Officially in menopause as of October 2012, and now wondering why we don’t throw parties to mark this occasion, I’ve been doing some menstrual math.
The book, Riding Astride: The Frontier in Women’s History, by Patricia Riley Dulap, inspired my pondering of some numbers associated with menstruation. Dunlap goes into detail explaining how women’s biology through childbirth every two years, breastfeeding, child rearing, and menstruation often confined them to the home virtually until they died, most often by their forties.
Amazed that women ever had a spare minute to make the intriguing and important history that they have, and not having thought about women’s history in quite this way, I questioned the numbers related to the menstruation in my own life.
For me, my 12th birthday was the never-to-be-forgotten day of my first period. Whoopee! Little did I know about the years ahead.
Age twelve from age 55 is dear Lord, 43 years! Of menstruation.
Let’s let that sink in. Forty-three. Years.
I menstruated for more years than most women used to live.
My average period was seven days. That’s 3,612 days of Aunt Thelma. Let’s say I used 6 sanitary products per day on average. Now we’re at 21,672 products. Being conservative, since periods and cramps went hand-in-hand for me, let’s say I used 4 aspirin or later Acetaminophen or similar per day.
Suddenly I understand why there’s a CVS or Walgreen’s on every corner with me knocking the doors down to purchase 14,448 cramp killer pills plus all those pads and tampons. That’s not counting the icepacks for headaches, the cola to settle my stomach, the pimple cream, the salty snacks, the sweet snacks.
No, I won’t do the calculations in dollar amounts. I'm just guessing the amount would pay for an extended luxury vacation in the Mediterranean or the South Pacific. With lots of fruity drinks and a massage therapist on staff. But I digress.
What do all these numbers mean?
Derned if I know. But hey, menstruation—I don’t miss you. Not even a little.
Further, I’m an English major-- math makes me queasy.
Think I’ll pop out to the drug store for a coke.