A Bloody Shame

Normally I would start a post like this apologising for the content. I’m not going to do that today because this is something that I don’t think I should be sorry for talking about. PS I will apologise for the awful pun of a title.

Two hours into my shift on Saturday, I realised that despite being fully prepared given the situation, I had bled through my pants and my trousers. I realised this while I was stood at the desk of one of my team leaders asking for advice on a situation with a customer, and I was mortified. I quickly adjusted how I was stood, rushed the conversation and dashed to the toilets, where I promptly burst into tears in a cubicle.

Two minutes of hormone and embarrassment fuelled sobbing later, I pulled myself together enough to attempt to think clearly. Despite all the team leaders in being women, which is a wonderfully rare occurrence, I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone what had happened. I wanted to go home, but there was no way I was going to admit the reason for needing to leave, so instead I cleaned myself up as best I could, and thanked my lucky stars that I was wearing loose trousers with a fairly jazzy pattern so the patch of red on my crotch wasn’t visible unless someone was paying close attention to it. I wrapped my big cardigan around myself and went on with the rest of my day.

As the day went on, and with every time I had to leave my desk for whatever reason, only to be very careful of how my cardigan was hanging and if I was walking quick enough that no one would be able to focus on me long enough to potentially spot my red spot, I couldn’t help feeling ashamed on more than one level.

Why could I not just admit to someone at work what was going on? I could have gone home, changed and been back within 15 minutes, but the fear of having someone that I work with know about my little ‘accident’ meant I sat and spent my day on edge. But on the other side I couldn’t stop thinking: why should I be ashamed?

Periods are a natural and normal part of life for women, yet for as long as I can remember, I’ve been made to feel embarrassed by them. It was embarrassing learning about them at school, and embarrassing when you had to miss swimming because of them, or when you had to ask around to see if anyone had a spare pad or tampon when you got caught out.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not really ever embarrassed to be on my period. I’ll tell my friends if I’m having really bad cramps, and have no issue asking for supplies from people in the office these days, but that’s not what this is about. Its not to do with how we see our own periods, but how other people do. While no one at work seemed to notice my stain today, I would have almost liked to see how different people reacted. Would I be met with pity and support, or would there be whispers when I walk away? I shouldn’t have to question this. I was too ashamed to share my problem with someone else, and that’s not ok.

No its not ideal having a patch of blood on your trousers but also why should it be a problem if you do? Its not your fault if Mother Nature calls early, or you’ve sat awkwardly and therefore a leak has occurred. Its not by choice, its just life and I’m so done with people being judgemental about it.

Let’s end this stigma.

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10 thoughts on “A Bloody Shame

  1. Oh gosh, I had this exact situation happen to me. I was in my first week training at Disney and bled right through my khaki pants (I guess you would call them trousers?). I couldn’t leave because I had carpooled that morning and didn’t want to tell anyone because we were all still new and in our first week. Luckily I just had to keep my legs pressed together tightly the rest of the day, but man. It was mortifying. I wish us women could be more open about these things.

    • Exactly! Why should we have to feel so uncomfortable about it just because it’s seen as embarrassing to tell someone?

  2. Love a bit of period positivity 🙂
    You’re so right, we should be more open about it. Even though most of us probably feel pretty comfortable about it all, and logically we know it’s completely natural and therefore nothing to be embarrassed about, I think we’re all so used to the way periods are discussed as shameful by others, and we’ve kind of absorbed (excuse the pun!) the attitude.
    Good for you for writing such an honest post x

  3. The same thing happened to me, I bled through my pad, pants, tights, extra safety pants, dress and onto the chair in my office job in London. I was mortified and everyone in my office was convinced I was having a miscarriage. I was due to be in a really important meeting but I had to make my excuses and send an awkward email the next day and sit on a metro newspaper on the tube home. You carried on like an warrior and I think you are brilliant for writing this post. Hats off to Hun xxx

  4. Well done for sharing! Unfortunately I think everyone has had one memory like this that we would prefer not to think about, but it happens to nearly every woman so nothing to be ashamed about! A few years back, two women ran the London Marathon without any tampons or pads. They had blood showing, but they finished the marathon – so who was the real winner? So inspirational!


  5. I think it’s something that has happened to a lot of us, but we’re embarrassed to talk about it.
    I suffered for years (literally years, about 10)with pain, too scared to say anything and wondering if every body else suffered the same and I was just a wimp. It wasn’t till I was at a party in Matthew’s sister’s house. There were at least six doctors there that I knew and probably a lot more. I sat in a chair curled up in pain wanting to go home. One of her friends who is met a few times came over and asked if I was ok. In tears I told him no, I was in pain and wasn’t this normal. No, it’s not, he said. He asked a few more questions and suggested what might be wrong. He wasn’t high enough up to get me a slot in with his boss, but suggested I get to my GP and get an appointment for the hospital.
    Luckily I had a great doctor who sorted it out and over the years, I saw him a few more times.. He’s now Clinical Director of Woman and Children’s services in Glasgow. When Louise had her son, she said that I knew Alan and the midwife said he was in the unit that day, so she went off to get him. He was really chuffed that all was well

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