Puberty isn’t a phase that one could easily dismiss from the mind, it’s a part of every girl’s life that transitions her from a kid to a teenager, so period stories are sacred tales of every woman. Historically, neither period tales nor conversations about menstruation were encouraged rather they were banned from talking about. Period tales were treated as taboos but now we have to break the taboos and empower our little girls about menstruation, menopause through our period tales.
Morning Lazziness has asked women globally to share their first encounter with periods, and every story has its emotional value.
“I was pretty sheltered as a kid. There were lots of things we did not talk about in our house, and sex, bodies, and periods were definitely among those topics. I had no idea what puberty was. I had no idea what sex was. I had no idea how babies were born, where they came from, or anything like that. I was in sixth grade, and I woke up one morning with a terrible backache. My back hurt so bad, and I couldn’t imagine why. All-day long I felt so nauseous and had stomach cramps. I knew I must be getting sick and I couldn’t wait to get home to lie in bed. I went to the bathroom after lunch, and I noticed blood in my underwear. I wiped, and there was more blood! I felt absolutely terrible and started to cry. I was already someone who struggled with anxiety, and my mind went to the worst possible scenario. I was dying. I was crying so hard. When another student came into the bathroom they asked me if I was ok. I asked if she could go get the nurse. The nurse came in and I explained what was happening. She asked if this was the first time I had gotten my period. I had no idea what my period was! She explained everything to me as best as she could but it was all so much to take in at one time. I talked with my mom about it when I got home, but it was definitely a weird conversation and I didn’t really feel comfortable with my body until I was much older.” – Jillian
“I was 13 and living with just my dad. My mom had left five years before. I was getting ready for school – Dad was getting ready for work – and it happened. Ugh. I went to him and was like “Daaaaaad – you know that THING that happens to girls my age…you know…” and he was busy and not paying attention. I kept bugging him.. He finally stopped making his lunch and said, “What in the hell are you talking about?!” I cried out – I GOT MY PERIOD!!!! He looked at me panicked and said, “CALL YOUR GRANDMOTHER!” and walked out of the kitchen.” – Heather Johnson
“A strict old-fashioned parent my mother was uncomfortable when it came to the ‘talk’ or sex etc. All I can remember is her saying that when I started my period it would be the start of womanhood. That I could get pregnant etc. She then gave me a little booklet that lent to more questions than answers. As such I remember the day well. I was 12 years old. Going to the bathroom I discovered blood in my panties. It was a Sat and my mom was at her second job as a licensed beautician. So I called her. Surviving the ‘Great Depression’ we reused many items or used them in other ways. She advised me to go to the “Rag” bag where we kept clean rags and find the softest cloth I could find. These turned out to be ripped white t-shirts. Ripping it into a long strip she told me to fold it thickly. Then to pin it to my panties. On the way home, she would stop by the drug store and get me sanitary pads and a sanitary belt. (This was the 60s). So the day that I became a woman I felt like I had a small pillow between my legs. Womanhood was ‘so’ not what I thought it would be.” – Carol Gee
“I still recall the day when I felt weird wetness soaking my new panties as I climbed my school bus. It was a Friday afternoon and I had plans to go out with my friends during the weekend but little did I know that breaking the news of my period would lead to a one-week quarantine that would change my life upside down. My mom helped me into my new outfit, initially wearing a sanitary pad was quite uncomfortable for me, I felt like a toddler wearing pampers all the time.
But the real pampering was from my parents, my mom made all the South Indian sweets I have tasted in my life. Indian parents’ orthodoxic rituals are unshatterable, especially when their only daughter turns into a big girl. It’s a big day for them and a tiring one for me. My grandmother phoned me and asked to let her know all the foods that I want to eat. She had also sent me fresh home-grown turmeric roots to grind and bathe in and drink with milk.
I know my period story is pretty extravagant but the real pain was the separation from my childhood to boarding adolescence. No luxury can ever give me back the joy of my bubbly pre-teen phase.” – Neelima
“I remember that I was at school, and my belly was hurting so much that I couldn’t move. I started to feel something going out, and I was scared, but never remembered that it could be my first period.
Not only that, but I started to cry, and my teacher came to me and asked me if everything was alright. I told her that I was sick and if I could go home.
WhenI was leaving the classroom, all of my friends were laughing, and I didn’t understand why. Then my teacher approached me and told me that I had blood on my pants. She gave me a pad and told me to go to the bathroom and put it.
She came with me to explain to me how to do it, but I told her that my mother told me some days before.
I was ashamed for one week after that because of my friends, but my teacher was so nice to me that she put them on a time-out, and they never laugh at me again.” – Zoila
“It was at home luckily for me. My mother already taught me how to use pads. The school had conferences on periods too with daughters and mothers.
And my mother saw a red spot on my cloth. And I was embarrassed awkward and scared. She helped me put on the first pad and told me again how to use it n throw it and how it will happen every month now and how it is a sign that m growing as a woman. All that information was not overloading because school and my mother had already taught me about it a bit.” – Nilakshi Garg
“It has been a few years since I’ve decided to identify myself as a non-binary person. Believe me when I say I’ve never felt happier! Being sure of who I am as an individual, is something I’ve always wanted. People of all gender menstruating. It has nothing to do with gender, it is about the body. I got my first period when I was 12 years old. It was a beautiful rainy day and I was dancing to some music, I wasn’t aware I was bleeding. It took me a while after I started to feel the cramps. I wasn’t terrified because I was aware of the process. My mom passed me a sanitary pad and explained to me how to use it. Since I was at home, I didn’t have much to stress about. There are a lot of myths associated with periods that I was told to follow like not exercising or avoiding sour foods. After a lot of reading, I was able to change my thoughts about the menstruation cycle. It’s very important to learn and make each other aware of what Menstruation is. It’s all about understanding your body’s menstruation cycle. You can bleed and do everything else at the same time!” – Rachayita
“I was twelve years old and all girls of my age and friends had already begun their periods. Whenever one had theirs and at times missed school because of the discomforts, I almost felt like I was missing out on a very important phase of my life. I used to question them about how they felt, was it painful, did they feel dizzy for losing a lot of blood, did they feel sick, and on and on. I was eagerly waiting for my own time. Then the day came! I woke up from my bed only to find myself soaked in blood. My belly was feeling hot from the inside and that pain in the lower abdomen was so excruciating. I screamed loud calling my mother because at first, I did not know that they were my long-awaited periods. My mother rushed to my room and hugged me tight telling me to relax that it was all well. She brought me sanitary towels smiling, then it dawned on me that I was also a big girl. I cleaned myself and changed but the pain was too much. It was a school day but from the pain, I was in, I could not go to school. My mother gave me painkillers and advised me not to sleep but engage myself with physical activities in order to keep the pain away. It worked. The pain in my back receded gradually and the stomach cooled down. by the time it was evening, I was about my normal self again. I was so excited to go to school the following day to share my experience with my friends. Finally, I was now a big girl. For the rest of that week, I felt different, grown, and happy to be a real woman. My grandmother had said that there was no joy like the joy of being a mother and since I began my periods, I was certain of becoming a mother someday.” – Liz jane
“I grew up with two elder sisters, who had been dealing with periods, cramps, and everything else that comes with it already. Therefore, I was pretty aware of what goes on, and absolutely dreaded the day I would have to deal with it, too.
It was very soon after I turned 13, when one day, I started to get cramps in my lower abdomen and complained about the same to my mother. The next day was when I bled for the first time. I called my mom out from the washroom and assuming I just needed something, my dad came to the door to help. I specifically told him I needed mom. That’s when I was formally introduced to the concept of periods and taught the use of a sanitary pad. Apart from the fact that period cramps made me pretty dysfunctional every month, the transition from a girl to a woman was pretty smooth for me.” – Anushree
“I think I was 10 or 11 and I was babysitting. I remember going to the bathroom and thinking what is this brown stuff on my underwear. The kids kept wanting to come into the bathroom with me. I kept wiping and nothing was coming on the toilet paper. I freaked out and called my mom. She had to come over and give me a pad and said you got your period. Then the next day she had gotten me a pack of pads, a card, and something else to welcome me to womanhood.” – Marci
“I was a part of the school’s annual function event when I got my first period. The skit was based on the novel “The Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens and I was playing the role of the first ghost. My costume was a sparkly white satin gown that wasn’t white by the end of the play. I was9 years old and while I knew about menstrual cycles, I hadn’t expected them to surprise me on the day of the final performance. Some of my friends teased that it was a ghostly trait to have a blood-stained gown. I laugh over it now, but I was quite embarrassed to come back home with a big patch on my dress.” – Smriti
“I was pretty young when I got my first period, so much so that I hadn’t even had any kind of sexual health talk, so believe me when I say that the first time I notice that I was getting my period I was pretty freaked out. I remember my mom was out of the house so I had to talk to my dad about it – I didn’t even realize it was something I could have been embarrassed about, I just needed to know I wasn’t dying. My dad did the best he could and found a spare sanitary pad that I could use and just told me to hang on until my mom was back from work and that she would be able to explain a lot better. The only issue was that the pads my mom used were this giant, super heavy flow things that were WAY bigger than my 9-year-old underwear – it was seriously like I was wearing a diaper the whole time.” – Anastasia Allmon
“I remember I was 12 years old, I was at school, it was not a normal day, in fact we had been allowed to wear casual clothes instead of our uniform. I was wearing pink pants that I liked so much when I was little. That day I came to school thinking it would be a good day, I took some classes and then the teachers decided that we would have the rest of the day to have a potluck.
I was happy, I went out to the patio to walk with my friends and suddenly I felt a pain in my stomach, I thought it was from so much pizza I had eaten, so I decided to ignore it. After a while, I decided to go to the bathroom and when I took off my underwear I found something I had never seen before. A brown to red stain on my panties. The truth is that I was very scared and all I did was put some toilet paper in my panties. My fun day was over. It was time to leave and I decided to hide it from my mom out of pity until days later I shared what had happened to me and she prepared me for the next month when my period would arrive.
Now that I think about it, it makes me laugh a little as something as normal as a menstrual period could have made me sad or ashamed. It’s probably that at that time it was taboo for girls my age, but I’m glad that today it’s a subject that is discussed freely.” – Jessica Luna
“When I was younger, we lived in a joint family, and I spent most of my time in the company of my two cousins, both boys, who were more or less my age. A little later, when another little one was born in the family, my dad decided it was time to buy another apartment. So, my dad, mom, brother, and I shifted to a new apartment in the same society. But, that did not diminish our bond with our family. Since we were in the same area, we would often meet and spend time together with our family.
During my seventh grade, I was nearing puberty like many other girls in class. One by one, everyone started getting their period. I used to think it was a disease until my parents had the ‘period talk’ with me. One day, my cousins and I planned a sleepover at their place. We had a fun night playing board games, watching movies, and eating pizza. I had to wake up in the morning before 11 AM as I had to attend my drawing class. When I went to the washroom in the morning, I saw some brown blood on my underpants. I did not know what to do. Even though there were females at home like my two aunts and grandmother, I was too embarrassed to ask them for help. So, I wore the only other clean bottom wear I had – light blue colored jeans. After that, I brushed my teeth and freshened up. Before leaving the washroom, I lowered my jeans to take a quick look – it was already stained with red blood. I just wanted to go back home. So, I rushed out and packed my things. My aunt asked me to have milk and breakfast, but I couldn’t stop even for a minute. So I excused myself from the situation by telling her that I had my drawing class and rushed home. I was too scared people would notice the stains while I was in the lift or walking on the road. But, nothing happened, and I went straight to the bathroom after reaching home. I slightly opened the door, called my mom, and showed her that I was bleeding. She got a pad from her room and showed me how to apply it to the underwear. It was a thick pad – it felt so strange and uncomfortable down there. I went to the drawing class and constantly kept checking the chair for any stains. I cannot recollect how I was feeling. I think I was happy to have gotten it because many of my friends had already hit puberty. But then horror-struck when my first period lasted for months – I was sick of the heavy flow and changing pads every few hours. A visit to the gynecologist revealed that my hemoglobin was way less than the usual reading. She was surprised that I was standing upright without feeling dizzy or fainting. It took some time for my period cycle to become normal. A few diet changes and some patience later, it did normalize!” – Vaibhavi
“I had heard from my mother that every woman’s first experience of periods is either shocking or extremely painful, both emotionally as well as physically. This might be because most girls are not briefed about this very crucial biological step that begins with puberty and lasts till they hit menopause. In this regard, I was one of the lucky ones because I was made aware of the milestone in life well in advance. So much so, that I was in a way over-prepared for the same.
I still remember that fated day when my body dispelled drops of blood for the first time. I was studying in the sixth standard. I had gotten up at dawn to take a leak begrudgingly because it was only hours before I was to get up and get ready for school. Dad has already gotten up and sipping his morning tea in the living room with the newspaper in his hand. Somehow I managed to get my sleepy body into the washroom, which still had an Indian-style toilet. With my eyes half-closed, I peed and cleaned myself before getting out of the washroom, attached to the bedroom, where I slept with my parents, and without another thought or bother, crashed back onto the bed.
The alarm rang a few hours later. I got up before my snoring mother, who was sleeping beside me, and went back to the bathroom yawning and rubbing my eyes. As I squeezed out some toothpaste onto my brush, my glance fell on the toilet and I did a double take. There were a few red-colored drops on the toilet that looked streaky and almost dried-out. I was quite confused at first and kept thinking how the drops got there. In the middle of brushing my teeth, my eyes grew wide as the realization dawned that the drops might be blood. My naïve and over-prepared brain could only deduce one probability and armed with my intuition I confronted my sleeping mother.
Shaking my mother awake, I said, “Mom, why didn’t you wash yourself properly while peeing today? You left period blood on the pot!” It took my mother a few minutes to grasp what had happened. She face-palmed herself and then burst out laughing. “I am not on my periods, dumbo, you have started yours! I hit menopause ages ago!” My knees grew weak and I sank into a chair. I knew it was coming but the fact that the all-important moment had arrived filled my body with emotions I did not know existed. I broke down in uncontrollable tears as my mother, still laughing, hugged me. I felt happy that I had entered into womanhood but sad at the same time, that it meant I was leaving my childhood behind.” – Pritha
“I got my period before the end of my study in the fifth standard, quite a bit early than my mother anticipated, she hasn’t mentioned to me even a peep about the period. So one day I saw blood on my underwear and thought I had cut myself in the vagina by accident 😂. Since I was, and still am quite an accident prone, I didn’t think much and casually told mom. She dumped the entire period syllabus on my head and told my dad, “Go bring Stayfree, your daughter has grown up.” In a way, it was difficult for me to emotionally deal with the new experience and since mom didn’t mention it to me, I wasn’t even aware that such things take place. So I was taught to adjust my walking, sitting and clothing during my period. But klutz that I am, I kept staining my clothes, sometimes outdoors, and got rebuked. The pain and stain both got overwhelming for a while and I came under medication. But my tryst with emotional maturity has cured me of the stigmas related to the period.” – Evia
Children are the most innocent creatures of humanity and before our society pollutes their heads with toxic practices that treat periods as a disgrace, we have to educate and equip them from home. Childhood isn’t something that anybody could forget but puberty snatched it away from us and now it’s time to reminisce about those good old days.