What It’s Really Like To Get Your Period Back + How To Finally Stop Dreading It

Image: @vinaysomanna

It had been a year since I had my period last. Like many others enduring the physical faults of anorexia, one of the many losses in my eating disorder was my womanhood. My eating disorder took pride in my emaciation. “Look at you,” it would say, “now you are sick.” It accomplished something that was not so easy: a milestone towards my gravestone.

On Sunday, June 4, 2017, my eating disorder lost the physical memento it was holding so tight to. I finally got my period back.

My initial feeling was disgust. How could I let myself gain back so much weight? Did I lose my willpower? I couldn’t help but tear up. I was beyond devastated.

Embracing womanhood

Then, light peeked through the sky of puffy, grey clouds. I got my womanhood back. What allows me the strength and inhumanly human miracles that women possess has been blessed upon me again. In an era when we are striving for gender inequality, women need to recognize the power within ourselves, and no eating disorder is going to take that from me.

In 2017, women are conditioned to undergo their periods in secrecy. The red that symbolizes our fertility is deemed gross and shameful. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only subject we hear similar messages about.

The way the female body is naturally shaped has become “out of style.” The stretch marks on our bodies are “unsightly”, the width of our childbearing hips are “not fit for skinny jeans”. In fact, we would look better in “a slimming pair of trousers.” This is a message beyond the world of eating disorders and is perpetuated by what is still a primarily male dominated society.

Well, I’m sick and tired of being patronized for something that should be celebrated. I am taking my womanhood back and wearing it on my sleeve.

At this point in recovery, ED is scared. Intimidated, even. He will grab at whatever he can to lure you back in. Don’t stop now, don’t let him take away this accomplishment, don’t let him pick away at your femininity like our society already has. I am proud of the weight I gained back and all the blessings I gained with it.

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3 Comments

  • I am so proud of my grand daughter in writing this article about her womanhood. She inspires me as an older woman we will be successful in this world together. Granny Go

  • Thank you so much Odessa for writing this! I am still waiting for my cycle to return after three plus years. I understand the conflicting emotions surrounding your period, and I am so proud of you and a teensy bit jealous. Did you have to do any hormone treatment or was your recovery enough to convince your period to come back?

    • Hi Lena,
      Thank you so much for your support! My period came back naturally (no hormones) shortly after reaching weight restoration. The timing was quite telling of what recovery does to your body. I’d say that recovery is absolutely enough to have your period return, as long as your body has restored. It should come within six months of restoration. If not, I would recommend talking to your Primary Care Provider or your Gynecologist.
      Best Wishes,
      Odessa Ernst

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