HORMONAL IMBALANCE: How Our Mothers Got Careless With Some Of Us
HORMONAL IMBALANCE: How Our Mothers Got Careless With Some Of Us
How funny it sounds to me now, recounting this life experience in this simple but impactful story as this.
I am going to try to be as simple as I can, telling this part of my story as a young girl and at the same time, touching some of my friends who grew up with me as well.
I grew up to see and experience the needless pain some African girls have to pass through during their formative years. Some of these life changing experiences were blamed on some “gods”, in some cases, and speculations that were unfounded, some ended up in the hands of some ignorant fetish doctors who new next to nothing on the subject.
I was born in Issele-Uku, a then semi urban town in Delta State Nigeria. I lived with my mother who was a petty trader, in our town, I had seven older siblings and two younger ones, all of them lived in the city with my father who was a civil servant, attending schools while some worked as well.
I began hawking wares for my mother at the age of seven. It was a very common activity back in the day.
The journey of my girl experience began one Monday morning when I went to fetch my cousin Alice, so we could trek to our school together as we usually did, I was about twelve years old at the time, and so was my cousin. Just as I stepped into their fairly large compound, I was immediately greeted by a little crowd that had gathered around their parlour door.
My cousin Alice, whose name I have changed here for privacy sake, had for some minutes been yelling on top of her voice without actually saying what exactly was the matter with her. Their compound was a fairly big one, because her father operated rental facilities. So, people gathered, trying to find out what made her cry and looked so terrified. To everyone’s amazement, she claimed that an ant penetrated her vagina, bit her, and that had caused her to bleed!
W-A-H-A-L-A!!!! This was ignorance of the highest order! I on the other hand was speechless as I stood helpless, I had no idea, not even a clue about what the heck was going on. How could an ant enter her vagina to wreck such damage on my cousin? This was a million Naira question on my little mind.
As I stood imagining the scenario, my cousin’s mother, mama Cecelia (name changed) grabbed her hand and reached out to mine as well, she pulled both of us straight into her bed room.
What was my own offence? My little mind wondered as my heart paced up and down! Mama Cecelia began to educate us both with what I can now comfortably term a half- baked information. She told us that what happened to Alice was not an ant bite, she said in a rather low tone that it is called menstruation and that is a common thing to every every woman, she made us to know that, this will be our monthly visitor. Mama Cecelia garnished this shallow lecture with a warning: listen both of you, she said, any month your visitor did not arrive, it means you got close to a boy, from now on, you should not go close to a boy, if you dare go close to any boy in the neighbourhood, you will get pregnant.
Pregnant? Both of us exclaimed, yes pregnant she replied.
My dilemma began here. Mama Cecelia did not ask me if any “ant” had bitten me before or not, she just assumed.
Oh, my world! I ended up with more fears than clarifications, more questions than answers and worries to contend with about this all-encompassing subject.
We got to school late that day, my self and my cousin walked and talked alone throughout that day, our friends and class mates wondered what could be the matter, but we kept mute.
Back home, I remained cold, but I dared not broach an issue like that around my mother. It was somewhat a taboo, coming from a “small” girl like me. This issue was treated and handled sacredly.
My only option was to wait for my favourite older sister to come home during the holiday which was around the corner. When she finally came home, I tabled my matter and she told me nothing deferent from what mama Cecelia had said a few weeks ago. She said that every girl and woman goes through it, the addition to what I had before was that it is not painful. So, there was no further information or education I or my cousin and friends at school received as regards this. And life goes on.
A few months later, I was preparing to take my bath, and as I pulled off my pants to wash it, I noticed a spot of blood, although, I had “some” stomach upset in the night and early part of that morning. Immediately, I knew that my monthly visitor had arrived, but could that explain why I had some stomach upset, I could not understand as I had been told that it does not come with pain. So, I had to dress myself up the way my older sister had explained it to me sometime ago.
I headed to the kitchen to meet my mother and I naively announced to her that my monthly visitor arrived that morning. My mother got up from the chair in a bit of a rush and with a serious look, gazed at me and asked with a thunderous voice, “and who told you what it is?” “who told you what to do?” “your mother should be the first to know!” “Don’t tell me you already know much more than this” she said in a disturbing tone. At this point, I was shivering like someone caught doing something very bag. I summoned up courage and told my mother that my older sister had explained it to me and told me what to do when it comes.
My mother gave me the exact tutorial mama Cecelia had given me and Alice a few months ago. So, I, my cousin and the girls I knew then, began avoiding keeping company with boys.
While I hawked my wares, any man that called on me to buy, had better look for someone else to buy from, as I was “never” going to sell to him, for fear of getting pregnant.
This lecture which we received did not seem right to me at some point because my periods came with heavy pain, heavy bleeding, in lumps and lasted seven days. some of my class mates had same experience as I did. Although, many of the girls did not experience pains. Everyone around me knew when my monthly visitor arrived and for as long as I menstruated, I was always in pain and so were some of my class mates.
My case, like that of some of the girls my age, was totally different from my sisters and some of the girls in my class. So, I thought that this could have elicited some kind of concern in the older women around me, but unfortunately, it did NOT.
THIS IS WHERE OUR MOTHERS GOT CARELESS WITH SOME OF US:
These were the questions I had to ask in later years, to ascertain where our mothers missed it. Many young girls in Africa today, are asking these questions as well.
1) Why were all our mothers’ acting and reacting the same way concerning this subject?
This, to my mind, could be because all of them were following status quo. That was exactly what their mother’s, mother’s, mother told their mothers, and that was what their mothers told them and they thought it was their obligation to hand it down to their posterity as well. They failed to pay particular attention to each child, to understand the individual differences that exist in each child. I may say that they were naively ignorant.
2) Is menstruation painful or not?
3) Is it the same experience with everyone?
4) What does it mean when one is having irregular/heavy cycle
5) What does it mean when it lasts three days in some women and girls, five to seven days
for some and in some cases, lasts up to one month in others?
6) When should you raise an alarm?
7) Who is the right person to see?
8) Is it always true that any month one doesn’t menstruate, one is pregnant?
9) What does it mean when menstruation comes in block form or very heavy?
10) What is the relationship between menstruation irregularity and hormonal imbalance?
11) How would all these impact fertility in a woman?
12) What should our girls know about menstruation irregularities, block form or heavy menstruation and longer
day duration menstruation cycle
I KNOW YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS OUT ON THIS.
THESE QUESTIONS AND MORE WILL BE ANSWERED IN THE NEXT POST TITTLED: WHAT IS HORMONAL IMBALANCE.
Hello, I am Lilian Chudey Pride. Good to welcome you to my online world. I am a Writer, Teacher, Encourager, Author of Life Beyond Motherhood, Dignity of Womanhood and Publisher, iwriteafrica.com online Magazine. I love Africa so much and I derive joy in telling the world about her beauty and strength. I share the challenges of the childless African community, providing Support, Encouragement and Empowerment. While guiding the childless African woman to trust God, I help her to understand her peculiarity, grieve properly, heal and embrace purpose. See my book: Life Beyond Motherhood on Amazon. Welcome to Africa.