My Story: Wishing I Had Knowledge of Menstrual Cycles at a Younger Age

By Saniya Ghanoui —

L describes how she felt before acquiring all the knowledge she has now about her body and menstrual cycle.

Note: L is a native French speaker. Instances of improper English grammar are not typos of the transcript processor. 


OBOS Today: Before you have that support and all that information and resources, were you more fearful or nervous about the process of giving birth and having a child. On the other hand, when you did get that information, did you feel more prepared and ready for that experience?

L: Yeah. Also, it was a bit of, a bit of a mystery because I like in my family, and in my culture it’s a bit of a taboo to speak about birth. It’s almost like women, I’ve heard women say to me, like, you can only understand it like after you’ve given birth. But there is like very little to be said before and I was, I was craving and feeling that I was really missing something. And, um, I had two abortions before I gave birth, I had my, I got pregnant two times with different partners when I was younger. And it’s interesting because, kind of, I mean, I don’t believe in, in French we say “le hasard.” I don’t know if there is an English word for it, it means I don’t believe in coincidences maybe.

But I got my first abortion in the same hospital that that lady brought me to years later to give birth. And I own I only realized that when I arrived there to give birth was quite incredible to you know, to realize this, and again, Now, I, I years later I have a very good knowledge of my menstrual cycle, I can- I know exactly when I’m ovulating, I don’t like any contraception, any hormones. And it’s, yeah, I, I learned by observing and by have, having woman teaching me how to show me, like, how to observe myself and feel myself. I learned by cycles, but when I was a teenage girl, and I started having my periods. No one again, like, gave me that knowledge. I was put on a pill like very, very young, because just that’s just what was like, there was no question about it. It was like, “Oh you’re having periods, then you’re going to go on the pill,” and again, like, there is knowledge. But I had to go and really search and search for it, to find it. And it’s the same way, what I said about like pregnancy and searching for it. I wish, I wish this knowledge would just like, be taught at earlier ages.