The Nightmare of Getting Your First Period – Why Were We Never Told?

By: Rawan Khalil

Your first period. I do not know if you remember but I remember mine vividly. I don’t remember the day, the year or the time. It was late year 7 or early year 8. I remember the horror. The blood. My mum’s words- the never speak of this to anyone. I remember sitting in the kitchen having lunch with my parents when suddenly something felt weird. It was an awkward sensation and I really needed to use the bathroom. So, I stand up and I walk to the bathroom and when I am in there I see it. The drops of blood I dreaded ever seeing. Crimson drops stained my underwear and I screamed on the top of my lungs: “MUM, I GOT MY PERIOD”. I cried a lot that day. I never wanted to get my period. I did not want to bleed every month.

Along, with my period came a couple of weird things. Things I did not understand were even linked to my period. Pain in my stomach and thighs that would not go away. Pain that made me cry. I remember thinking I had a fever or possibly ate something rotten. My mum gave me panadol and told me to go to sleep, to wrap myself in blankets and the pain will go away. It did but it came back again. She never told me what this pain was. I never found out what cramps were until 1 year later at least.

The first period is something out of a horror movie for many girls. Because, not all girls have had their mother tell them about it. Because, being a 14 year old girl sitting in a bathroom stall with stained underwear is not ideal, but it’s even worse when she doesn’t understand why she is bleeding, when she never knew this is inevitable.

My mum never told me that one day when I become a “big girl” (or hit puberty in better words) that I will get a period, every month. So, in year 6 when they called us girls in the library and sat us all together for a presentation and the girls were giggling I did not understand why. There were girls from year 4 till year 10 and they all seemed to kind of understand what was going on. When the presenter talked about hitting puberty she said that parts of our body will be getting bigger, and we will have hair in places we did not before, and we will get our period.

“Raise your hand up if you know what periods are” she said.

Three quarters of the hands in the room flew up, and I saw the hand in front me go up, and the girl behind me has her hand up, and the one to my right also has her hand up. I, with all confusion looked to my best friend who had no idea what is going on either, and we just laughed and put our hands up because it felt as if it’s something we should know, but we both did not. I tapped the shoulder of my friend and asked what periods are. She gave me a look of utter shock, I mean she looked at me with a face of “are you seriously asking me this?” and then she actually voiced that thought, I replied saying I actually did not know.

She answered with: “it’s when girls bleed every month”, and then she turned around and I was still confused. If this something that happens to every girl and obviously has to do with biology, why has my mum – the doctor – never brought it up? If it’s inevitable, why was I never filled in?

I am sure this is what so many girls felt. Especially, when they heard about this from school, or from a friend or a teacher or someone who was not their mother. When they suddenly found their body bleeding, when they suddenly got cramps and had to deal with stained underwear, and when they had absolutely no idea what to do because no one ever gave enough fucks to tell them that this will eventually happen to them.

First periods are nightmares. They are the horror house you never want to be in. They are weird and fucked up and never smooth. The girl vomiting in the bathroom stall, yes, that girl screaming and crying because she got her period in school and she had no idea this will ever happen. She stuffs her underwear with layers of tissue and hides her stained underwear in her wardrobe.

Nothing sucks more of course, than when your mum finds out you have gotten your first period and have not told her. As if she hasn’t skipped her turn first. So fucking ironic.

First periods, are a rush of new emotions and mood swings that we never had.

First periods suck.  

They hurt.

They suck because they are bloody and disgusting. I mean we all have our own embarrassing period stories which we share and laugh about, but there are those gruesome ones, the ones that actually hurt and were agonizingly painful and first periods are definitely very high up that list.

And, they probably stay in your memory forever.

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