In the before times, when showing up at an office was not just a norm but a mandate, I went to work as most people do on the second day of my period, or as I like to call it, The Worst Day of My Life That Takes Place Every Month. It was the kind of pain that makes getting a root canal seem like child’s play and I was so unwell that I would go into the bathroom and lay down on the floor every hour for five minutes to try and pull it together. Was laying down in a shared single-occupant bathroom in an office space in Greenpoint the best way to handle a bad period? No. But when the options are call in sick over a period or sit an office and pray for the sweet release of death, the answer is obvious.
According to a survey conducted by Womanizer, a company that sells sex toys, people who menstruate find that it “is not socially accepted” to miss work due to a painful period. Of the 470 people surveyed, 47 percent “think that their employers will find period pain as an invalid reason to call in sick to work,” and a majority of respondents felt uncomfortable asking for the time because they were concerned about having to obtain medical proof of their pain and discomfort. My insides are falling out of my body, what more proof does anyone need?
I suppose now, the one positive thing to come out of working from home is during my personal dark time, I can stay in bed and let the warmth of my overheating laptop function as a heating pad for my abdomen. But as sure as the sun rises, people who menstruate are being summoned back to offices where they will once again have to suffer and bleed in a shared space while pretending they are not suffering or bleeding for the comfort of others.
Have you ever called out of work for a bad period? How’d that conversation go? Let us know in the comments and we’ll compile the best/most fraught answers for your perusal tomorrow.