Solo Pregnancy Scare

I am sixteen years old and am known as the female Salman Khan in my circles because of how I walk. Like Salman, I walk with a bloated chest, laughing and talking and teasing everyone that I am remotely friends with. I think my sense of confidence has a lot to do with how I carry myself. I am very comfortable in my skin and in who I am.

I am one of six siblings, two of whom are brothers and it won’t be wrong to say that I am more outgoing than them and demand equal treatment in everything offered to us siblings. This becomes a point of contention at home. I often feel that my family loves me, but doesn’t like me much for being so outspoken. I get into a lot of trouble with my father specifically and as much as sometimes I hate my life, I also know that I am not wrong in demanding a better life for myself as a girl and also working for it. It upsets me how all chores are divided in my house based on gender – my sisters are in charge of doing all the domestic chores like cooking, cleaning, mopping and my brothers are in charge of all the work happening outside our home, like buying groceries, paying for bills, etc. I am a female athlete, I play ultimate frisbee, I have travelled much more than anyone in my family owing to the various tournaments my team participates in. I also work as a youth coach for the organization that coaches me in my sport, so I contribute to my family’s income too. I have a cycle and through my friends, I have learned to ride a scooter as well as a bike. I am currently the most educated person in my family although I am studying in the tenth grade. I enjoy and am also good at helping out with chores outside the house but just because I am a girl, I am expected to wash dishes and cook for my family and that upsets me. I am often tagged as the wayward, uncultured, and shameless girl in my family, who is bound to bring disgrace to our family’s reputation. These fights often affect my eating habits. On most days I am too upset to eat and sometimes even imagine what life will be like if I ran away from home.

Anyway, coming back to my period story, I would often think of periods as unnecessary trouble that I was cursed with. Apart from the period’s related pain, I particularly dislike wearing napkins. They make me feel uncomfortable and affect my intentions to run during my sports coaching sessions. I wished there were months when I did not get my periods. This was much before I learned to be careful of what I wished for…

A couple of years back, there came a time when I missed my cycle twice in a row and I was scared. I was scared that I was pregnant and didn’t know how to share this with my mother. As it is they had expected the worst out of me, but having their unmarried teenage daughter pregnant was the last thing they would have imagined…

I felt very lonely back then and longed to be able to speak to someone about this but couldn’t think of a single friend who would listen without being judgmental. I hadn’t had anyone talk to me about periods, so I did not know why we get it. I just knew that it happens every month, that it was uncomfortable, there is a list of things that we are not supposed to do during our periods, and that missing period means a sign of pregnancy. I did not have a boyfriend and neither was I sexually active, it puzzled me how I could get pregnant by myself, but I was convinced that I was because that is what I heard. I lost a lot of weight within the next few weeks. I was looking for answers and hoping to escape a beating that was awaiting me.

It was during this time that we started having deeper conversations on Periods at our frisbee center. We had a workshop, to begin with, followed by more conversations with our coach and also among us girls. I did not have it in me to discuss my predicament with anyone at the moment. I just tried to follow everything that was shared. It occurred to me that YouTube has a lot of informative videos too, so I typed out my problem there and found a video that shared how stress and poor eating habits could also impact our menstrual cycle. I immediately began to work on myself. I started eating more regularly, especially the dal and leafy vegetables that my mother made, and worked harder on avoiding fights at home and at keeping happy. I got my periods after two months and my happiness knew no bounds! I never again asked for my periods to not come and still have a good laugh at how convinced I was back then that I was pregnant.