- Can you remember back to when you first got your period? Perhaps you're still wondering when your first period will come?
- Are you or were you scared?
- Who were you with when you got your period?
My first period
I was at school when I got my first period, in a classroom full of unfriendly, judgmental and hostile kids. I was scared and embarrassed. I had absolutely no idea why I was bleeding. I remember it felt like I had uncontrollably peed my pants.
As the bell rang for lunch, I stayed sitting in my chair as everyone left, refusing to stand up. Fortunately, my teacher was a woman and was very kind about it. She came to me and I explained, with great embarrassment, that I was bleeding from my private area. She explained briefly what was happening to me and congratulated me excitedly on becoming a woman! I remember feeling confused by her congratulations and just wanting to go home and be invisible.
A period, and what to expect, wasn’t a topic that was openly discussed while growing up in my home. My first period experience, and what my teacher said to me on that day, has stuck in my head ever since. It has encouraged me to be proud of my period and to try and encourage girls and women to own that time of the month. I have also tried to encourage parents to educate young women more openly about what a period is, what to expect, and even have a pre-packed period kit ready for them.
As I was driving to work the other day, I listened to a story called 'Better conversations needed around puberty', on the 'Life Matters' program on Radio National. You can listen to the story here: Better conversations needed around puberty.
The main point that stuck with me from listening to this story was that, while a period can be a weird thing to experience and can be messy when unexpected, it’s a completely natural process that all women go through. And while the emotions around your first period can be very daunting and overwhelming, instead of feeling fear or embarrassment, we need to embrace the feelings of maturity, pride, empowerment and womanhood.
This is sometimes easier said than done though! Evolving from a girl into a woman is a huge step emotionally, physically and hormonally and this time of transition can be an emotional rollercoaster! All of a sudden you’re scoffing down blocks of chocolate, crying at everything, blaming others, looking bloated like puffer fish, having an outbreak of unwanted lumpy friends on your face, feeling angry, happy, sad and confused! And then everything’s ok again!
So just remember to take some time out for yourself! You're a flower that has just started to blossom. Embrace this experience. It’s very empowering to be stepping into womanhood and you should be congratulated!
If you have questions about your period and aren't sure where to start, here are a few resources I've collated that could be helpful in answering some of those questions that may be floating around in your head:
- Your first period FAQs - The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
- Menstruation Australia website - Covers all things menstruation, from your first period to pregnancy and menopause.
- Healthdirect Australia - Information about menstruation, including advice if you're experiencing problems with your period.
PS. A little period fact:
Did you know that when women live together or spend extended amounts of time together, their periods get closer and closer and eventually come at the same time?