Growing up, I learned a lot of information from my sister, Sarah. She paved the way for me, and that made me feel more at ease about all the changes I was going through.
I remember hearing my sister’s first period stories. I was probably in Year Four or Five. For some reason, I already knew what a period was; the knowledge was just already there. I was always surrounded by women (my aunts, my cousins, my sister, my mum) so I suppose before it happened to my sister, it must have been something we had discussed casually. My mum yelled at my sister because she thought she had spilled make-up on her white shorts. Little did she know it was not make-up!
I don’t clearly remember getting my first period. My mum didn’t prepare me, but I don’t think I necessarily needed preparation because I had already witnessed my sister going through it. I do recall that I was in Year Seven, and it happened in May. I was pretty ready for it to come. I remember talking to my friends about it, hoping to become "grown up" soon. When it happened, I told my mum, sister, and grandma. Then I told some friends, and soon enough, everyone knew. I didn’t really care about them knowing. I wasn’t ashamed and it’s good to share your first period stories in a supportive environment.
My mum told me to wear pads until I felt comfortable enough to use tampons. That lasted one month. In June, I had a dance recital, and I wasn’t supposed to wear pants; I had to try using tampons. I read the instructions in the bathroom, tried all of the different positions, and finally got it in. But I realized something was not right. I asked my sister if I was supposed to keep the entire tampon inside of me. She told me to only use the cotton part; the other part was the applicator, used to help with insertion. I took it out and tried again. This time, it was more comfortable and eventually I got the hang of it.
After starting my periods, I felt older, because I had been told that starting your periods is a sign of maturing; I was growing up. Starting my periods was not exactly what I thought it would be. I had to learn to deal with it, and I have. Looking back, one thing about starting that I do admire is that it is a bridge from adolescence to womanhood, and that is vital to many young girls while growing up. Do you have first period stories to share? Don’t be shy about this important life stage.