My First Period? I’m waiting for my last one!

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After 40 years of menstruating, Raine shares what she hopes to be her Last period story.

You can now buy a pair of pants in the same easy and quick way that you can buy a pizza. I wish so badly that this was a thing 5- 10 years ago, when I was often having moments of needing an emergency pair of pants. While the past is gone, in the present I am grateful that this service is available. What I’m referring to has undoubtedly happened to almost all of us. For me, it was just a few days ago when I came to the inconvenient and unannounced realization that I was still even HAVING my cycle. 

La Vie en Rose

I was confident that my period and I, after almost 40 years together, was finally over. I thought that the menopause fairy had finally come for me. My menstrual cycle had been a bit erratic. I thought I was perimenopausal to the point that I got a blood work requisition from my doctor to check my hormonal levels.I stopped stocking up on products when there were sales. I went out and bought a dozen super cute panties from our Canadian underwear darling of a store, aptly named, ‘La Vie En Rose’. My days of walking around with every period product on this earth’s menstrual hygiene line was over. I thought I wouldn’t need to have a little bit of money stashed in case I needed to take a taxi home in the middle of the day. It was all in vain, because clearly my period called instead of the ‘it’s over’ fairy.

So much to my surprise, my period started again last week. It felt a bit like my first period called all over again. 

My period: Day 1

My cycle has been known to start then escalate unreasonably, leaving me feeling like I am in an unhealthy relationship with my own body. I have been prepared for a work-related period emergency for years. The one where I have to dash to the bathroom because I felt a gush coming. You know the gush? If you are someone who menstruates over the age of 30, maybe even 40, you know what I mean by “gush”. And if you haven't had that gush, you are blessed. My hope for you is that you never experience it. So you can imagine that at 50, (yes 50- as I stop to feel grateful for how great I look thanks to melanin), I really thought my period days were over. Nevermind experiencing the horror of the gush.

So much to my surprise, my period started again last week. It felt a bit like my first period called all over again. 

It has been so long that I had forgotten about the ferocity of the gushes. It was day 1 and I was wearing a pad over my cute new panty. Life was good, totally manageable, I was on my way off the period train. I got up to stretch after a meeting in my home office set up when it happened. I experienced that all too familiar heavy, warm, wet rush gush. While disappointment was strong, I was also thankful to be home. I was easily able to clean up and step out to buy supplies. 

I bought all the usual period products, alongside reacquainting myself with my old friends Cadbury, sour-cream Pringles, and the old staple, dependable Depends. Pro tip: Adult diapers on those super heavy days can minimize the mess. I stopped trusting many ‘heavy days’ products years ago in favour of better and more reliable absorption. I feel no embarrassment whatsoever saying that adult diapers are the way to go. Know your body then rock what your body needs. Sometimes, when your body is in change, you think you know your body and you don’t anymore. Which is what happened to me thinking that a super heavy period would be just one day. After all, my menopause fairy was on her way, right?

My period: Day 2

So friends, on what would be my day two, I was going to the office after months of working from home. I went in for a full day of planning with two colleagues and was excited. I left for the commuter train that morning masked up, depended up, padded up and ready. I felt like the most wrapped up person in the world.

My colleagues and I started our day with coffee and a chat, then moved into planning for the year ahead. Just as we were breaking for the first time that morning I stood up and there she was, blessing me yet again that warm wet feeling. As I cursed the menopause fairy under my breath, I slowly sauntered to the washroom, picking up my knapsack of tricks on the way. I'd long started keeping a stash of emergency items at work: underwear, pants, clothes, soap, really all of the things. 

Then the realization hit, I hadn’t been to the office in ages because of the pandemic. I didn’t have my emergency items, namely a fresh pair of pants! I was so disappointed; I was looking forward to the planning day, seeing my colleagues in person was exciting. I sat there defeated on so many levels, staring at my stained leggings wondering what to do. “I thought this was over,” I mumbled to myself, “my period woes were behind me”. Instead it was everywhere and my not-so-positive mumbles and thoughts were getting me nowhere.

I was excited to spend this day with my colleagues and was not going to cut it short because of my period! After what felt like hours in a cold bathroom stall, I decided to end my pity-party for one and take action. I took off my tights, gave them a wash and diapered up. I was wearing two long black shirts that day and I turned one into a skirt. Smiling at my creative problem-solving, I made my way back to my colleagues. 

I arrived, sat down in my ‘skirt’ and calmly announced, “just to let you know I'm not wearing pants anymore, I'm now in a skirt that once was a shirt because sh*t happens”. Another pro-tip, work with people who are supportive and recognize that we are all humans with bodies. We continued working and I ordered a fresh pair of black leggings, brought to me via a food delivery service.

My pants came, we went to lunch. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the menopause fairy -  when will I no longer need to keep extra pants with me? 

When am I going to celebrate my last period?