The Monthly - Rayna Lele

Finally, a candid conversation about periods. We get it. Periods are personal. Choosing empowerment over embarrassment, we’re here to give a real-life lesson on menstrual cycles and our bodies.  And what better way to do that than from hearing stories about periods from our colleagues, friends and people we have met on this incredible journey. So join us as we talk about- yep, you guessed it - periods. #leaveyourstain


Who are you (we’d love to get to know you!) and what are your pronouns?

Rayna Lele, She/Her.      


How did you first learn about periods?

I first learned about periods when I was around 10 years old. My elder sister got hers, and I caught sight of her stained underwear. I remember being quite shocked that I would have to get used to bleeding - till then, blood was associated with bruises and getting hurt! It was after this that my mum sat the two of us down and explained the menstrual cycle.


Do you remember your first period conversation? Who was it with and what was that like? 

After first learning about what periods are from my mum, I wasn’t sure what to do with the information. Was it a secret? Did everyone know? Did boys know this happened? Was I allowed to talk about it with my friends? After wondering for quite a while about whether or not to bring it up with my friends, I gingerly asked one of them, one evening. After getting over that hurdle, things were great. She and I ended up speaking for quite a while about periods - how long they last, when they first occurred, what symptoms different people felt, etc. We also felt great about being able to tell each other when we were on our periods, and stand up for each other when playing sports and the like.


When did you get your first period?

A little later than most people I know. I got mine soon after turning 16.


How was it? What happened?

I felt quite odd for not having my period for so many years while my friends did, so by the time it arrived, I had been ready and waiting. More than anything else, I was relieved that my system was functioning normally. I was also pleasantly surprised to not have painful cramps, but I remember feeling hyper-aware of myself at all times. I wanted to keep checking if I stained or leaked, and would always look at where I sat or lay down, to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind.


Do you try to take extra care of yourself while on your period? If so, how?

I make sure I do take a little extra time for myself on period days. Earlier, I used to try staying in bed for most of the first day. More recently I’ve been caring for myself by practicing yoga. On the days that I feel slightly more down than usual, I do some relaxing yoga, taking a extra time to move slowly and breathe deeply. I find that I come out of it feeling calmer and fresher. I finish off this little ritual with a warm shower.


What are your favourite period products?

I’m unsure about whether this counts as a period product, but I really enjoy period tracking apps. Having irregular periods myself, it’s easy to lose track of when the last one was and when to expect the next. Trackers really help with this, along with monitoring symptoms, moods, and recognizing their patterns. My app also reminds me to drink water every couple of hours!



Have the last challenging months affected your period and if so, how did you best navigate?

It has not. Instead, with being indoors as much as I am now, it has become easier to eat healthier and maintain a better workout routine with having more time. This has been helping regularize my period, along with being a little more at ease and comfortable when it does come along. 

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