Getting your first period is a crucial, if not the most crucial, biological moment of any young lady’s life – Congratulations! Your uterus will now refresh itself every month for the next 40 years! You can officially say “Hey! I might, maybe, if I wanna, be a mom someday. Cool!” Your mother will shed a triumphant tear, your father will give you an awkward pat on the back, and if you’re me, your grandmother will tell you now is the time to be on the lookout for a future Jewish husband.
Even though you are now deemed a “woman” by pubescent standards, the first time you get your period is often awkward, shocking, and rarely glamorous. To demonstrate the wide variety of experiences girls like you have had as they reach this pivotal moment, we tracked down seven lovely ladies to tell us their first reaction to the event. What does your first period look like? What does it feel like to get your first period? Cackle and cringe as these girls shell out some very relatable/soon-to-be relatable tales.
Jessica, Age of first period: 13
I don’t remember much about getting my period for the first time. But I do remember that I felt a mixture of terror and relief – I was happy that I was catching up to friends who had it, but I was so scared of having to deal with everything that came with it. I was also pretty scared of just growing up in general. I wanted to hold onto being a kid for as long as possible, and I guess I felt like getting my period really made me an adult. Luckily, my period didn’t end up being as scary as I thought it would be!
Caitlin, Age of first period: 14
I was actually really excited when I got my period because I was a late bloomer. I seriously thought something was wrong with me and thought I was never going to get it. I was even so embarrassed that I hadn’t gotten it yet that I would ask my friends for tampons so no one would know. When I finally got it, my parents took me to a super awkward celebration dinner where my dad said, “Congratulations on being able to get pregnant, but please don’t just yet.”
Liz, Age of first period: 12
I hated talking about personal stuff with my mom (and even my friends!) – emotions, boys… my “changing” body. So when I got my period in 7th grade, I was more upset about the fact that I’d have to have a conversation with my mother than that I was bleeding down there. Driving home from school that day was agony; my mom dropping off the other kids in our carpool and stopping to have what seemed like endless bouts of chitchat with each one before they exited our van. Finally at home, walking to the front door, I blurted out “I got it.” She seemed confused at first, but after realizing that I seemed stressed and more anxious than usual, she put it together. “Oh! I’ll go get some pads for you!!” she said excitedly with a smile. I was mortified.
Ashley, Age of first period: 10
I remember this moment like it was yesterday. I got my first period when I was 10, going on 11. It went down the morning that I was meant to go to the movies with my friend and our moms. I was definitely in denial at first but I wasn’t exactly traumatized. Honestly, I was mostly annoyed that I had to deal with bleeding from my vag while watching a PG-13 movie and eating chili cheese fries. For the rest of the week I just ate really salty food, watched Anne of Green Gables and moped around the house, but I definitely didn’t feel like a woman yet.
Kaitlin, Age of first period: 12
My first period story’s kind of… confusing. I remember it was the first month of 7th grade, and I thought that I had gotten it for the first time. I mean, I saw redness on my toilet paper, so that should be my period… right? Erh, maybe not, considering that I didn’t see it again for the rest of the week.
Two weeks after I thought I got my period for the first time, I was in a Barnes & Noble bathroom and dear Auntie Flo came to visit “again.” Only this time, I was 100% sure it was her. Fortunately, my mom was there, so I asked if she could run to the drug store and grab me some feminine products.
So what happened the first time around? Thinking back, I had fallen right on my butt around the same time when I thought I’d originally gotten it, so… it wasn’t my period; just a bruised bottom. Awkward.
Jess, Age of first period: 13
The day I got my period I was not feeling well at all and I didn’t know why. I was in the 8th grade but it didn’t cross my mind that I could be getting my period. My stomach hurt and I remember going up to my bathroom and realizing that I actually had gotten it. I was just so shocked and terrified at the same time. I was stunned for a few minutes before I even made my next move. I really didn’t know what to do with myself. Luckily, I have three older sisters so I was able to call out for one of them and they were able to give me advice and help me out.
Julie, Age of first period: 12
I got my period when I was at sleep away camp. And even though I was one of the last of my friends to get my period, I was completely shocked by it. And not in a fun surprise way. I don’t know why, but I kind of thought that I might not get my period. Like, I understood that all girls got their periods. But, I still kind of thought that I’d be exempt. And I definitely thought I’d be lucky enough to get it when I was at home with my mom, so she could help me through the my first period. Turns out, I was wrong on both counts! All I could think was, “Ugh, not me.”
How did/do you think you’ll react to getting your first period? Let us know in the comments!
All illustrations by Sarah Wintner for gurl.com