You know, when we get our first period, I’m not sure if we truly understand what we really need to be prepared for for the rest of our lives. We get that it’s some big biological event that carries meaning–maturity, “womanhood,” etc–but we’re not really prepared for the other truths that come with it. You know, like cramps, anxiety about having your period during a vacation, blood stains everywhere…we really don’t know what’s coming until it comes, which can be a nasty, menstruation induced surprise. As we have more and more periods, we slowly figure out how best to take care of ourselves when Aunt Flo is in town: We know exactly what days require the extra strength pain killers, we stop believing BS period myths (no, your period doesn’t stop in water), and we learn how to remove those blood stains like they never even happened.
But still, even after having dozens and dozens of periods, we can all still use a bit of a reality check. Check out these eight cold hard truths about your period that you need to know. The truth hurts, but it can also set you free.
You're Going To Keep Staining Your Undies, Bed, EtcSo, you've finally realized that sleeping on your back makes your bed more prone to period stains. Congrats, you've learned to sleep on your stomach during that time of the month...but don't start getting cocky. Period stains happen to the best of us, even those of us who think that we've finally figured out ways to thwart them. We're only human, and menstrual blood can be super unpredictable. Don't beat yourself up too much about the occasional stain, it's really not the end of the world, and every who menstruates deals with 'em. Yes, even the people you least expect have period stained undies. Degrassi
Having Irregular Periods Isn't A ReliefA friend of mine once started getting her periods super infrequently. I was concerned, but she was jazzed. I mean, it's hard to see why she wouldn't be: she didn't have to worry about having her period so often! But heads up, irregular periods aren't necessarily something to rejoice. They could be indications of hidden health problems, malnutrition, or even fertility issues. If your periods are irregular, definitely hit up your doctor and find out whats up. It might be nothing, but it could be something. Clue App
Your Period Isn't As Heavy As You Think It IsSo many people think that their period is heavy, so they try to find BS ways to make it lighter (um, "healthier" for a week isn't going to dramatically change your period flow, hun). The fact is that a heavy period is technically one that soaks through an entire pad or tampon within an hour. If that's the case, talk to your doctor. If it's not, you're just annoyed that you don't have a period that just needs a pantyliner. Hey, most of us aren't ones who can boast about ultra light periods, so deal. Ginger Snaps
If Your Tampon Hurts, You're Not Inserting It ProperlyThere's probably nothing wrong with your vagina. And there's nothing wrong with the tampon. Sorry to break it to you, but if tampons hurt when they're inside of you, it's because you're not inserting it properly. I know, I know, you keep trying and it still hurts. Try again until it doesn't. That's it. iStock.com
Your Period Will Probably Start When Your Mom Or Another Female Family Member Started TheirsAre you reading this and wondering where the hell your period is, because you haven't gotten it yet? Thank your mom for that. Oh, and if you got it early, thank you mom for that, too! Your period is largely determined by when your mom or another female relative close to you (a sister, an aunt) had her's. Pinterest
You're Wasting Money (And Destroying The Environment) Thanks To Your Pads And TamponsThink about how quickly you go through a box of pads or tampons. Okay, now think about how many you buy a year. We're talking damn near $100 in just a year in menstrual products. If you want to try something that's a lot more cost efficient (and better for the environment), consider rocking a menstrual cup instead. A single cup can last for years as long as it is cleaned properly. Think about it. Hell, I'm a tampon wearer and even I think about jumping ship every now and then. iStock.com
Your Period Might Just Get Worse Over Time, Not BetterIf you think that the early years of having your period are probably the worst, and they get better over time...uh, that's not guarenteed. At all. It's not like your body gets tired of giving you killer cramps. If you're like me or many of my friends, your periods might start to become more challenging as time moves on. Honestly, our periods change in different ways over time, so don't expect things to get better or stay the same. Carrie
You've Got To Deal With ItThe fact is that unless you're taking some fancy birth control that stops your periods entirely, you're going to have to deal with periods 12 times a year, every year, until you're in your fifties. So, in that time you can either continue to think that menstruation is disgusting and ruins your life like clockwork, or you can try to have a better approach to it. Don't be afraid to talk about your period with your partner, take those period stains in stride, prepare yourself with plenty of pain killer, keep some chocolate on deck and don't beat yourself up for overindulging. Be kind to yourself. Your period is here to stay (for most of your life, at least), so you might as well go with the punches. Clueless
What other menstruation reality checks have you dealt with? What would you say to someone who is freaking out about getting their first period? Tell us in the comments!