Reproductive Health is Important (Read: I’m bitchy on my periods and you would be too.)

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FOREWORD: NORMALLY I HATE WHEN GIRLS USE THEIR PERIOD AS AN EXCUSE, WE ALL GET THEM, WE ALL HAVE TO PUSH THROUGH THEM, BIG DEAL. HOWEVER, LETS BE HONEST… 50% OF THE AMERICAN POPULATION GETS THE LUXURY OF SKIPPING THE MONTHLY CRAMPS, CRAVINGS, EXHAUSTION, BREAKOUTS, BLOATING, BLEEDING, AND DIGESTIVE ISSUES (LUCKY YOU). BUT THANKFULLY, FOR THE PAST 3 YEARS, I’VE BEEN ON AN IUD THAT HAS GOTTEN RID OF MY PERIOD AND ALL OF THE WONDERFUL THINGS IT COMES WITH. WITH OUR CURRENT LAWMAKERS HAVING A HISTORY OF VOTING AGAINST REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, MY BELOVED IUD COULD COST ME UP TO $1000. AND AS A TWENTY-SOMETHING, THATS $1000 I JUST DON’T HAVE. SO EITHER A) START AND FUND A GO-FUND-ME PAGE FOR EVERY WOMAN IN AMERICA, OR B) PROTECT OUR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTHCARE RIGHTS.

FOREWORD PT2: BEFORE YOU COMMENT TMI, REMEMBER, YOU’RE THE ONE WHO CLICKED ON THIS POST. TAMPONS. PERIOD. PADS. BLEEDING. BLOATING. CLOTTING. DIGESTIVE ISSUES. YOU’RE STILL THERE? GAME ON.

Dear Mr. President,

Let me tell you a story. I was a bit of a late bloomer, you see. I didn’t get my period until I was sixteen. To add to the even-better timing, I was boarding a bus to a travel swim meet that day. My mom put in my swim bag a diagram on how to insert a tampon and told me to ask the older girls if I needed help (thanks mom).

Cue a 12-hour bus trip, and my first experience with the monthly cramps, cravings, exhaustion, breakouts, bloating, bleeding, and digestive issues. I don’t know that your first period is ever supposed to be “comfortable” but I’m sure starting it the day of a 12-hour bus ride isn’t the most ideal situation.

Hour 3 of the 12-hour bus trip, paranoia set in and I checked for the 100th time that I hadn’t bled through. Also, at this point, the people my mom clued in on helping me (all with good intentions) told the entire bus that I had started my period. Total. Teenage. Embarrassment.

Luckily enough for me, I survived that swim meet, cramps, exhaustion, embarrassment and all! But it didn’t take long for Aunt Flo to be causing problems in my life. From chronic migraines, to aches and pains. Aunt Flo didn’t know how to stick to a schedule or only stay her allotted once monthly visit either. I developed massive month-long periods that controlled my life. Some people travel to quick care for paper cuts that don’t heal right, I literally had blood flowing out of my body for a month on end and it’s apparently human nature.

Thank god we live in modern day times. You know, times with antibiotics, an understanding of bacteria, computers, smartphones, sliced bread, and dare I say it birth control. Yes, that magical invention that not only prevents pregnancy, but also reduces premenstrual symptoms (PMS) in many women. After trying to live life with beloved TOM (time of month), it was time to get my hormones under control.

My mother made an appointment with my general practitioner, and he asked me my symptoms, and prescribed me the pill. A low dose hormonal pill I would take once daily to regulate my periods, and all the wonderful side effects they came with. Now, I know many of you are thinking — she’s on the pill, her sex life must be legit.

And for that I have a two-part answer:
1) none of your damn business
2) why the hell are you thinking about a 16-year-old’s sex life? gross.

High school came and went, and annual visits to my doctor to check on my health (lady parts and all) became the norm. I stayed on that same pill until college I had been skipping the placebo week per my doctors instructions to not get a period at all. But with all the life changes going on, I became notorious for not taking the pill. I would have “oh shit” moments in class, when I’d remember I left my pills in my swim locker and it would be two days without taking it. I set alarms, I tried taking it at the same time everyday, I carried them with me everywhere — but alas, I still sucked at that once-every-day thing.

And so shark week reared its ugly head, and thanks to my stronger young-adult hormones, so came my breasts becoming, swollen and tender, extreme bloating and digestive issues ( the faintest smells could make me puke), cravings for In-N-Out double doubles and McDonald’s fries, a face full of craters and pus-filled mountains, my hips feeling like they had a knife stabbing them in the back, a full optical migraine on day 1, exhaustion, and a lovely bit of blood and clotting in my new yoga panties. (Fuck you too, shark week).

Now, let me take a step back for a second. This one goes to the ladies, Mr. President, refer to your First Lady for this one. Remember when your man got the cold. How bad was it, really? Now, how much complaining did he do for something you deem to be just the sniffles. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.

Can you say, “man flu?” According to Urban Dictionary, man flu is the condition shared by all males wherein a common illness (usually a mild cold) is presented by the patient as life threatening. The sniffles may as well be an incurable strain of bird flu. We got you. We’ll cut you some slack, you’re sick.

But then why is isn’t it a bigger deal when we’re literally bleeding from our loins, experiencing emotional chaos and turmoil, physical changes and a myriad of otherside effects. (Go ahead, click through those links, I’ll be waiting. That last one has details on gushing, leakage, period sex, bowel habits, tampons getting stuck, clots, pad wedgies, boob pain, and the time that their dog has gotten their used tampon out of the trash. Yes, it’s happened.)

Needless to say, I can be a little short on my period.

I’m not feeling 110%. You know what really makes me feel better? All the “oh, it’s her time of month” jokes. (and in case you didn’t catch my sarcasm, can we please put an end to those comments)

I’m not out here trying to excuse my behavior, or ask for a pity card. I’m lucky.

I’m fortunate enough to have my reproductive health covered by the Affordable Care Act. Yup, thats right, I’m a fan of Obamacare. Shoot me. I like yearly preventable health checkups covered. I want to know if my lady parts are working just right because, sometimes, things can get a little scary. And thanks to that doctor I saw early on in college, I am now on the Mirena IUD. I have a low dose of hormones that has essentially gotten rid of my monthly cycle, and many of my PMS symptoms.

Now, because the Affordable Care Act is at risk of being repealed, my once-covered IUD could cost up to $1,000.

Mr. President, before you try and convince me that you’re a champion of women’s rights, I ask you this — why did you reinstate the Mexico City policy?

“The Mexico City Policy prohibits foreign aid from the U.S. to be given to any nongovernmental organization (NGO) abroad that discusses abortion as a family-planning option.” — TIME, January 23, 2017

“This damaging policy restricts women’s choices and promotes censorship of critical health options in clinics around the world…” is a violation of a right to basic healthcare.

President Trump, you effectively made reproductive health attainable to only the 1%.

Why shouldn’t I believe that you’re going to take my right to birth control next?

My IUD is up for renewal in a year and a half. Not even halfway through your presidency. I did consider going into my gynecologist and getting a new one in before you were elected, just in case.

And now, because of your reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, on day 3 of your presidency, I wish I did.

Repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut my access to my beloved IUD, and yes, I’m going to be upset. Yes, my spirits will be crushed. Yes, I may be a bit bitchy.

But after learning about the bloating, gross bowel movements, breast tenderness and swelling, pus filled pores, greasy hair, hormonal changes, blood clots, leakage, cramping, hip pain, exhaustion, nausea, fear of bleeding through, possibility of weird smells and optical migraines, wouldn’t you be a little bitchy too?

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Erin M Fuss, is one of several writers that needed a new home for her feminist rants and created the blog, Media Queen HQ. Visit the blog at www.mediaqueenhq.com or by following them on social media @mediaqueenhq

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Erin Mikail Fuss is a freelance digital strategist based in Reno, NV. She’s the proud fur-parent to Penelope and Betty Pig and forever hungry Milo Cat. When she’s not nerding-out on the internet, Erin can be found competing in endurance events.