How I Had A Period And Still Enjoyed My Holiday

How I Had A Period And Still Enjoyed My Holiday

Last month, I visited Finland and got my period mid-flight. Literally, I felt blood exit my vagina during some turbulence. Pretty wild, right? Luckily, I came prepared. This isn’t the first time my period has tried to catch me off guard. I was late the month before so who knew when it was going to arrive. It was due on a Wednesday and we flew out Monday. I had a feeling she was going to arrive early, so I packed some stuff in my hand luggage.

When I was younger, getting my period on holiday would have completely ruined it for me. In fact, I used to make sure it didn’t happen at all. When I was a teenager, I used to take the pill back to back. There was a time where I visited two countries in the space of two months and I didn’t have a break from the pill for three months. For those of you who aren’t aware: most pills are supposed to be taken for twenty one days, when the packet ends you wait seven days before starting your next packet. During this time, you should have your period.

As I get older, I find discussing birth control a bit more difficult. I have some pretty strong feelings towards it, but I would never tell a woman what to do with her body. In the past, I think I have definitely let my own personal feelings get in the way of a rational discussion. It’s important to remember that menstruation, sex, birth control, all these experiences are unique to us. What doesn’t work for you could transform somebody else’s life. However, taking the pill for three months was a fucking abysmal decision for me.

During these three months, I was a complete mess. My hormones were all over the place and I had no control over my body. I was miserable and the mood swings were unbearable. I ended up having a breakdown on one of those holidays, which was worse than any PMS I had ever experienced.

I’ve been birth control free, or condom-only, for over two years now. It was the best decision I ever made for myself; I feel empowered and my mental health has improved dramatically. During this time, I have somehow avoided having a period whilst I was away from home. Part of me was happy to experience a period abroad. I very much feel like a period shouldn’t stop you from living your life. I know this isn’t the case for everyone though, especially those who suffer from endometriosis and such. But personally, I think I should definitely push myself to do more whilst I bleed. Here’s how I enjoyed my holiday anyway…

I layered up

On my way to Finland, I completely bled through my tights and knickers. I put a cloth pad on once we landed, but the train ride and walk to the hotel was a little uncomfortable. Luckily, the trip required layering up anyway so I had lots with me. On my heaviest day, I wore two pairs of knickers, tights and leggings.

I planned toilet breaks

This sounds unrealistic, but it kind of worked. Where we were only in Finland for three days, we had a lot planned. There was a lot of walking involved, so between A and B I’d make time for a toilet break. Luckily as I was wearing a cup, I didn’t always need to change. This is a good tip if you’re using pads or tampons though.

I made myself sit down every now and then

Whenever there was a spare moment, I made sure I sat down and rested for a bit. I can get so low on energy when I’m on my period, especially when I’m heavy. If Iain was looking up directions, I’d sit somewhere and take some painkillers or something. I would be knackered by the time we got back to the hotel, but those little breaks sure helped.

I carried snacks

If you’re going to do any of these, make it this one! Iain threw a chocolate bar at me when I whined 😛

I made sure I didn’t overdo it

This was my main concern because we had a lot planned. On the last day, I was so heavy and low on energy. I was in good spirits, but my body was just not cooperating. We ended up cancelling our day plans and headed straight for the airport. We had a really good carb-loaded lunch there and I had a little nap on the plane. Again, this really helped. I also took a little power nap on a ferry at some point too.

I reminded myself of one thing

Ultimately, I tried to remind myself I came on this trip to have fun. I didn’t want to miss out and luckily I didn’t have to! I think I definitely got lucky this month and I’m so grateful I did. Although if our trip was any longer, I’m not sure how I would have held up. This period was definitely one of the worse ones, pain-wise.

See what we got up to here:

I know this isn’t a reality for everyone, but I’m really glad I was able to kind of prove myself wrong.

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8 Comments

  1. March 13, 2017 / 11:10 am

    You’re one of the people who influenced me to do the switch from napkins to a menstrual cup. I’m currently on the last day of my period and I’m so happy that I’m already a cup user. It’s been a relief and a life changing moment for me. 🙂

  2. March 13, 2017 / 12:41 pm

    Never thought about mens and travel before. You have it all figured out it seems, happy travelling! 🙂
    xx finja

  3. March 14, 2017 / 2:00 am

    Thanks for writing this. I can remember times where I took my pill back to back, and it was as you said, abysmal. I find that managing things away from home is so much easier now I have reusable menstrual products. Especially cups! It has been such a lifesaver being able to wear a cup for half a day before I need to think about emptying, and I’ve purposely bought a high capacity cup for days out. Good shout on having breaks.. that’s something I never think about but totally should!

  4. March 14, 2017 / 2:16 am

    Wow–that’s some good advice. Part of me has always wondered how a woman can really travel well with a period. I’ve never done much traveling, never even been on a plane, so there’s a lot I’m curious about. Also too broke to go anywhere but work and coffee shops right now…but not too broke to dream.

    Thanks for the advice. Hugs, and it sounds like you had fun!

  5. Curon
    March 23, 2017 / 5:29 pm

    Hello.

    I’m a guy and I don’t know much about this. I have a question for you about periods. Does it just happen or is there a slow buildup to where you can feel it coming? I guess you have a general idea of when it’s coming based on the time of the month, but how do you know when you’re in the thick of it?

    • Tara | C&CO.
      March 24, 2017 / 11:58 am

      A lot of people will feel ‘pre-menstrual’ before their period arrives. Symptoms can differ but most common ones are cramps, breaking out, feeling irritable, feeling hungrier. I actually did a post all about this that you might find useful: https://cattitudeandco.uk/pms-symptoms-people-dont-tell-you-about/

  6. March 25, 2017 / 10:56 am

    I love your blog so much and really enjoy reading these posts. I’ve never had a period on holiday or travelling because I took a pill that was designed for everyday use & therefore had no periods, but I came off them altogether in January. It’s been a very odd couple of months so far & my mood swings have been terrible but I’m hopeful that it will all settle down 🙂 Ellis x

    www.elliswoolley.blogspot.com

  7. April 2, 2017 / 3:12 pm

    I think you powered through so well! I’m such a whinger I’m not sure I could have done it. I’ve heard it’s a good idea to take a six month break from the pill if you’ve been taking it for a few years to re-balance, I can’t be bothered to go back to irregular unbelievably painful periods again. I think I’ll stick with the pill a bit longer lol… I’ve never taken the pill to skip a period though, even on holiday. I was on a family holiday somewhere hot and got my period once and just didn’t swim for the first few days and used tampons. As all I was doing was lying in the sun relaxing it was actually totally fine haha, I mean sunshine, lying down, and good food!

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