Breaking the Silence on Menstruation


“I don’t get me sometimes. Apparently mum was right all along”. Nancy affirmed all this for the simple reason, mum always said,”You are too rough. My God, you should just be a boy already. Ladies should not play the way you do and I warn you if you sustain any injuries, I will add to it.” Typical African mum. All this fell on deaf ears as to Nancy all that mattered was that she had her fun. This particular day, Nancy was in Form 2 and on her way back from school when she noticed her pants stained with blood. Immediately, she was embraced by fear and pondered, “How did I wound myself down there? Mum will kill me. I can’t even tell her.” This fear prompted her to stay quiet. She placed a piece of tissue hoping the wound would dry off but to her dismay, the bleeding rather increased the next day. She was confused but had no one to talk to. She managed the second day with constant bathroom visits to take out the tissue paper. When this was not working, she decided to place a huge piece of tissue and let it be. She kept this on for about 13 hours and avoided going to the bathroom. The next day, her mother noticed that she was not walking properly and when asked, she insisted it was nothing. As usual, mum assumed that she had played and gotten hurt in the process. Mum reiterated, “If you hurt yourself be sure I will add it. You play too much.” This further fed her fears. She was scared to go to the bathroom; not to talk of taking her bath. It wasn’t long before her mum started getting a pungent smell coming off her and when she called her and tried to find out, the scared Nancy tried to cover up for a while. When mum insisted, Nancy then opened up to mum with so much trepidation. It was evident by the trembling in her voice and the panic that ensued. After all this talk, mum was sorry enough to say, “I have failed you, my darling”.


1. Menstruation or periods or flow or better still mbra as commonly called is a normal monthly flow of blood in women during their fertile ages that is from Menarche(11-14) which is the onset of menses to Menopause ( 45-50) which signals the end of menses. Every month the woman’s body prepares for pregnancy and if no pregnancy, the uterus( womb) sheds it’s lining and the woman bleeds. The blood is sent out from the body through the vagina. Termed by some as the ‘womb mourning for lack of a child‘. The number of days of flow varies with individuals but for most people it is 3 to 5 days. Apart from bleeding, there might be other things like:
  • Abdominal or pelvic cramps or pains.
  • Bloating/ sore breast.
  • Food cravings.
  • Headache/ Fatigue.
  • Mood swings/ Irritability.
  • Lower back pain.
All these by no means depict it as an illness. It is rather a blessing of God to women. Its benefits include:
  • Acts as a natural cleanser.
  • Reassures you of the normal functioning of hormones.
  • During menses women lose iron and this decreases their risk of heart disease.
  • Pains during periods give women resistance and tolerance to pain to an extent.
During menses, the key is to be neat and cautious. Use a good sanitary napkin or other method of blood collection, change on time, bath regularly. That way you and the people around you are comfortable. As we can see, it is quite an interesting process and mums have to sensitize their females on these issues. The bad thing is, most parents shy away from these topics but then you must talk to your female children to avoid the case of Nancy.


Mothers should tell their girls about menstruation as early as they can comprehend. This will go a long way to make them understand the changes that come with their bodies. It is at this time most girls become so aware of their bodies due to puberty. If not well taken care of, so many things could go wrong. It is at this time men approach the girls more due to their body changes. If parents and mums especially keep shying away from the topic, it only puts these girls in harm’s way. As seen with Nancy, some children who are shy or not inquisitive enough might end up doing things that are detrimental to their health. As women and mothers, we ought not to get to the point where we fail our girls. Let’s be there for them.

Nancy’s mum took out time and told her the beautiful things mentioned above about menstruation. Got her a sanitary napkin and taught her how to use it. Nancy’s experience has made her a central health advocate. Let’s join the movement. Tell a girl to tell a girl. Fozao Mbi Vanessa.

Periods shouldn’t equal taboo

This year’s theme for Menstrual Hygiene Day is ‘Time for Action’ most especially, action for Menstrual Hygiene Education. So BodyTalk is painting the town red this May! We believe that periods shouldn’t equal drama, and thats why we shall be carrying out several activities both online and offline to shade light on Menstrual Hygiene. Want to join us? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @BodyTalkInternational and you can use the campaign hashtags: #MHDay2019 #MenstruationMatters #NoMoreLimits #ItsTimeforAction and our very own #PeriodDrama to share your stories and opinions.

15 thoughts on “Breaking the Silence on Menstruation

  1. Really we need tk break dr “silence syndrome” and speak boldly to our girls…goes a long way tk solve a lot of teenage pregnancies tks fr dis writeup doc

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful write up Vanessa.
    I’d happily advise for such a course; spreading the news as wide as possible.
    I think its equally important for males to be aware of such.
    God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

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