4 Editors on Their First Periods
The most relatable thing you'll read all day.
First kiss, first love, first hangover. Your first time can be exciting, nerve-racking, and, well, a little bit awkward. But firsts also mark the beginning of a new chapter. And that’s something to celebrate! One of the most momentous firsts for many women is getting your first period. And with that can come a whole lot of mixed emotions and some embarrassing and hilarious experiences. Whether we were early to the game or late bloomers, these are our tales of our first periods.
I was actually pretty upset when I first got my period. I was in the sixth grade, and no one that I knew (aside from maybe one girl) had theirs yet. So, despite reading many “your changing body”-type books, when I first saw the blood, I cried—and by cried, I mean sobbed—and ran to my mom (who happened to be on the phone at that exact moment) to let her know what happened. I was so small that she had to cut what seemed like a GINORMOUS pad in half for me, and I felt so embarrassed, I couldn’t even tell my friends. Instead, I had to type it to them over AOL Instant Messenger (throwback), saying that I’d gotten my “……..” It’s almost funny/sad to think back on how mortified I was over something so natural. For years, no one in my grade could even ask each other for a tampon or pad out loud. We used to say, “Hey, do you have any utensils?”
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I was the last of my friends to get my period, so every day I would hope and pray that it would arrive. Lo and behold, it came the night before I was going to Mexico with my family and another family for December break. In typical mom fashion, my mom called just about everyone she had ever met. After pleading and begging her, she promised to keep my news in the family. So I’m sure you can imagine my embarrassment when the dad of the family we were going away with came up to me at the airport the next morning with arms wide open saying, “CONGRATULATIONS!” and proceeding to give me a huge hug. Sigh.
I was perpetually the late bloomer of my friend group. The last to have her first kiss, the last to need a bra, the last to pluck her eyebrows, and, like Steph, the last of my close friends to get her period. But based on what I had heard from friends and YM, I would have been happy to wait forever—it sounded terrible and high-maintenance. When I was in eighth grade, I had a dream one night that my period had arrived. In the dream, I was in the middle school bathroom with a very annoying frenemy in the stall next door when I discovered my proverbial rite of passage. It was a bummer all around. When I woke up and went to school in the morning, almost the exact same thing repeated in the stall (weird!), but instead of the frenemy, it was my two actual very best friends (pretty experienced early bloomers themselves), who squealed with excitement and coached me through my first tampon through the stall door. Looking back, that was actually about as good as it gets.
Although I hit a growth spurt at 12 that shot me up to 5'9 seemingly overnight, I, too, was the last of my friends to get my period. I noticed it after coming home from soccer practice in eighth grade and tried desperately to play it cool when I told my mom. She’s not one for making a big show of things, so when I yelled at her from our living room couch (full-blown teenage mode, I know), she walked in the room and said something along the lines of, “Oh, OK. Sorry, and welcome to the club!” However, the next day at school, I raised my hand to ask my (male) teacher if I could go to the restroom and he said no, despite my pleas of “really needing to go.” I finally broke down and took out my brand new pack of pads and walked up to his desk, beet-red, and said I was on my period and would gladly take a detention to go to the bathroom. Needless to say, he gave me the hall pass. I like to consider this my first act of feminist, pro-period defiance.
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