When You Both Bleed

By Hev

@howdoihev ✧mental health/body positivity✧ ⋆ writer & maker married to tloml ⋆ music/makeup/pyjamas/snacks ⋆ crime doc connoisseur ⋆ pro cannabis

December 13, 2020

Periods are tricky to navigate, everyone with a uterus knows this. Getting to know your own period is something that takes most of us years to get to grips with, from pain management to sanitary products to that all important favourite period snack – and then just when you think you’ve got the whole thing sussed, the little bleeder goes and changes on you. 

Having been diagnosed with endometriosis at the tender age of 15, I’ve been aware of the brutality of periods for more than half my life. My uterus has been a revolving door of medications, and I’ve gone from not having periods for months on end to having periods that last near six weeks. 

The only thing that’s predictable to me about my periods is that they’re so unpredictable.

I’ve been with my wife since I was 17, though we’ve been friends since the age of 11. She was always aware of my period struggles, and for the first year of our long distance relationship, navigating visits around periods was a real pain in the cervix. You’d probably guess that things got easier when we moved in together…

We’ve been together for just over 12 years now and it’s still sometimes such a bloody struggle – literally. 

Our bathroom constantly looks like the feminine hygiene aisle of a supermarket and we’ve got enough pain killers that would make any DEA agent suspicious. We’ve got more period knickers than we do sexy lingerie, and we’ve got each other’s favourite period snacks memorised. Yet still, after years and years and years of going through periods together, no two months are ever the same. 

Sometimes it’s not so bad. Sometimes, when the planets align just right, we both have short periods relatively close together, without too much pain or any ruined sets of bedding.

And sometimes it’s an absolute period poop show with PMS arguments galore, long painful periods full of waves of cramps that feel more like a tsunami, one person with an increased labido and the other feeling like a nun, one person eating everything in sight and the other nauseous at every whiff of food. 

To put it plainly, some months it feels like our lives are ruled by our periods.   

This can have multiple effects on a relationship, from emotional to financial. Yes, that’s right. For all those men complaining about Scotland and their free sanitary products. It might only be a couple quid a pack, but when there are multiple people with periods in a household and so many types of sanitary products out there, the chances of two of them having the exact same preference is pretty low. 

For just me, with my medication and product needs, my period costs me over £20 a month. That’s over £250 a year just for me, not including snacks, heat pads, ruined bedding/underwear, toilet roll, time off work. 

My endometriosis means sometimes I get really sick, which is pretty scary for my wife. Seeing someone you love in agony and knowing you can’t do anything to help is crappy, which often leaves us both emotional and miserable. 

Also, having to try and navigate a healthy sex life around two periods can be a nightmare. We don’t always sync up, and sometimes it can be a couple months until we’re able to be intimate again. 

To help, the both of us track our periods using tracker apps. This is good for helping us guestimate our period patterns, track pain levels and medication and how it affects our bodies. We also try to save a little each month, keep just a small amount to the side if any medical or snack emergencies arise. Believe me, sometimes the need for a breakfast McMuffin is indeed an emergency. We find different ways of being intimate, it’s not all about sex. Sometimes just holding each other, kissing, doing each others’ hair, and soft massages are all the physical contact we need. If someone isn’t feeling particularly in to sex that month, there are so many ways to still be close and show love and affection. 

So, when you both bleed it can be really frustrating for many different reasons, but, no matter the downfalls, it’s always nice to go through it with someone who understands.