When I first started my period, I kept it a secret. It wasn’t that I was ashamed, but rather, I was afraid to face the fact that I was becoming a woman. Growing up as the only girl with three brothers, I never doubted myself when having to hold my own.
However, when I started menstruating it was like I couldn’t control myself! I would cry at the smallest thing and scream at the top of my lungs if somebody upset me. The first month of my period a lot of my energy was spent wrapping the light pink pad wrappers in toilet paper before tossing them in the garbage. There was no way I was going to let my brothers in on my secret! At twelve years old, most of my friends had already started their period. A few “early bloomers” had started at eight years old, which obviously made some girl jealous.
The second time I had my period I decided it was time to tell my mom. My mom and I were close, so it still puzzles me today why I was so embarrassed that first time. I remember it very clearly. I had some of my friends over on a Saturday afternoon to watch movies. I can still hear the voices of the girls from the movie Now and Then singing in the living room. My mother was at the sink washing dishes as I approached her. I simply whispered in her ear, “I started my period, Mom.” My mother turned off the sink and asked me to follow her to her room. She sat me down on her bed and started crying. I was so uncomfortable!
She told me these were tears of joy, and that I was now growing into a young woman. I begged her not to tell my dad, or worse my brothers! She agreed to my plea. However, I learned later that she of course shared the great news with my father that night. My mom went into her closet and picked out a special bag that was to hold all my own pads. She collected some pads from her own bathroom and together we placed them under the sink in the bathroom I shared with my brothers. I buried them as deep as I could! Over time, I became much more comfortable with growing up and learned how to better manage the range of emotions that can often accompany PMS!
As I write this as a 24 year-old woman, I feel sweet tears rise to my eyes. There is so much beauty to be found in womanhood and the process of Mother Nature. Women all around should feel united and empowered – for we are the Gift of Life!