My PMS Is Bloody Real And It Affects My Parenting

 

BY LAURA MULLIN 

PHOTO © DAVEP/TWENTY20

 

AUG 6, 2019

White blinding rage.

My husbandís socks discarded on the floor fills me with nothing but white... blinding... rage.

I snatch them up and consider throwing them at his head. That is until Iím suddenly distracted by my daughterís granola bar wrapper, carelessly flung NOT in the garbage where it belongs, but on the floor beside it.

These are the daily domestic irritations that I usually shrug off. But not today.

Oh no, I think to myself. It's coming. A shiver runs down my spine. So soon? Wasnít it just here? How can it be back again already? My period is coming for me and thereís nothing to do but grab a chocolate croissant, load up on anti-inflammatories and tell my family to run for cover.

People donít like to talk about periods, but I do. I like to talk about them a lot because mine has a big impact on me. I think we should all talk about them more because the effects can be profound. Especially for moms.

My trip down this hormonal highway started when I was 13, when I got my first period on a family vacation. As soon as I realized what was happening to my newly-turned-teen body, I curled up into the fetal position with surprisingly painful cramps. My mom gently told me that I might experience this every month, and sometimes even mid-month.

I didnít want to believe her, but it turned out to be more than true. Soon I found myself having to take time off school ó and eventually work ó because of the pain and nausea I experienced each month. It wasnít until I was well into my twenties that I was diagnosed with endometriosis, a painful disorder where the tissue that lines the uterus  grows outside of it causing pain and sometimes infertility. Luckily with the help of a prescription and surgeries, Iíve been able to manage the condition.

But you could say that parenting a pre-teen has interrupted my flow. As much as I hate to admit it, PMS affects my mood and personality. And because I feel like society dictates that I have to "be nice" and "be normal" while Iím out in the real world, at home I let my guard down. Sometimes, I become one mother of a menstruating monster.

As the parent of a girl at the tender age of 12, itís important for me to project calm. Whether Iím telling her to tidy her room, put away her phone or if weíre negotiating her latest request to her dye hair green, I need to keep my cool. It helps me diffuse emotionally fraught scenes ó and more importantly, it helps model patience and self-control to my kid.

And it works great! Most of the time. But every 28 days, my best intentions fly out the window. As much as I try to be chill, my hormones take over. Iím sleepy, grouchy, irritable, weepy, anti-social, sad and oh so damned hungry. I hate that Iím prone to my lose my temper with my kid,  even more, I donít want to make her fear this aspect of womanhood.

I know I should be painting a positive picture of menstruation for my girl. Parenting websites tell me I should refer this time of the month as a wondrous and natural experience that all women share. But action speaks louder than words, and my daughter is smart enough to see it isnít always quite so magical. Iím not exactly running along a beach in white yoga pants with outstretched arms each month. 

Maybe women donít talk about their periods more because some question if PMS is real. Weíre worried that saying something makes us seem inferior or weak. Actually, itís quite the opposite. But not talking about ultimately leaves us feeling isolated and alone. And thatís a bloody shame.

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