'I'm on my period', 'it's my moontime' or simply 'I'm tired' or 'I'm feeling unwell'. I've used them all, or none at all. Suffering silently either at work or (usually less silently) at home.
Nothing has ever felt as empowering as the email I sent this month saying 'I'm on menstrual leave'.
There's a sense of glorious entitlement about it. Of authority. Of dignity.*
And, at home, on menstrual leave - much like being on annual leave - it's suddenly easier to leave the to-do list, to actually stop looking at emails, and to explain your way around guilt-free of why you need extra support.
The more of us that claim what is rightfully ours, the more empowering it will be.
The real revolution will come when husbands (or wives) and all those supporting someone menstruating also auto-reply to emails with On Menstrual Leave, since they too are so integral to taking on the extra load at home (and with child care) for those 3-5 days. What a world that would be. Vive la menstrual revolution!
I'm on menstrual leave. I deserve this, I'm entitled to it.
If you suffer with menstrual pain, you should be covered by statutory sick leave to have days off around your period. Your company does not need a specific menstrual leave policy. Please also seek help from your doctor.
If you do not suffer with menstrual pain but menstruate, you can inspire others by suggesting a menstrual leave policy that isn't related to pain but simply to the human need for regular deep rest. Flexi-policies also cover this if menstrual leave is still taboo in your workplace.
For more information on the history of menstrual leave, please see the brilliant series of menstrual leave blogs by leading researcher, Sally King.
*Entitlement. Authority. Dignity. The three pillars of menstrual wisdom as decreed by Red School philosophers Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlizer.