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Inspiration

#Inspiration: Tisca Chopra Is Writing A Book On Menstrual Health. We Need More Such Books For Young Girls

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I’ve never been able to quite understand why period is a dirty word. Like voldemort, you are not supposed to even speak the word out loud and if you do, you’ve to be prepared to get weird stares and haws from the uncles and aunties around. It’s a natural biological process just like breathing but just because it happens to 50% of the population (actually 48% considering the messed-up gender ratio of the country), it is somehow shameful and gross.

As an Indian woman, I have experienced this first-hand, and I am sure I am not the only one. The need to hush hush your way to the bathroom every time you get the unannounced visit form Aunt Flo, saying you have an upset stomach to cover up the painful period cramp situation, using black polybags to buy and discard sanitary napkins, we know it all too well.

However, more than the taboo and the silly myths like periods are dirty, the scarier thing here is the lack of knowledge and misconceptions about it. Because there is no such thing as an open conversation about menstruation, most girls have no clue about this life-changing process before they get their first period. Since it is not discussed in schools or even at home, they are naturally baffled and have to suffer in silence.

Girls often go to their sisters and mothers but due to the deep-rooted stigma around the subject, even they hesitate and aren’t any help to these young girls. How can they get any proper information regarding this, let alone support? Thankfully, some women are working towards raising awareness about menstruation and health and hygiene during leak week. One of them is Tisca Chopra.

Tisca is writing a new book on menstrual health for young girls of 9 to 13 years of age to help educate them about the importance of menstrual health and hygiene and also to encourage them to stir up a conversation with their parents and friends on this subject. The book is tentatively titled Your Book of Period, that will be released by Red Panda, an imprint of Westland Publications, in December this year.

Also Read: Shruti Haasan Talks About Periods, PMS, PCOS And Why We Get Sanitary Napkins Wrapped In Black Bags. Period Shaming Is Real

Talking about the book, Tisca told PTI, “While I enjoy reading and writing fiction, I believe children need a good non-fiction book as well, to address the need for sharing information in a way they don’t feel lectured by parents… I wanted to create a book which would be meaningful for many young girls including my daughter Tara. And so my publisher and I discussed the idea of this book that may well become an essential read for girls on their way to becoming young women. Mothers, daughters and their friends can bond around the book and discuss it as friends.”

Actor and film producer wrote her first book “Acting Smart: Your Ticket To Showbiz” in 2014 and is now all set to bring in a children’s non-fiction book for young girls. There are girls going through period problems, PMS, raging hormone fluctuations, medical conditions like PCOD, irregular periods with no one to talk to and no manual or guide to refer to. In the name of menstruation handbooks for children, we only have a handful of books that talk about periods and raise awareness about this stigmatised “private” matter.

 

Author and entrepreneur Aditi Gupta who started menstrupedia.com, a website that educate young minds about menstruation through blogs and comic strips, released her first book, Menstrupedia Comic: The Friendly Guide To Periods For Girls. It talks about puberty, periods, PMS and hygiene through comic illustrations which makes for an interesting read for kids and helps them comprehend the complex lady business better. Another book that informs young readers about puberty and menstruation in a broader aspect is When Girls Grow Up: Puberty Book for Girls by Niyatii N Shah. It talks about changes young girls go through during puberty and how to deal with them. Through these books, young readers get to know their bodies better and how to deal with emotions and problems that come with menstrual cycles.

Tisca’s book will also cover the topic of menstruation from a broader view and will aim to normalise the period talk. It will also consist suggestions and tips from experts on how to deal with physical, emotional and social changes during this time. She said, “It is my hope that the book will inspire meaningful conversations and be a trusted resource for young girls in their growing up years, about issues they may be confused about and are hesitant to discuss. Through the book, I’d like them to know that that they are not alone and that there’s help at hand.”

It’s high time we stop shying away from speaking about periods and clear the haze surrounding menstruation for these young girls. They deserve to get well-acquainted with the natural process of periods and understand that this is completely normal…because it actually is.

Also Read:  New Zealand To Give Out Free Menstrual Products To School-Going Girls To Help Tackle Period Poverty. Having A Female PM Really Helps

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