When I was in my very early twenties a friend told me a story about someone we knew who I will call Mr K. She explained that he was in a bad mood. He was in a bad mood every month because his wife got upset when she got her period. My friend had to spell it out to me - Mrs K was upset because getting her period meant she was not pregnant. The couple had no children.
I was young, I had just left university and although I was in a relationship with S we were years away from thinking about having children. It was a bit of a revelation to me that to someone trying to get pregnant getting your period wasn't just a minor inconvenience. Even after my friend had explained the situation I don't think I truly understood how upset the couple might have been. They could just try again next month right? And what difference is a month or two anyway? And isn't it easy to get pregnant - isn't that why people use contraception?
At some point (I am afraid I am hazy on time scales) I remember signing a card for Mr and Mrs K and we gave them flowers. Mrs K had miscarried. It took years but eventually they adopted two children. They finally got their family.
At the time I never fully appreciated how hard it must have been for Mr and Mrs K to try for a baby for such a long time, to miscarry, to continue to try and fail, to apply for adoption and to wait to see if they would get any adopted children. I also want to add that I didn't know Mr K very well and never met his wife (just to defend my young self a little for my ignorance).
I haven't thought about Mr and Mrs K in years, but the other day when I got my period I found myself remembering my friend's story about Mrs K being upset at getting her period. Whilst I am sure that even now I do not fully appreciate how difficult Mr and Mrs K's journey to have a family must have been, I do feel that I have much more of an understanding now. And I certainly get how getting your period is upsetting if you are trying to get pregnant.