to ask for advice about her debilitating cramps. Really, she wanted to know what was medically normal and if she was an undiagnosed sufferer of endometriosis.   

"I was so mad," she later confessed. "I told her about how much pain I was in and she basically said 'so what?'?  

Women are often resigned to this pain, so much so that going to school and working through intense pain feels more normal than just taking a day off. 

There's still a stigma attached to taking days off for period pain. 

Women are routinely told to take some medication and suck it up, but should they have to? Recent debates have seen solutions like paid period leave branded as "unfair" but this is a conversation we need to have. Off the charts pain and discomfort shouldn't be part of your daily school or work day. For some women,"sucking it up" just isn't an option. 

In a Reddit thread about this very issue, one woman wrote, "sometimes my period generates sufficient pain that I'm heaving over the toilet all morning. Sometimes I am unsafe to drive to work or to perform the necessary duties of my employment. Sometimes it just hurts too much to unfurl out of the fetal position."

Woman laying on her back

via Getty Images

How do you ask for "period day"? 

Hopefully, if your manager/professor/teacher/coach is a woman or someone you're comfortable with, you can just be straight-forward. 
  • "I'm having particularly bad period cramps today and can't make it in" 
  • "I'm not feeling well at all today, I've just got my period and need to take the day off, thanks!!!!" 
  • "I don't think I'll be able to make it in today. I've got 10/10 period pain and I need the day to feel better."

If it's not someone you're 100% comfortable with, you're free to be a little vague about it. 
  • "I'm feeling unwell" 
  • "I need to take a personal day" 
  • "I've woken up in a fair bit of pain"  
  • "I'll need to work from home today due to some health related issues" 
You! Don't! Have! To! Suffer! At! Your! Desk! 

Some companies and countries have introduced period policies.

Nike, for example, introduced menstrual leave in 2007. Another company in the UK, Coexist, made headlines in 2016 when it launched its own period policy to give women flexibility around their time of the month. 

Women in Indonesia are entitled to two days of menstrual leave per month and South Korean women are similarly encouraged to take one day off each month if needed. 

Are period policies the right solution? Well, it's nice to have the option.

The truth is that periods aren't the same for everyone. Some women experience mild symptoms and other women are forced to work and go to school with pain so bad it would bowl you down just from the sheer force.

If your period pain is bad, you should never feel ashamed to skip school, work from home, or even take a half day. It doesn't make you weak or deserving of less pay. Nor does it mean you're less hardworking than anyone else. 

Women are strong as hell and there is zero shame in taking care of yourself when the pain is too much. Based on the statistics, you're not alone and women who suffer painful periods deserve all the hot water bottles and bed rest they can handle when it comes time for their uteruses to do the damn thing. 

via CW/Girlmore Girls