5 min read
by Amanda Melhuish | 12/10/2020
Getting your period for the first time (also known as a menarche) is a deeply personal experience… and it’s different for everyone. Sometimes it can be scary, funny, embarrassing, upsetting, or even exciting. And while children, on average, get their first period often between the ages of 12 and 15, there’s no reason to judge yourself as being “too young” or “too old.” There’s no schedule. (That being said, if you are over the age of 15 and haven’t gotten your period, it’s smart to chat with your doctor to make sure everything’s okay.)
To help destigmatize this experience, we wanted to explore the wide range of experiences by doing a li’l oversharing. Here is our non-exhaustive anthology of period stories; may the world benefit from our menstrual memories.
Whether you’ve had your period for years, stopped getting your period, or are still anxiously awaiting your first-ever flow, we hope you enjoy these anecdotes — and maybe see yourself in them. Reading these stories can help you prepare the future menstruators in your life and learn other perspectives. Or even just give you some comfort in realizing you’re not the only one who has a complicated relationship with this taboo bodily function.
With that said, let’s get into it.
“I was 16 years old and it was Halloween! What was scarier than getting my period that morning was when my mom—who was super excited, and I was super awkward—showed me how to use a pad. It all felt super weird at the time but I eventually got the hang of it. It’s a little joke I have with myself now every Halloween — Trick or Treat!”
“3 words: Light. Blue. Pants.”
“At the age of 10 years old, after going to my first ‘sex education’ session in the suburbs of Chicago with the parochial school I was attending at the time, I realized maybe 2 weeks later that I may have just gotten my first period when I saw my first brownish-stained underwear. But I wasn't really sure until it happened again 2 months later (or so).”
“My 13th bday, first day of high school trying to make some friends. My uniform was white and gray-striped so there was no hiding it. I got up to draw on the board and all the girls laughed under their breath... the male teacher had no idea what to do so he said ‘it looks like your friend has come today.’ Mortifying. I got home and my Nan made me a big bowl of ice cream and told me all about what it was. Such a beautiful moment with her.”
“I had my first period when I was 9 years old and did not know anything about it. I was home with my dad only and I thought I cut myself, so I went to my dad telling him I was bleeding. When he found out where I was bleeding, he told me to just wait ‘til my mom came home. I went back to the living room thinking to myself that I am bleeding to death and they do not even care about it. When my mom came home, she told me to wait ‘til my sister come home (she did not know where my sister keeps the pads and cell phones did not exist). All day long, all I could think about was I am dying and they are only asking me to wait, what happened to bandages or hospital?”
“It was during standardized testing in middle school. At the time we were learning about ‘growing & changing’ and I remember staring at my underwear in the bathroom stall and freaking out because what I saw looked NOTHING like the cherry red we saw in our books. My friend, Amanda, started banging on the door saying ‘close your fallopian tube!’—because you know, middle school girls—I was mortified. I ended up divulging what had happened to my geography teacher who handed me a *tampon* and sent me back to the bathroom. The tampon was too scary so I ended up just shoving a bunch of toilet paper into my underwear. After the exams I rushed home & cried to my mom — she gave me a pad and some ice cream.”
“I’ve never used the classic “dog ate my homework” line in real life, but I can use the slightly less popular “dog ate my first period pad” instead! Months of nervous anticipation preceded my first period’s arrival, but once it began I was relieved that I only had to stick a pad on my day-of-the-week undies and proceed with life as usual, NBD. I started to relax after a hitch-free week of first-time menstruation, when suddenly disaster struck!
Lounging in my bedroom, I overheard my brother and his crush-worthy friend discover the family pooch had again pillaged the bathroom trash and left the evidence in the upstairs hallway.
The friend exclaimed, ‘Gross, your dog tried to eat a dirty diaper!’
‘Dude, I think that’s my sister’s,’ my clueless brother replied.
Still in my bedroom, I frowned in confusion. I—a mature, cosmopolitan 13-year-old—didn’t wear diapers! I broke into a cold sweat as I frantically put the pieces together.
‘Weird, your sister still wears diapers?!’ the friend asked.
I scrambled to exit my room and correct him — I couldn’t have my brother’s cute friend thinking I still wore diapers! I wrenched open the door to find both had vanished and only the dog remained, my used pad hilariously at his feet. In that moment I vowed to only dispose period products in pet-proof receptacles! I’ll never know if my brother’s pal still thinks I wore diapers at age 13, but I’ve never worried about period pet-sabotage since wearing Thinx!”
What’s the story of the first time you got your period? I got mine at a water park with a friend’s family — you can only imagine my terror asking a friend’s mom for help, only to be handed a *tampon* with *no applicator*. Is there anything you wish you had known beforehand? (Mine would be, “How do you use a tampon??”)
Amanda Melhuish was formerly a Brand Copywriter at Thinx. She’s also a comedy writer whose work has been published on Reductress, Women in Comedy Daily, and Weekly Humorist. She writes and performs sketch comedy regularly at The Magnet Theater. Check out her work (and upcoming shows) on her website. You can also follow her on Instagram.
by Amanda Melhuish