I started my period a few weeks after my thirteenth birthday. I remember coming down to breakfast that morning and starting to cry -- I had a ballet performance that night and didn’t want everyone to know that I had my period! My mom was very reassuring, which helped a lot… she gave me some medication to ease my cramps, and made sure I had plenty of pads. I was relieved that she didn’t make too big a deal of it. I knew other girls who wanted to “celebrate” with their moms, and others whose moms acted as though it were something terrible. I felt very lucky that my mom handled it the way she did -- in a calm and positive manner. I hope to do the same for my daughter some day!
Menstruation was not a topic that was discussed in my house. I knew there was something going on, because I had three much older sisters and I had seen their tampons. But nobody -- not my mom, not my sisters -- even told me what a period was or that I would one day be getting one. Thank goodness for the health class I had at school, or I would have been completely unaware. When I first had my period, I sat in the bathroom for the longest time trying to figure out what to do. I was completely mortified at the thought of telling my mom. Finally, I mustered all of my courage and called for her. And it was so much easier than I thought. It wasn't embarrassing at all! My mom had a box of pads just waiting for me. She told me how to use them and she even congratulated me. If you're nervous about talking to your mom, read Elizabeth's article about Parents and Periods.
I fretted telling my mom about my period. Even though my mom told me to not be embarrassed by my period, I was timid in telling her I had started mine. I didn’t know what to think about having started my period. All I knew was that I was bleeding out of my vagina and that it was really freaking me out. I hid it for a couple of days. I snuck pads from the stash in my mom’s bathroom and tried to keep it to myself. I wasn’t comfortable talking about my vagina, especially while it was bleeding. A couple days passed and I waited for my period to end. Upon the five-day-mark, I worried that it was never going to end and finally told my mom I started my period and asked her how long they usually last. My mom wasn’t mad, sad, ecstatic, nervous, or anything; she answered my question and told me if I had any more, she was there to answer them. It was the easiest thing. I almost half-expected her to jump for joy and say something corny like, “my baby girl’s a woman!” But she didn’t. Our moms have been through all of what we’re going through; they understand. Be sure not to build up too many “what if’s” in your mind, you might talk yourself out of telling your mom. I no longer live in my parents’ house, but while I did, my mom was the most comforting person whenever I was on my period -- she soothed my cramps, endured my PMS, bought my pads and tampons and, best of all, reminded me that I wasn’t the only one dealing with a period.