“What’s your most embarrassing moment?”
Have you ever been asked this question? Maybe at a party, get together, or just by a good friend? At the least—we’ve all thought about it. We all KNOW what it may be. Do I dare share mine? It’s humiliating … not just embarrassing. There’s nothing funny about it. I still feel a slimy knot in the pit of my stomach when I think about it. I try not to think about it … so … if I write about it today, I guess I’ll feel nauseated all day long.
Okay, here I go …
Any mother knows how it takes several months to get through the baby-hormone situation and start to feel somewhat normal again. Then, there’s your period. The dreaded period. Don’t even pretend you know how this story will unfold! Remember the junior high fear of starting your period and not being prepared? This goes waaaay beyond that.
It takes a while for the menstrual cycle to jumpstart again, but it does—you know it will. After each of my two boys, I started having a period again six months after they were born. I breastfed each of my babies, a year each, and as they started eating more and more solid food around six months old, that’s when my period would show itself.
Enter, my daughter … precious little love bug that she is. Maybe it’s the third child syndrome (3 children + ages 5 and under = mush mind). Maybe it was the hustle and bustle of the school year beginning. Maybe it was the tremendous amount of fundraising I was doing at the time for my moms’ group with baby and toddler and kindergartener, all in-tow. I don’t know. But, I wasn’t in the mode of thinking about any other distractions, that’s for sure.
Second week of school. Dropping my kinder off. Dropping my three-year-old off. Running around like a crazy woman getting donations from stores and restaurants in my one and half hour block of time. Racing back to pick up said three year old … all with baby, eating, sleeping, changing, strolling—happy as a clam.
There we sat … baby, three-year-old, me. Our family minivan. Parked. Waiting for kinder to be released from the playground gate. I feed the baby. I feed the three-year-old. The dismissal bell rings. I have the coveted parking spot—directly in front of the gate. I get out of the car and run up to the gate. I wait, as the stampede of little school kids subside. There he is. Hi, sweetie! (Hug, kiss.) How was your day? We get back in the car. We drive home. Gosh, I don’t think I went to the restroom all day. So busy. Gotta go now!
Get the kids out of the car, into the house and settled. I run upstairs to my bathroom and … low and behold! My period? More like an exclamation mark! Not a little whisper of a visit. Not even a loud “hey!” When I looked down, I nearly fainted. It could have been from blood-loss. Seriously. It looked like I had been shot in the pelvis. Blood was everywhere. I could barely think straight. I cleaned myself up as much as I could. Forget it. I got in the shower. I washed. I cried. I was shaking. I could not believe what had just transpired.
I called my husband. I cried. Why had no one helped me at school? I called my sister. I cried. People had to have seen me in this state. I felt sick to my stomach. (As I do right now, just thinking about it.) To add insult to my “injury” I had to drive back to the school for a “Room-Parent Tea.” Ugh. What else could I do? It was my first child’s kindergarten year and I wanted to be that parent to do it all. So I made sure everyone was fed, pottied, changed, and clean. Then we got back in the minivan (sniff, I even had to clean up the driver’s seat). We got to the school. I felt as if a 1000-watt light bulb was on me, but I clenched my teeth and went into the cafeteria and met with the teachers and fellow parents. Why didn’t anyone help me just hours before this? I was, obviously, for the world to see, in distress.
How many times have I re-lived that day in my mind? Countless. How could it have gone differently? What would I have done if I had witnessed another mom in my bloody situation? I tell you now, six years later, what I would have done. I would go up to that young mother, place my arm around her shoulder and shuffle her to the nearest restroom—with force, if necessary. I would do that. I will do that if I ever see anything like that happen.
As I finish my story, I fortunately, am breathing a sigh of relief now. It happened. But, it’s past history. The minivan is gone. My oldest is now in middle school. And, though I still make all those drop-offs and pick-ups at that same old school, I can rest in the fact that many, if not all of the parents who may remember that awful and humiliating exposure, have moved on with their children.