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  • Writer's pictureIt’s Complicated

The no go zone

Being chronically ill and South Asian brings its fair share of comments because it is taboo to discuss your illnesses, to have medical devices visible, and overall just taboo to be sick. One of the biggest taboo subjects is periods; the most normal thing one can go through, monthly, for many years, is not to be spoken about.

I started my period at the age of 11. I woke up one morning, completely freaked out, with blood everywhere. From the get go, they were horribly painful and heavy. I went back and forth to doctors and no medication would work with the pain or flow. It was so bad, I could barely walk, and would punch walls, cupboards and anything near by. I would bleed for weeks on end, and over the years the pain and flow just got worse; I just got better at hiding it because if I didn’t I would never be able to do anything.

After trying a few medications that didn’t work, I was handed a prescription for a contraceptive pill. This is when I realised how deep the period/birth control taboo runs in the South Asian community. My family, (included discussions between aunts/nan/gran) were so against the idea of using contraceptives, even if it was for my excruciating pain and extremely heavy blood flow, that they said “you don’t need it, it’ll get better with time, it’s not important, etc.” I was angry. How can you see someone suffer this much and not accept a pill as medication in hopes that it will improve my quality of life? How is that even possible? Why is that okay? Just because it has the words ‘contraceptive’ and ‘birth control’ in front of ‘pill’ , it’s automatically the no go zone. This is because they believe taking this pill will equal no kids in the future. As if that is more important than me being able to walk from A to B.

I listened. I didn’t take it. I was suffering. Until I decided to go get it myself from a local clinic. Thank god for free clinics and privacy policies! This was the best decision I ever made, and it definitely improved something. My periods were still a mess but I could walk around with less pain, not punch walls as much as I used to, and I finally had a life. One day, my mum noticed the box and asked me where I got it from and why. I explained that this is the reason that I’m functioning and I couldn't care less about everyone’s opinions. Luckily, she didn’t say anything, but my aunts/nan/gran, were not happy. Oh wells.

Since then, I’ve realised the misconceptions they have is not their fault, it’s what they’ve been taught, and that the South Asian community is sheltered when it comes to such topics. It is a real shame because not everyone would be able to access a free clinic or feel safe enough to take the pills secretly. Even now, i’m still not allowed to mention that I don't have periods and take contraceptives, to my eldest gran.

It is perfectly okay to use contraceptives for periods.

Having kids is NOT more important than controlling pain levels.

Contraceptives DO NOT equal infertility and sex.

Access to contraceptives for periods should NOT be shameful.


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