Poem about Period Pains|I Considered Impure for 5 Days
There is no such rule in the Nepali constitution that says that a mother and a child need to be separated from each other after she held that child inside of her womb for nine months.
So how come I have to believe that just menstruation, a natural process, must separate a mother from her daughter and a daughter from her mother once every month for at least five days?
Mom, you know your left hand is my pillow, and your right hand is my summer blanket. You know I am afraid of not seeing anyone by my side at night. Every time I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you wake up to be my company and you wait until I am done. I feel like I am inside your womb again. It’s safe and I can always keep dreaming.
But why this tradition is so cruel? My dreams of it are always waking me up.
Those sounds of dogs and foxes at night want to beat hard in my eardrums. I start shaking in the middle of the night. I want to hug you tight, Mom! But I find nobody by my side- neither my pillow nor my summer blanket. I can’t even turn on the light, it’s beyond my reach. All I can hear are those rough sounds and all I can feel are those rough, thin rags on the floor.
Mom, you know that the lupus that troubles me demands 10 times 30 pills a month. You know how much I suffer with the overflow of blood, back pains, stomach pains. And I always want your hands to massage my back, my waist and my stomach with a little mustard oil, and feed me during those five days.
But you always show me that rough muddy floor instead of a soft bed by your side.
You give me a separate plate, a separate glass for five days. I carry it myself and stay behind our kitchen’s door. “Don’t cross the line,” You say. Then it feels like a knife stabbing my heart. I get emotional. Yes, you are my real mother, you gave me a place to stay inside of your womb for nine months. You fed me from your breast. But now you don’t feel comfortable giving me a small space in your kitchen, a side at your bed for five days.
I was only 12 when I started hating the five days.
Now, I am turning 20 and I still hate those five days.
It’s January, I am waiting for the five days.
It’s December, I am waiting again for those five days.
Sometimes I think,
I realize that changing the world- just like turning on the lights- is beyond my reach. But I am yet to change my mom.
Then all I can see in front of me are question marks. Not just a single one, but so many????
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Deepa Bohara performing ‘Five Days’ at GIZ Menstruations Summit in 2018
Written By: Deepa Bohara in 2017