The ‘FIRST’ Series: Leah, 32

Our lives are full of ‘firsts’.

Our first day at school.

The first real friend we make.

The first time we fall in love.

Some we remember, like our first kiss, and some we don’t (no one remembers what their first word was but we know it, thanks to our parents telling us), but they’re all milestones that occur at some time or other in life.

Aunt Flo

One that happens to all females is the day their first period arrives. I had just turned 12 when I got mine (or as my friend still says, Aunt Flo came along). I’d started an all-girls secondary a few months earlier and there had been minimal, if any, chat about periods. There wasn’t much among my classmates and PSHE had just about covered the basics. I discovered Aunt Flo had arrived when I went to the loo just before home time. Caught totally unprepared for this visitor, I stuffed some tissues in my knickers and just wanted to get home as quickly as possible.

Mum knows best

I met my mum on the way home from school. She was the first person I told and I’m so glad it was her. ‘It’s a good thing your period has come,’ she said. ‘It means your body is working the way it should do.’

I wasn’t so sure the accompanying stomach and back ache were good things but having her react in the completely calm way she did made me feel everything was ok. We went home via the chemist so she could buy me some pads and showed me where she kept hers when we got home. The rest of the day carried on completely as it should, the rest of the world oblivious to a new first for me.

Upon reflection 

That was 20 years ago now. Periods soon become a monthly occurrence that all females get used to, however annoying, inconvenient or damn painful they might be. As more of my classmates got their first period, it became a topic that was easier to discuss.

There’s no wrong or right, no normal or abnormal. Some girls get their first at 9, some not until they’re 16. Normal is whatever is normal for you.

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