7 Girls’ Very Real Reactions To Their First Period

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: 14caitlin-finaltextfinal 

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: 12liz-finaltext

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: 10ashleyfinal-text

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: 12kaitlin-finaltext


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: 13jessc-finaltext

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: 12julie-finaltext

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

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  • Mahlah

    I was 12 in 7th grade and it was after school i was going to take my shower when i seen red i started crying because my mom was at work ⬅ in the end i was ok and it wasn’t as bad as i thought it would be

  • katyusha Taylor

    I was 9 at the time when I got my period. We had guest over at the time; one 6 year old boy who’s a brat (still) and the dad. I also have my dad and brother. My mom and me were the only girls. So I had and still have deathly heavy periods, and I thought I had cancer, but little me couldn’t reach out for help. ( i still can’t )
    The only reason my mom found out was because I screamed at the lil boy, “LEAVE ME THE F*** ALONE I’M BLEEDING LIKE 10 CUPS OF BLOOD RIGHT NOW” and I was still panicking at the thought of having cancer.
    Good times. good times.

  • Emily

    I got my period when I was 13. I did dance and I had been getting discharge for awhile. I remember sitting in the car on the way to dance and feeling that little “rush” and thought it was just discharge. When I went to the bathroom before class there was a spot of blood on my tights (It was a small Russian school and wearing underwear wasn’t really allowed). I went to my bag and grabbed a tampon (my mom had bought me supplies so I would be prepared), and believe it or not, I was able to insert it on the first try. It wasn’t completely inserted at the right angle though and I was extremely uncomfortable the entire class. When I took it out it was soaked with blood. I then realized that I didn’t have anything to replace it with so I made myself a TP pad. When I got home there was no blood on it. I put on a pad that night just in case, and sure enough, it was soaked in the morning. I told my mom that morning and she hugged me and told me I was a woman. Then my little sister came downstairs and asked why my mom was hugging me. She said she was just giving me a good morning hug. That little talk was very awkward.

  • Kaedyn

    I got my period when I was ten , And I remember coming home and seeing my Undies COVERED in red. I opened our bathroom sink cabinet , and seeing A BOX OF PADS with a note saying , “For Kaedyn , Just in case. -Mom.” My mom said she got them THE DAY BEFORE MY PERIOD! Lol

  • pranidhi

    it just that it aches too much.

  • Analise

    I got my first period 3 hours before my first high school dance..9th grad home coming. I was kind of relieved because I was a rather late bloomer, but I was so annoyed that it couldn’t have waited one more day. My mom only had huge pads and I remember feeling like i was wearing a diaper the rest of the night…it was terrible. Oh and i was wearing a dress that I borrowed from a friend so I was really scared that I would get blood on it. It was not a very good experience. And then I didn’t get it again for 3 months. It was kind of crazy.

  • Jordan

    I got my period 3 days after my birthday. I woke up in the morning to go pee, and when I was wiping my hoo ha, I looked in my underwear. I seen red, and I’m like “OMG is this…” And I was in denial at first because a couple times it was just like lint mixed with discharge. But I smelled it (yes I know,very gross) and it stank so bad. I was like “YES YES YES!!!!” Because I was the last of my friends.

  • Paige

    Well unlike most girls, starting my period was such relief. It was four days after my 14th birthday, and literally everyone I knew had already started, so I didn’t want to be the outsider! I was outside and just decided to casually go to the bathroom, nothing was wrong I just had to go pee. I wiped down there and spotted a hint of blood in the toilet paper, I had caught it literally right when it started! How lucky was I? Sadly my mom was out of the country on a business trip so I just emailed her and told her what happened and she was very supportive. Luckily she had always kept pads for me just in case, we were very prepared!

  • Ellie

    I got mine on my 13th birthday.
    I had been having cramps all day, but chalked it up to scoffing half a cake for breakfast. I was sitting down with about 7 of my friends when I felt that weird sensation. I waddled off to the bathroom in a panic, my parents weren’t home and I REALLY didn’t want to say it to my friends because I was very embarrassment-prone as a child. I fashioned my very first toiletpaper-pad and changed my pants before rejoining the party. With my luck it was the heaviest of heavy flows and I promptly bled through about 6 TP-pads before my Dad came home and I sent him off to buy actual pads (which resulted in a phonecall from him standing in the toiletries aisle before a sea of various pads/tampons in confusion)
    In hindsight I’ve always been surprised that my friends didn’t point out the fact that I changed my pants 6 times in the space of 3 hours.

    So yeah aside from that panic, I was pretty relieved to get it. I was the last of my friends to get my period by about a year and being the most melodramatic child in existence had already been considering how to break it to my parents that I was infertile and they would have to rely on my brother for all future grandchildren.

  • Splushh

    I got my period when I was 12. I was our all day wearing WHITE pants. I came back to my dad house and when I went to the toilet I noticed the huge patch of red on my undies. I don’t think they went through my pants, and my dad’s gf was downstairs with a while group of their friends. So I went to my room with a pad from the bathroom, and changed underwear into a fresh pair with a pad, and didn’t tell anyone

    The next day I was back at my mum’s, and pretended that I only just got it the next morning because I was too embarrassed to explain what happened. My mum let me stay off school for the day and age said she was proud that I didn’t freak out (little did she no l know that the day before I was freaking out)

  • Karisa

    So, the first time I got my period I was twelve. Lucky for me, I was at home at the time, but not so lucky was the fact that my mom was on the other side of the country on a business trip. I have two older sisters who had both already had their’s and my dad worked as a nurse so he isn’t that freaked out by girl stuff, but one of my sisters was at an after school event, my dad was working and I was just to scared to bother my other sister.
    Because of my irrational embarrassment I spent the rest of that night sitting on the toilet until my dad came home and helped me with the situation. During those four hours my activities alternated between crying about how pitiful I felt, reading the back of shampoo bottles and curling as physically close as I could possibly get to a ball while sitting on a toilet in desperate agony.

  • Hi

    I got mine in my last gym class of the year. It was middle school and I was 12. I was happy that it happened so late in the year. I wasnt expecting it and I had no pads so I made a toilet paper pad. I was soo lucky gym was my last class of the day.

  • Jen

    I was 9 and a half when I got my first period. However I was at my dad’s house, so when I saw the blood, I had to wait until I got to my mom’s to stop staining my panties from the kids’ section of the department store. Let’s just say I got my period well before any one of my friends even knew what menstruation was.

  • Aman

    I got my period when I was 12. It was a Monday in January. IJUST HAD DOUBLE P.E THATS 2 HOURS OF P.E and at lunch I went to the toilet and I saw I had starter my period I wasn’t really scared tbh but it was awkward telling my mum I was like “I started it today” and she said “started what” then I was like “my period”

  • amethyst

    it was my 4th day of highschool, I got up got changed went to the toilet and everything was fine. brushed my teeth and packed my bag. I went to the toilet again and bam there it was. I was like “holy shit that’s an anti” so called for my mum and she was so happy, she gave me what I needed and I was all good.
    as for my step mum, she cried a bit and my dad just doesn’t say anything about it.

  • Kayla

    I got my first period when I was in sixth grade, about 11-12 years old. I got home from school, and wasn’t feeling any different throughout the day. When I went to the bathroom, I saw a brownish-red stain on my underwear, and I was so freaking bummed. I’d heard all one of my friends, and my mom complain about it, and I wasn’t looking forward to it at all.

  • Jess

    I got mine at my very first guitar concert. A concert that I was wearing these (looking back now-terribly ugly just above the knee) white shorts. Yes. White. Luckily enough, I didn’t bleed through were anyone could see.. I hope O_O Anyways, I got home and went to the bathroom because I wasn’t feeling well and I thought I had pooped my pants or something- it was a dark red- brown in my defense I thought the stomach pains might of meant I was having diarriah (how do you spell that??) or something. I yelled for my mom and luckily she was the only one home. I had her pick the lock of the bathroom door (we have those easy push type locks) and told her what happened. She tried her best not to laugh when she realized what had happened, I was completely shocked- It NEVER crossed my mind that it was my period! Afterwards I was completely embarrassed that I had been at a concert when it all went down!!

  • chloe

    I got my period in September of 2013 when I was 12. It was not awesome, but I don’t really get cramps, just a little bit bloated. The first day I got it in the morning and told my mom. She got really excited and happy and the whole teary “my little baby girl is growing up” thing. She gave me one actual pad and said that would be enough for a day because I probably wouldn’t be heavy. Well, she was very very wrong. I bled through the pad and had to keep layering toilet paper over it. But there was one time which was worse. It was pajama day at school and I wore a onzie and some dance shorts under. I bled through my underwear and the shorts and had to call my dad to bring me stuff. It was awful and I realized that I am a heavy bleeder especially when I skip a month. I just use bigger pads now, it still sucks, but its tolerable 🙂

  • Lexi

    I got my first period this past summer, 1 month prior to this ‘special’ occasion my mother was worried i wasn’t going to get my period because she got hers when she was 13. Anyways, i had really bad stomach pains and i thought it was just gas pains; I never checked because i was at a funeral all day and I thought it wasn’t important. Well when we go track to the hotel and we were getting ready to go back to the memorial service i went to the bathroom and at first i was like ‘uh, what?’ then it kicked it that it’s my first period and because i had a room with my dad and older brother i very shyly asked my dad to go get me some feminine hygiene products and he asked me why i hadn’t brought any, and i had to tell him it was my first one. Then my brother laughed for literally 30 minutes. He then told my grandma and she told the rest of my female family members. My brother told me they talked about their kids and THEIR own periods for a long time and i was just happy i stayed at the hotel room. That’s the last thing my relatives remember of me now. So there is that.

  • Juliette

    I got mines in sixth grade at the age of eleven, right on presidents day. I knew what was happening andi cried in the bathroom because i didnt want to get out. My mom had her pads there and i knew what i had to do. I didnt tell her until three days after, i was mortifed and my mom gave me the look of pride, she talked to me about it. I didnt get it until the next yr and my mom told my dad about it. I got a life long lesson and i was embarrassed because my dad told me it.