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This Ecuadorian Wants Girls To Feel Comfortable With Their Period, So She Wrote A Beautiful Book To Walk Them Through It

Do you remember having your period for the first time? Were you relieved, scared, or confused? Did you think you could bleed to death, or believe that you couldn’t swim or go to gym class? Did you hear someone make joking references to women being “nasty” and think, “I’ll die of embarrassment if anyone knows?” Did you feel like you were prepared? This Ecuadorian writer wants girls to reconcile with their bodies, so she wrote a book to walk girls through menstruation.

In a world that is increasingly progressive, menstruation is often still a taboo subject.

More often than not, what information girls do hear around their bodies is often negative or incorrect, and even school health classes that discuss the subject often focus on the theoretic and biological “systems” that make it work, without ever touching on the real, practical experience of a monthly cycle. As a result a girl’s first period is still likely to be disconcerting for her.

Ecuadorian academic and menstrual educator-turned-author Paulina Vásquez Quirola wrote a book on the subject.

Taking readers on a fantastical trip between awakened states and lucid dreams she tells the story of a girl’s reconciliation with her changing body.

The book, published in Spanish, walks girls through the mystical celebrations of the female body.

From classroom scenes, where periods are shamed, to celebrations in mystical women’s circles, the book offers an alternative to the negative connotations that menstruation still holds in schools when it comes to periods.

The book talks about the ancient Andino wisdom surrounding menstruation.

‘Tribu de Mujeres’, illustrated by José Rafael Delgado, explains the wisdom of the Andes transmitted by elderly women like its protagonist, Abuela Killa. When passed on from one generation to the next, young people learn that menstruation reveals the creative urge and cyclic nature of all living beings and life itself.

Parents, friends and teachers can make the experience a much more positive experience.

By providing girls with accurate information, real-life experience, and practical advice, they can learn to view their menstrual cycle in a totally different way: as an important element of their female nature. “I discovered the importance of understanding ourselves cyclically, of understanding ourselves as part of nature, as part of a whole,” explains Vásquez. “I think that is one of the big issues. Modernity and the system in which we live makes us disconnect from ourselves, from others in the sense of community and nature, the universe, from something much bigger.”

An important way to make girls more comfortable with menstruation is to make sure that they have accurate information.

Not just about how and why it works, but also on the day-to-day, real life business of it. “We live it as something tiresome, as something exhausting. So it’s like, shit, it came! It’s time again! When is it over? Many of us have that negative view of our cycle,” says Vásquez. The more comfortable women and girls are with our own bodies, the more we will learn to handle both the first mentruation, and the ongoing experience.

Tribu de Mujeres is available in Spanish. Visit Vientres Libres to get a copy.

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