16 Women Share the Bittersweet True Stories of Their 'First Period'

seven days
I was wearing white shorts the first time I got my period. Because of course I was, because what could be more embarrassing? There are a lot days from my childhood and teen years that I don't remember, but unfortunately the day I got my first period is one I'll never forget.

Getting your period is one of the biggest puberty milestones and is something that some girls dread and some can't wait for. When I asked a group of friends if they remembered their first period, I was flooded with responses and was surprised at how emotional it felt to read these deeply personal stories.

Reading these stories, especially #8, also makes me determined as a mom to make sure my daughter doesn't feel shame or fear when her time eventually comes.

Please note that this post isn't sponsored by a chocolate company, but it probably should be!

 

Image via iStock.com/Tolga TEZCAN

  • No Need to Hang Up

    1

    "I was having an epic phone conversation -- we took bathroom breaks and all. During said bathroom break, I noticed my undies were brown so I threw them in the laundry shoot, put on a new pair, and continued chatting with my friend. Which was obviously a super important conversation being 13 and all. Five minutes later my mom walks in my room with the bloody underwear and told me I had my period. I was clueless. It didn't even cross my mind that I had gotten my period. And thus began my storied history with my uteri." -- M. F.

  • Bloody Hell

    2

    "I was at the mall like 45 minutes from home, so that was super. Then later that day at home, I saw I had blood on my the bottom of my shirt and I was like 'Aw man, this is more complicated than I thought it was going to be.' Changed shirts, went about my life, played outside, held our dog, read a book -- noticed blood on my shirt again! I was like 'WTF? Is this my life now?? How do women do this??' Got dressed again and then later noticed blood on the dress ... F**K! I was failing at this period thing like one day in. No way I would survive this life!

    Changed my dress and then realized that the dog was in heat for the first time -- and THAT'S where the blood on my clothes was coming from!" -- N.F.

  • Kool-Aid Crisis

    3

    "I was in sixth grade and I had just come home from school and drank a ton of red Kool-Aid. I went to the bathroom and was like, 'How did this happen, how did the Kool-Aid go through me so fast?' Called my mom in and she said I had my period and then threw a box of tampons and pads at me and told me to figure it out." -- L.K.

    More from The Stir: 6 Ways to Make Your Daughter's First Period Less of a Pain

  • Tears

    4

    "Ohhhh boy. So my family doesn't talk about stuff. The extent of my talking about/learning about puberty was a one-hour gigglefest during the school day in fifth grade. The school sent us home with a paper bag containing, among other things, a few maxi pads. Several months, maybe a year later, I got my period. I was HORRIFIED and embarrassed. I dug the paper bag full of pads out of my closet and used them until I ran out, and then I pilfered them from my mom's bathroom until those ran out. Finally, my mom was helping me pick up my laundry and found 'the' panties, and I'm pretty sure I cried from embarrassment and shame. It was just awful." -- R.W.

  • Gym Class Hero

    5

    "It was classic. I was in gym class. I had to buy a giant pad for $ .25 from the gym teacher." -- T.W.

  • On a Plane

    6

    "We were on our way to Germany for a monthlong family vacation. Yes, on the plane. Yes, out of the country. Yes, first period. Suuuuucked." -- S.V.

  • Shock & Pain

    7

    "My first period (age 14) was preceded by cramps so bad that I think I went into shock a little. I was white as a sheet and drenched in sweat. Apparently I repeatedly begged my mom to kill me, in Swedish, because the pain was so bad, but I couldn't even remember doing that. About an hour after the acute pain episode, bleeding started and cramps became more 'normal.' I did often have debilitating cramps when I was younger though, and so was put on the Pill early for medical reasons." -- S.S.

  • The Neighbor

    8

    "I remember it, because it was so traumatic. I was 12 (late bloomer) when I got my period. My mom didn't talk to us about anything personal or emotional (to this day, she won't talk about when she went through menopause, etc., citing that it's "personal"), so when I got my period, I was terrified. I hid my bloody underwear in the clothes hamper and used toilet paper in my underwear. (Charmin, extra absorbing. NOT.) Later that day, my mom found the underwear and sent me to a neighbor's house, so their mom could show me what to do. THE NEIGHBOR. I was humiliated." -- S.G.

  • Happy Birthday?

    9

    "Twelfth birthday. On my birthday. I had just had a physical that morning and the doctor mentioned I'd probably be getting it soon. I remember crying upstairs in the bathroom while my mom was getting everything ready for my birthday dinner." -- J.J.

    More from The Stir: 8 First Period Horror Stories to Make Your Teen Daughter Laugh

  • Name Game

    10

    "Nothing. Absolutely nada. I don't remember how old I was. What I did. What I thought. I remember nothing! How weird is that? One thing I DO remember doing though was naming each of my periods for the 'baby I was not having.' I was a strange girl" -- M.H.

  • Call for Help

    11

    "I was babysitting and so scared to go through the bathroom looking for anything. I called my mom and made her bring me pads and clean pants and underwear. I was mortified." -- E.L.

  • Blue Line

    12

    "My mother handed me a pad and a 'belt' to attach it to. She instructed me to turn the blue line on the pad to the bottom. I was very worried that I might make a mistake and have the 'blue line' up and didn't know if that would make me ill, kill me, or what. Of course, I didn't share this with her. I just remained scared of the damn blue line." -- T.E.

  • Tampon Trouble

    13

    "This reads like a Judy Blume novel. Thirteen years old. Softball tournament. I was so excited, I thought I peed my pants a little bit. I went to the bathroom and saw that I had gotten my period. I told my sister, who went to a friend's mom to see if she had anything I could use. That mom gave me a tampon, which I promptly shoved right up my butt, because I had no idea where it should go or what I was doing. I continued to bleed and didn't know why. Finally after some time, that mom helped me figure it out. She was so kind and just helped, never laughed or made me feel weird.

    My mom had a hysterectomy after I was born and so we never had any feminine protection in the house, and we grew up strict Catholic/modest so there was never any conversation about getting your period or how to manage it. Now, my daughter is 12. We have had a terrific laugh (and she asks me to tell her friends so they can laugh) about it -- I promised I would never leave her in a position of not knowing what to do when it happens." -- C.F.

  • Family Matter

    14

     

    "It was on my 13th birthday, and also the first day of seventh grade. Lucky number 13!!! Haha.

    Also, since my mother is a nurse practitioner and my father works in public health, bodies and body functions have always been a dinner table topic in my family. So guess what was discussed at my 13th birthday family dinner." -- R.M.

  • Epic Fail

    15

    "I was a late bloomer thanks to PCOS. So I was a junior in high school wearing jeans. But my mom was really into sewing our clothes, so they weren't 'cool' jeans or even wranglers from Fleet Farm, which would have been far better. Instead they were homemade jeans out of thin denim and I only wore them out of desperation usually. Thin -- this is key. Oh, and PCOS means heavy clotting periods. Oh, and I was on birth control pills to force my period and yet no one had explained what the blue pills meant and that maybe I should be prepared for the imminent bloody event. Note: My mom is a nurse, she should have prepared me more.

    So I was sitting in class, the bell rang [for us] to leave, and as I got up I noticed the seat was smeared with blood. My poor male teacher had to clean it up. I was so embarrassed I walked with my uber bloody jeans to the school nurse where I sat with a blanket around me while they washed and dried my clothes. Eventually I made it back to my classes. My mom couldn't come to school to bring new clothes because she was working. Ugh." -- B.M.

  • Sweet Relief

    16

    "I remember looking down into my undies and being so so happy. I was 13 when I started my period. Older than a lot of my friends. I just got so excited, like OMG, SHE'S FINALLY HERE!" -- S.R. 

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