Welcome to the third instalment of the ‘FIRST’ series…. this week’s contribution is by Blogger Dominique from Melanin, Mind & Soul check out her content.
I remember going to the toilet and seeing a spot in my pants that wasn’t normally there and I said to myself “I’ve started”. It was a Saturday morning, and my pops was at work. I was glad this happened at home and when the old man wasn’t home because I didn’t know how I was going to explain this to my mom.
When I started I was 11, nearly 12. It was a few weekends after I started secondary school.
I knocked quietly on my mom’s bedroom door; she was still sleeping because it was still early. I peeped my head around the corner and said mom I think I’ve started. Started what?! I’m not sure I really knew what was becoming of me.
It’s about time
Mom didn’t give any advice at the time. I had woken her up to tell her I started and I remember her reaching over to her bedside draw, taking out a pack of pads and saying its about time. The end. There was no advice or questions about how I was feeling or what to do next. I don’t even recall whether we had had ‘the talk’ in primary school. I do remember it in secondary school but by then, for me it was already too late.
Womanhood? What is this?
I felt scared about this thing and I wasn’t sure how to tell my mom. I didn’t understand that this was the start of becoming a woman. I knew it was something that happened but I didn’t really understand it.
I was taller than the other kids in school and had big feet from a young age. As I grew a lot quicker than my peers, I used to get a lot of cramps or ‘growing pains’ but I didn’t know that this was my body preparing me for this new monthly experience. During an episode of Brookside, Gemma who lived with her single dad and brother was stealing money. Gemma had no one to talk to. My mom said she was using the money to buy sanitary towels. She then told me to bring a spare pair of pants to school. I had no clue what she was on about and why I needed to bring spare pants?! That was it, that was the talk prior to my first experience.
I was pretty close with my nan. One day when we were out shopping I complained that my stomach was hurting and she asked if I had period pain. I don’t recall how long it had been since I had started but this was my first understanding of period pain. I didn’t know this was a thing until my nan had asked me.
Later in secondary school, when ‘the period lady’ came in to talk to the girls, we got a really useful booklet which I kept for years and then passed down to my younger cousin because I didn’t want her to go through the same unknown as I did. Google wasn’t a thing in 1999, and I was quite shy and didn’t feel comfortable asking questions, especially to my mom.
In hindsight I would have asked more questions during that episode of Brookside because I really didn’t understand what Gemma was going through or why I needed to bring spare knickers in my school bag – I mean what if one of my friends saw them, I’d be mortified?!
If I could do it all over again, I would ask my mom or my nan to explain the changes my body was about to go through.
When I was having those cramps in primary school, it was a sign. Hence why mom said “it’s about time”