Despite it being 2023, period shaming is still a serious problem that people face around menstruating, period pain, and product accessibility.
That said, another person shouldn’t necessarily have to interact with a person’s period without giving their consent, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
While visiting her mother-in-law’s home for multiple family events, Redditor Plastic-Ad-5568 was unequipped for her period to start early, especially with her menstruation complications.
When her mother-in-law wanted her to make the long drive home, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong to accommodate her own needs.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for free bleeding at my Mother-in-Law’s house?”
The OP believed in “free bleeding” while menstruating.
“To start, free bleeding is essentially not wearing any form of protection on your period (so you are bleeding freely; the clue’s in the name).”
“I’m currently staying at my Mother-in-Law’s (MIL’s) house with my husband for a family get-together (there are six birthdays in one week).”
The OP struggled in the past to find feminine products that worked for her.
“I have horrifically painful periods and bad mobility.”
“I cannot use cups and am allergic to all brands of pads I’ve used (causing rashes on all genitalia, which does not feel good).”
“I do have cloth pads but I only brought a couple of small ones for my trip as I wasn’t due until days after we got home, but we’re on day four of our trip, and I started my period on our first night.”
“I tried to use some disposable pads I picked up, but I broke out in a rash and have blisters everywhere they should not be, so two days ago, I decided to say what the h**l and free bleed as I do at home.”
“I bring my own towels to my MIL’s, so I have been sitting and sleeping on those. I have bled through twice but cleaned the mess and left no stain.”
The OP’s mother-in-law was thoroughly disgusted.
“My MIL is p**sed off, to say the least.”
“She’s disgusted by my lack of decorum and carrying my bloody towel around everywhere. She also hates that I’m washing them in her machines and is now saying we need to pay to have them professionally cleaned (which we will do).”
“Everything kinda came to a head last night when she lost it on me for ‘behaving like an animal.'”
“She wants me to leave but for my husband stay, which isn’t possible (we only have one car, and I can’t drive that far, especially not with the amount of pain I’m in).”
The OP felt conflicted after that.
“My husband is doing damage control, but I just feel so s**tty.”
“Am I in the wrong here? I understand that it’s not super sanitary, but my health matters more than some bed sheets. I’ll replace them if she wants.”
“I’m close to just gritting my teeth through the pain and putting a pad on, but I really don’t want to. I don’t want open sores down there when we’re driving home. Sitting for that long will suck.”
“Am I in the wrong here? I feel like I’m choosing the lesser of two evils, but now I don’t know.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some were shocked anyone was calling the OP the AH.
“NTA. OP, I highly suggest you update your post with the following details that I’ve read in your comments:”
“You’ve been SITTING IN YOUR ROOM FOR 10+ HOURS A DAY, have not sat anywhere, you’re bleeding into towels, facing pain, six hours away from home, are FORCED TO GO OUT OF THE ROOM BY YOUR MIL because she won’t allow you to eat on the room you’re confined into, and the only reason why you’re not leaving is because your husband wants to see his dying grandfather before you guys leave.”
“Your MIL is not disgusted by your clothes because you’re going around the place bleeding carelessly, but because you have to change them even when you’re confined in your room, and you’re not literally bleeding on the floor or the furniture, you’re bleeding inside your room’s bathroom.”
“I think adding this to your post will help clarify some opinions in the comments.”
“Your MIL is shaming you while you’re doing what you can. The only reason the rest of the family found out about your bleeding is because MIL is also shaming you in front of your husband’s family. She’s clearly an a**hole.”
“I’m also deeply sorry about what you’re going through.”
“For those people that are comparing period bleeding to going to the bathroom, it’s not the same at all. I understand that no one wants someone deliberately bleeding all over any of their furniture or bed sheets, whatever kind of bleeding that may be, but that’s literally not what you’re doing.”
“Even if you wore pads, you could’ve accidentally bleed through a couple of times. And the women that are comparing their periods to yours are truly not helping at all.”
“I, for once, just found out at 28 years of age there are period panties by scrolling through these comments (granted, I do live in a third-world country). And I wouldn’t dare try them in your situation, risking more blisters or a possible infection. I don’t care what anyone else says about those because all hoohaas are unique and we can’t hold someone else to our own bodily standard.”
“Lastly, I think your husband shouldn’t allow your MIL to mistreat you. To me that is a deal breaker (that could be just me, you do you), and I think you should have a serious talk about this once things calm down a little bit.” – Special-Succotash-64
“I think NTA. Yes, you’re doing this in someone else’s house, but this was NOT intentional, and you physically cannot control your period or your allergies.”
“I understand both sides, but I think in this situation you are not the a**hole.” – Hot_Brush988
“I struggle the same with these products, and the best alternative I could find was period pants. Is there any way you could get them overnighted from Amazon or go to a Walmart that carries them? For future events maybe?”
“I mean, this is a big struggle, and not being able to sit because you’re in so much pain from blisters, and then not being able to stand because of cramps… I feel like ‘cramps’ is too mild of a words…”
“How about the fires of Mount Doom is burning your uterus from the inside out in waves, while a velociraptor is actively mauling you in the back, and then if that’s not enough; shooting pains in your legs that are so painful, each step you take feels like you’ve impaled your leg on a six-foot blade.”
“You’ve been accommodating and trying not to damage her things with the best equipment you have at your disposal and offered to pay any damages. It came early and you tried your best.”
“Periods should not be shamed and she seems to be from a generation that was taught that it is some sort of dirty thing. It was just an unfortunate f**k-you from mother nature that it came early. I hate that for you.”
“NTA for having your period but you need to respect another person’s house.” – Appropriate_Dirt_285
“HOLY S**T. I can’t believe people are calling you the a**hole.”
“This isn’t you free bleeding at some stranger’s house. This is your MIL who is your FAMILY. You’re having a biological function you have no control over, and it’s unfair to be in pain just because people feel icky about blood.”
“NTA strongly. There are so many reasons why period products don’t work for people or why constant leakage happens.”
“I remember when my friend free-bled at a party. They just had something they were going to the OB-GYN to figure out still. She sat on a plastic bag and it didn’t bother anyone. People have things going on with health and no one gets to pass judgment on that.”
“I think it’s disgusting how your MIL shamed you. Would she rather you be in pain? Period blood is not that dramatic. It’s one small cup coming out through the course of a day. Easily absorbed by a towel.”
“This woman is your family. If I had a daughter-in-law who had to free bleed due to health reasons, I would not question it. It’s common to experience wacky periods for all kinds of reasons including sexual trauma. She should not have spoken the way she did to you.” – gigpig
“No, you’re NTA, and wow, to all these people who have no idea what this medical issue is like.”
“Until I had a hysterectomy, I bled so heavily that it turned cancerous twice, I frequently had blood transfusions, and was in tremendous pain all the time. No medication could stop it, and, in fact, gave me dangerous blood clots. No amount of sanitary products could contain it (though I tried; I wasn’t allergic).”
“People didn’t take me seriously, so I’ve had to work my jobs through bleeding to the point of delivering presentations while it ran down my legs, or getting it on my office floor, or getting it onto the seat during a flight. I’ve ruined clothes, furniture, the seat of my car, sheets, towels, etc. It took 20 years of this before I could get the hysterectomy.”
“She wants the washing machine professionally cleaned? Seriously? That’s f**king ridiculous. And sitting on a towel… what does she think menstrual pads are?”
“Menstruation and women’s bodies aren’t gross. Would people be so quick to judge if this was a man with colon cancer wearing a colostomy bag?”
“What a lack of empathy. What a betrayal by another woman. Go home, and don’t bother having relationships with people who are disgusted by you having a disability that you can’t control. I hope you find some relief for your menstrual problems.” – ShoeWonderful5905
But others couldn’t believe the OP thought she could possibly be NTA.
“NTA. I also feel it’s reasonable to s**t on the carpet because the toilet seat is cold.” – Accomplished-Tax-886
“That’s so f**king disgusting; I can’t. I do not know on what planet OP thinks they’re NTA.”
“Blood is considered a biohazard. Walking around in it all over clothes and then a wet towel that she continues to sit on is… I cannot.”
“The sight, the smell, this is just offensive. Periods are totally normal, but ‘free bleeding’ is unsanitary and frankly disgusting.”
“Next-day shipping is a thing. Go home or order what you need. Just going ‘f**k it’ in someone else’s home is completely unacceptable (and pretty gross in one’s own). In this case, I can’t understand how your husband ISN’T siding with his mother.”
“YTA.” – birdsofpaper
“The point in ‘creating all the extra laundry’ is so that you’re not bleeding all over someone else’s home. That’s disgusting for others and you’re being very selfish.”
“The fact that you think there’s even a chance that you’re NTA in this situation is actually insane.”
“It is a biohazard, and you’re not willing to do everything you can to not bleed all over her house. You have options: Leave (both you and your husband), go stay at a hotel, or create extra laundry. This really is a no-brainer.”
“I feel for your medical issues, but now you’re making it other people’s issue.” – nagem-
“My first knee-jerk reaction was, ‘Oh my god, how gross,’ and then it was, ‘Dang, I kinda feel a little bad for her,’ which I’m sure is the main reaction she wanted everyone to have so as to vote her NTA.”
“But then it’s followed by, ‘Wow, that’d be so embarrassing…’ Even as an adult with grown kids, I try to hide the fact that I’m on my period from everyone, down to discreetly tucking used feminine products under tp in the trash IN MY OWN HOME.”
“I couldn’t imagine walking around with a bloody towel to sit on at someone else’s home so EVERYONE KNOWS.”
“What the f**k. YTA.” – AssignmentFit461
“I was thinking at first NTA, but it’s pretty rude and unsanitary to just free bleed in someone else’s home. So YTA.”
“I also think you should try the other period products, which you hadn’t mentioned, like tampons and period underwear.” – Lama-Lover-233
Everyone could empathize with period pain, other complications, and even the OP not being properly equipped for her period to start early while hours away from her home.
But most argued that this was not reason enough to go the route of free bleeding in someone else’s home, especially without their consent.
There were other products that the OP could try that could be overnight shipped, or else, maybe this was a situation where attending all of those birthday parties simply wasn’t a possibility.