Dot writes: surprisingly, the title doesn’t refer to the children – not this time – but to me. By the way, this is one of those Too Much Information posts, so look away now if you are of a delicate constitution.

You may remember that back in February I went and got fitted with an IUD. I got the copper coil type because I didn’t want any artificial hormones. I knew a possible side effect was heavier periods, but my cycle is long and my periods had usually been light, so I thought that wouldn’t be too bad. Indeed, for the next eight months it was absolutely fine because my body stayed in baby-mode and my cycle didn’t return. Unfortunately, when it did, I realised I had been rather too light-hearted about the prospect of heavier flow. Illustration: I’ve been using up my left-over maternity towels. Further illustration: on Wednesday, sitting in the library, I managed to soak right through one.

It’s not quite as bad as it sounds. Super-heavy moments like that only come in occasional bursts, like the chorus of a Nirvana song. A couple of months ago I was having break-through bleeding mid-cycle, which was tiresome and dreary, but that seems to have settled down. And this particular period hasn’t been especially painful, which is a relief (the breakthrough bleeding was painful – a permanent mild tummy-ache: the doctor prescribed anti-inflammatories, but they ironically upset my stomach). But it’s not great. Let’s say I could do without it.

I remember when I first started having proper periods, as opposed to the occasional light dribble, they were astonishingly heavy in a way that was extremely hard to cope with as a somewhat unhappy and self-conscious school-girl. I can recall completely soaking a super-plus tampon and ruining a pair of knickers in the space of an hour’s lesson, and then having to carry on wearing the knickers for the rest of the day because it had never occurred to me I might need to bring spare knickers to school. People talk about how adolescents feel self-conscious about the changes in their bodies, but you forget what an utterly rubbish job the body can do with new activities like menstruation. Unfortunately mine is trying to learn the same trick, which it was never desperately reliable about anyway, with the complication of a bit of plastic and copper wire permanently annoying it.

In some ways, what’s irritating me most about this is the way my mooncup can’t cope with it. I was delighted with the mooncup: such an elegant solution to the problem of waste and carting supplies around. Unfortunately it now leaks (even though I was careful to get the post-baby size). So not only am I messy and achey but my feeble attempts to be eco have been sabotaged as well. Maybe I should start experimenting with bags full of moss like that woman from the Victorian farm. Or maybe I should sit on a camel’s saddle and refuse to get up like Rachel in the bible.* Can anyone advise on whether one can get some quiet napping done on a camel’s saddle?

*Genesis 31


6 thoughts on “Messy

  1. Helen Conrad-O'Briain

    And ’twas all for an apple an apple that she toke
    As clerkes find writen in theire boke –
    Apologies to anonymous!

    1. kenanddot

      The copper coil I have is a rather old fashioned option. There’s a sort that gives a low hormonal dose that tends to leave you with no periods at all. I didn’t want that one because I wanted to avoid artificial hormones as far as possible, but it might have been a more comfortable solution. The dose isn’t high enough to interfere with breastfeeding.

  2. Lily Roth

    You should be happy that I’m not writing a blog right now! 😉 Messy would become REALLY gross.

    I think you were smart to choose the non-hormonal option, for what it’s worth. Hormones can cause too many problems. I speak from sad experience here. Unfortunately, all the options have their drawbacks, really.

    I am also quite annoyed with my body, which apparently thinks that chemo is not enough and that having heavy periods at the same time is somehow a good idea. This, despite me getting all the side-effects known to man. Sigh. How is this a good idea, body?

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