How Can Men Support Women Throughout Their Menstrual Cycle?
One of the hardest things in the world is to feel powerless while someone you love is in pain.
Men who have wives, daughters and sisters that menstruate and aren’t sure how to help face a two-fold dilemma—supporting their loved one and bringing up the traditionally taboo topic of periods.The menstrual cycle is dictated by a series of hormone changes that can affect the way a woman feels on any given day.
With changes taking place regularly throughout the month, it can feel impossible to know how to best support females throughout their menstrual cycle.However, the best thing you can do is be supportive of your family while they are menstruating. But how can you do this? Where does the process begin? And how on earth can you even bring up menstruation without sounding like a perv?
First, Understand Menstruation
It’s true that you can’t change that which you don’t understand. You have to actually understand the process of menstruation in order to support your lady throughout her monthly cycle.Don’t blame your ignorance about periods on the fact that you were never taught what exactly menstruation is or what it means for women. The time has come for you to take responsibility for your own education and learn what’s happening and why.It’s not difficult to learn about this natural bodily process, even though it’s not something that’s been conventionally discussed among family, romantic partners, or even friends.To fully support the women in your life, you need to first have an accurate idea of what’s happening in her body so that you can be supportive.
Ask How You Can Support HerInstead of waiting for her to ask for support, ask how you can support her.Understand that every woman is different and won’t need the same things from you when it comes to supporting during this time. You can take cues from her as far as what she needs.Does she need more space or does she need you more? She may act like she doesn’t want you there, but in reality, she does and needs your help in some small way. You can be helpful without hovering, be supportive without being patronizing, and be loving without being controlling.
Don’t shy away from her period or the discomfort she may deal with. Ask her if she needs anything or if you can get her anything. Make a comfortable environment for her, whether she loves taking a hot bath or cosying up in bed to read. Make a nice dinner with her favourite foods. Do things around the house. Be kind.
Some men feel uncomfortable with menstruation and so either joke about it or completely avoid it. Neither of these actions is helpful and not only perpetuates period stigma but also hurts the females closest to you.Don’t joke about her period or make rude comments about menstruation, her behaviour, or her mood. It’s ok to make her feel good and make her laugh, but above all, it’s important to be respectful and to honour the sanctity of her menstrual cycle.Communication plays a significant role in supporting the women in your life. Even if the person is in pain or in a bad mood, you can do your part by communicating respectfully. Don’t take things personally and don’t make excuses for her behaviour or label her as overly sensitive or hormonal.It is, of course, important to give love and attention, but this is especially true during her period. Make her feel wanted and loved. Don’t shun her and make her feel like she’s gross. Have a strategy for helping her whether it’s listening, helping around the house, or just acknowledging her period instead of ignoring it.
Acknowledge Your Role in the Period Taboo
You can stop continuing the menstruation stigma by not shaming your lady, listening when she talks about menstruation and initiating conversations about it. Offer to buy her the products she needs. Ask questions that will help you help her. Be respectful.When we support the women in our lives in these ways, even though they feel small, we allow ourselves to transform the taboo that has existed for so long about menstruation. By simply acknowledging menstruation for what it is and not treating it as a disgusting, foreign, or shameful process, we empower ourselves and females everywhere to love and accept their bodies.Whether each of us chooses to or not, we have a role to play in the stigma regarding menstruation. Will you be the one to make her unloved and unwanted during her period, or will you be the one who supports her even when she doesn’t feel strong herself yet?
Your actions begin a narrative that will be told to generations of males and females alike.
What story will you choose?