Welcome to the second instalment in the ‘FIRST’ series…where our contributors are sharing and exploring their experiences and emotions on starting their periods.

Only the Facts

I remember the panic….as I sat in what felt like the smallest cubical ever… Clearly I was dying, why else would I be bleeding from my “under carriage” ???

I packed as much tissue as my knickers could hold and made minimal movements for the rest of the day… Little did I know that what I thought was a one-off unexpected pool would be simply a drop in the ocean of my period journey. 

I sheepishly spoke to my mum when she came home from work and at this point I was given a brief and frank discussion. MY BODY was a woman now… she made sure to emphasise NOT MEjust my body….. this meant I could carry a child, be a mum at 10!!!

It was all a little too much to compute… I didn’t like it, I wasn’t ready, I was instantly different – But not in a liberated, empowered, look at the wonders of nature way…. I was odd, out of sync and emotional. I didn’t belong. I was a child but my body was a woman !!

Pending Signs 

Despite my cycle being irregular from day one, I always knew when “She” (The lady from Red Hill) was about to arrive. The tingles in my stomach, legs and back were signs that the real pain was coming and over the years the pain has changed and the space between her visits has continued to vary. 

And these signs would be accompanied a few days later with what can only be described as “the flood”. 

I was not the girl from the Always advert… I couldn’t climb mountains or jump from planes… I was floored, simply missing in action and often missing from P.E. 

My sense of smell would heighten and with that came the paranoia. I couldn’t smell me … but could you? ….Was I leaving a mark when I sat down?

But I quickly learnt that you could not talk about it…. the looks I would get when I made reference of it to my dad with other elders in the room – It was a woman’s secret – a struggle not to be shared!

Upon Reflection 

It’s only as I look back I think that I was one of the lucky ones, my body knew I wasn’t cut for a monthly visit so my cycle ranged between 45 and 62 days and my immediate family were quite open to talking about the pain and stress of the often unannounced visits.

But it was always FACTS ONLY whether in school or at home (and limited at that…). I was given the pads but not told how to use them…. Not in terms of installation but how often to change it, what my flow was like, what that meant, that some pads contain chemicals. 

It was very much “Keep Calm and Carry On”

I knew I wasn’t who they referred to in the textbooks but it was only through sharing my experiences that I found that I was not alone. Many have had similar experiences and issues. It was through this open dialogue, I have acquired a lot of tips and tricks to cope. 

I have a young daughter so I am preparing. 

I want to be ready. 

I want her to be ready… making it a rite of passage rather than her thinking she is in a scene from a horror movie. 

I’m aiming for more than FACTS ONLY… 

Kaye, 36


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