We need rituals to help ease the pain of unwanted periods

<span>Photograph: FG Trade/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: FG Trade/Getty Images

I am currently having my 10th unwanted period in a row. There are all sorts of reasons a period might be unwanted: you are on a long train journey; you had a period two weeks ago; you are camping; it’s your wedding day, you are wearing white and Don’t Stop Me Now has just come on across the dancefloor. In this case, however, I had hoped to be pregnant.

When it comes to unwanted periods – particularly the ones that let you know that once again your womb has made like an outbuilding and shed – I would like to see some better rituals. Better cards. Better parties. A friend could arrive at your house with a box of eggs and take you to the nearest wood or car park, where you could spend a cathartic 10 minutes throwing the eggs at a wall, or a tree trunk, or the ground, while screaming.

We could exchange “Sorry You’re Bleeding” cards. We could mark these unwanted periods with shared meals, sunrise walks, a piece of jewellery, so those in the know would treat you accordingly. We could introduce book swaps, or free entry at boxing gyms. We could be given a day off work to dig a really big hole somewhere it’s needed. There could be badges and night runs and very, very soft red bedding. We could design an app that would send out a notification to five chosen contacts, so you don’t have to tell everyone individually.

One month, when I was yet again not pregnant, I took another not-pregnant friend of mine out dancing. Believe me, you have never seen a woman lose it on a dancefloor like me, two days into a new menstrual cycle, wearing leggings that looked like the night sky. But as I shook myself into a new shape, the music pounding through my body, my eyes closed, I was glad to be doing something. I had marked the occasion.

• Nell Frizzell is the author of Holding the Baby: Milk, Sweat and Tears from the Frontline of Motherhood

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