Menstrual Hygiene
[Infographic via WSSCC.org]

by Saumya Dave – 

During menstruation, girls and women around the world face many complex challenges, including stigma, lack of access to menstrual hygiene products, ostracization from communities, dropping out from school, and more. I wrote this poem to raise awareness about this critical and taboo topic.

The first time
I saw
blood
my mother cried
and I thought
I made
a mistake.

She said
there’s a revolution
in you
in our necks
and spines.

We house wars
under our bellies
they put us in
tiny rooms to
pretend
we’re simple.

They’ll try
to whittle
you into
a lighter color
thin your
words
into gossamer
whispers.

Your cycle
is a weapon
to
create
destroy.

Don’t you ever
hate the vast country
of your body
so they feel
safe.

I rolled her
syllables in
my mouth
until they
became
fire.


Saumya Dave is a writer, resident physician in psychiatry, and co-founder of This Is For Her, a nonprofit that advocates for women’s mental health. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Refinery29, among others. When she isn’t at the hospital, she can be found editing her first novel, Well Behaved Indian Women.

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