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What’s Your First Period Story?

Funny First Period Stories

When did you get your first period? What I most remember is the bulky cardboard tampon applicator I had to work with. (It could have been worse: Back in the 60s, my grandma just left a sanitary belt on my mom’s bed!) But now I use tampons and pads from LOLA, a feminine care start-up run by two women who are changing the game. Here, we teamed up with LOLA, which just launched an awesome First Period Kit, to ask women about their first periods…

“Nobody had ever explained how a tampon worked, and when my period arrived at summer camp, the nurse handed me one matter-of-factly and pointed to the bathroom. I unwrapped it, sat down and pushed out the applicator at least six inches from my body! It fell on the floor. Somehow I expected it to go where it needed to go, like a guided missile.” — Lanie

“I faked having a period for over a year because I was the only girl in my group of friends who didn’t have it and I wanted it SO BADLY. I would pretend I had cramps, and take pads into the girls bathroom when everyone else did. By the time I finally got it, I was 15.” — Gloria

“My period arrived on the first day of driver’s ed. I sat through the whole afternoon with wads of toilet paper in my underwear, surrounded by classmates in the high-school gym. When I got home, my mom, trying to be progressive, offered to throw me a ‘goddess party.’ Then she announced at the dinner table that I had become ‘a woman,’ but my introverted dad and brother were not into it. They were like, ‘What do we do with this information?’ ” — Ruth

“I grew up with a single father. I was at the mall with my friend and her mom when my first period started. I sheepishly walked out of the bathroom and whispered the news to my friend’s mom. She was thrilled and used the vending machine to buy my first pad. When my dad came to pick me up, he was as embarrassed as I was! He drove to Walgreens, handed me a $50 and told me to buy whatever I needed.” — Becca

“At a family lunch when I was 12, my stomach suddenly started cramping. As a hypochondriac, I assumed, ‘Well, this is how it ends.’ When I went to the bathroom to discover I’d simply gotten my period, I rejoiced at my new lease on life: ‘It’s not my insides bursting! Just my dumb PERIOD!’ I celebrated with a giant piece of chocolate cake, which is still my monthly tradition.” — Nell

Lola Tampons

What I would have given to have had LOLA as a teenager! In 2015, friends Jordana Kier and Alexandra Friedman didn’t like using products with mystery ingredients, so they founded LOLA. The pads and tampons are made from 100% organic cotton — no synthetic additives, dyes or fragrances. You can order boxes of the exact combo you need and get them delivered monthly (no more rifling through a box of 15 Lights when all you need is a Super, and no more last-minute trips to the drugstore). I love the whole vibe of the company, from the ombre wrappers to the pep talk on the box: “This, too, shall pass.”

LOLA Tampons and First Period Kit

This spring, LOLA released their sweetest product yet: a First Period Kit. It comes with everything a girl needs, including tampons, liners, pads for day and overnight, encouraging instruction cards, a canvas pouch, and an adorable sheet of stickers for keeping track of her cycle.

First Period Kit

LOLA also offers a free, downloadable e-book, written along with a pediatrician, that covers all the nuts and bolts of a first period. It also has a Q&A with real girls and their parents. My heart swells for every girl who gets to start her period in such a nice way.

Bonus: LOLA is offering $10 off any first order of over $15, with the code CUPOFJO. Good through December 31st, 2017. Go here to see all their products.

How did you start getting your period? Would you like to try LOLA?

(Photos and styling by Veronica Olson for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by LOLA, the brand we trust most for that time of the month. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Cup of Jo.)

  1. Theresa says...

    Do you happen to know where this shower curtain is from?

  2. This is a gorgeous idea! I live in Australia and work for Jean Hailes for Women’s Health – a national not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving knowledge of women’s health throughout the various life stages. Our website and resources cover a wide range of health topics, including periods and endometriosis. Last year we launched beautiful educational resources for young women, designed to help them understand their period and seek help if they’re experiencing heavy bleeding or period pain. These resources and others are available to download at no cost so please feel free to share them with your friends and family.

  3. I don’t remember my age, just that I was in 6th grade, on spring break with my family in Florida. What a better time to get your period than WHEN YOU ARE AT THE BEACH. So my very first time I had to use a tampon and never looked back. Now I don’t even get a period anymore because I get menstrual migraines so my doc just told me to skip the last week of my pills every week. (Long story on that here for anyone who might be having monthly migraines and they can’t figure out why: http://megbiram.com/the-agony-that-is-menstrual-migraines/)

  4. Shannon says...

    I still remember so vividly. I was 12. I was making cookies and eating WAY too much dough (like I always did, and my mom always told me not to). So when the cramps came, I thought I was sick from eating too much cookie dough. I didn’t want to tell my mom how horribly sick I felt because she would yell at me so I slunk off to the bedroom, and curled into a ball, promising myself I’d NEVER. EAT. DOUGH. AGAIN. An hour later, when the blood appeared, I was so relieved I wasn’t dying from food poisoning, it was easy to tell my mom what was going on.

  5. Maureen says...

    Love this post. My favorite period story actually happened to my childhood best friend. She was a junior bridesmaid in her older brother’s wedding. Right before the wedding was about to begin, she got her first period in the church bathroom where all of the 24 year old bridesmaids were gathered. She shyly called out from a stall that she got her period and what should she do. Not realizing it was her very first, one of them threw a tampon over into the stall. My friend had no idea how to use it so she took it out of the applicator and just laid the tampon in her underwear. Makes me laugh every time I think of it!!!

  6. jess says...

    it was new years day, I was 17 and was on my way to the funeral director with my dad to help organise my grandad’s funeral – on the plus side, my misery from cramps was probably put down to grieving. The next few months I made do with wadges of tissue paper or stayed home ‘sick’ as I was too embarrassed to talk to either parent about it. When my mum found out 6 months later she was devastated and my dad very awkwardly bought me a bunch of flowers which was mortifying!

  7. Jessica says...

    Ack! Sad I was out of town and off of cupofjo for this. It was 1995, I was in Dayton Ohio during the Balkan war peace talks. I was with my dad who is a journalist. We were out to dinner with RICHARD HOLBROOK!!! My dad was interviewing him and my brother and I were bored to tears. Then all of a sudden my pants felt wet. So yes, the witnesses to my first period were my dad, brother and secretary of state Richard Holbrook. Keep in mind that I spent approximately 15 days a year with my dad….Murphy’s law at its finest.

  8. Kelly says...

    My *first* was a horrible day the summer before 7th grade. I had a tiny streak on my underwear when i woke up and was nearly hysterical by the time my mom woke up. She was very sweet and said all the ‘congrats you’re a woman now!’ stuff. I wanted nothing to do with it. my mom wasn’t usually sweet so that just added weirdness to my general hatred of the whole thing. I was so worked up that i threw up in a gas station parking lot when we stopped to get gas later that day. then, it turned out that tiny streak was kind of it, and i blissfully forgot the whole experience until….

    8 months later when we are on vacation in the Virgin Islands with a group of my dad’s work colleagues. My first day there i made best friends with another girl my age from the group who invited me to stay over in her hotel room. BONUS: she had a super cute older brother. i was super excited and packed up my shortie blue seersucker nightie with matching panties (it was the 80s). About an hour after we changed into jammies, i went to the bathroom and again: the dreaded tiny streaks in my underwear! only now my underwear was also my jammie bottoms! and i was trapped in a hotel room for the night with this strange family i had just met! and there were no cell phones and i didn’t know how to call room to room from the hotel phones, and i knew my parents were probably out partying god knows where since they’d fobbed both of us off on these strangers (my brother was sleeping over with the cute older brother). I cannot imagine what a psychopath I must have been for the rest of the night. i barely slept a wink as i kept checking my underwear situation and checking the time to see if i could go back to my parents’ room.
    I must have jetted out of there at about 6 am and told my mom. i then spent the next day refusing to leave the hotel room, both because i was mortified of the pad i was wearing and bc my mom was gossipy and i knew she’d told all the other ladies. Finally, my mom brought me some tampons and said i might feel better about swimming with them. i had no trouble figuring them out and i remember literally leaping around the bathroom and praising the inventor of tampons. I have literally never used a pad since!
    ironically, i was bookish and had read ALL about periods. but i was also immature and didn’t want to grow up, and i was kind of not that into hygiene in general and certainly didn’t want to add keeping up with monthly flow to the list of hygiene stuff i was already kind of bad at!

    i have 2 daughters and it’s clear that girls need to know all about the supplies before they get their first period, and also what to do if they’re away from home! I literally spent the next 2 years before my periods got more regular in a high state of anxiety about what to do if it came at an inconvenient time.

  9. Anna says...

    I was 12. The night my period arrived, my mum went in to labour and I didn’t get a chance to tell her. She noticed blood on my pants when she sneaked in to my room to get the spare mattress for the babysitter. I found some pads in the bathroom and managed until I got to tell her the next afternoon when visiting at the hospital. I asked her not to tell my dad. But we lived in France and you have to stay in hospital 5 days when you have a baby there. I ran out of pads before she got home so we had to tell my dad so we could pop out and buy more.

  10. Sharon says...

    I remember going on school trip to the Isle of Wight when I was 10. The school advised that the girls take pads with us,”just in case”. I was convinced I was going to start so I wore pads for a week without having a period! Fast forward a few months. I’m at home, I’ve had a funny tummy ache all day and I’m doing handstands in the dining room. My older sister says, “Sharon, you need to go to the bathroom”, “no I don’t”, “Sharon, you really need to go to the bathroom”. She kept insisting, so I went and saw blood on my knickers! I told my mum, she found pads etc and I just got on with it. I also remember a lady from Lillettes coming to my secondary school, we had to get into pairs, one girl held onto the tampon and the other person had to try and pull the string out, impossible! I tried tampons once, it felt wrong and I was terrified that it would travel up inside me and get lost so I’ve always used pads. When I was at school I had some lovely M and S navy blue knickers that had maximum coverage and make me feel secure.

  11. Amanda says...

    Thank you so much for introducing your readers to LOLA. It seems like a fantastic organization, and I can’t wait to support the company.

  12. Annie says...

    I got my first period at 13 while I was in Poland with my mom visiting relatives. She was sweet and supportive and cried. I was slightly mortified that she told everyone, but thankfully most didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Polish so there was a perfect language barrier to lessen the embarassment. Until… my aunt’s dog also got her period for the first time on the SAME DAY. They slapped on an identical maxi-pad on the dog! My symbolic entry into womanhood was shared with a dachshund.

  13. Katie says...

    My first period was basically a story of me being an extremely dumb 13-year-old! We got a little kit in my school a couple of months before that as well as a good ol’ speech about how we shouldn’t freak out about this. I believe it was like one or two pads. I just hid it somewhere in my room and waited until I’ll need it.

    It was the last weekend before school started and I just got the period Saturday evening, so I put the pad on and said nothing… but the next day I went on a cycling trip with my parents and some friends. It lasted the whole day and for some bizarre reason it didn’t come to my mind that I’ll actually need to wear the pad, so I just put a small leaf of toilet paper and thought it’ll last me for the day…

    It didn’t.

  14. Miriam says...

    My Mum actually got me a little kit like this before I got my first period. It had a selection of different types of pads & a little booklet about periods. It was definitely helpful to have everything ready.

    I got my period a few hours before my gymnastics practice. I had cramps and was feeling pretty horrible and sad so I really wanted to stay home. My Mum had absolutely no sympathy for me and insisted I had to go anyway. She said that periods were just a part of life so I had to stop moping around and get on with it. We got into a HUGE fight! I slammed some doors & cried my eyes out but I went and I felt so self conscious the whole practice. In hindsight I can understand her point about not letting periods stop you from doing the things you enjoy but I just wish she’d given me more understanding & time to adjust.

  15. Tshego B says...

    The first time my family of 4 went ever ‘on holiday’ was also the time I got my period. I think it was on the 2nd day that I went to the bathroom to pee and BAM! there it was. I went to find my mom and simply said to her, ” There was blood” as I looked down at myself. She gave me the biggest pad ever and that was it. Side note: that was also the only time I didn’t experience the most excruciating cramps at the beginning of my period.

  16. Mine was embarrassing. In small Indian towns, there is a custom of throwing a ‘my daughter is of age’ party when a girl starts menstruating. My grandparents decided to call everyone in the family and have this party. It was so embarrassing having everyone tell me ‘you are a women now’. Everyone knew. I would have wanted my bodily affairs kept private.

  17. Charis says...

    I had gotten “the talk” months before it happened. So I halfway knew what to expect. I got my first period during school, in the cafeteria. As I went to stand up I found a pool of blood. I was mortified not so much by what happened but what happened after. I begged my friend for her jacket but she rejected in disgust. As I tipped through the hallway awkwardly I was saved by a girl I only knew as “the girl who rides the same bus as me”. I will forever be indebted to her!

  18. Kristen says...

    I have to put in yet another plug for the menstrual cup. What a game changer!! My periods have become slightly less predictable over the past year, and I use my Lunette cup in anticipation so I don’t ruin my underwear. The Lunette is made of a softer silicone than the Diva cup, and comes in different sizes. I have never been able to “feel” the cup inside of me when I’m wearing it. I insert it in the morning, and forget about it until the evening when I’m home again and need to rinse it out. The monetary and environmental cost of traditional pads and tampons is enormous, I hope more women consider converting to the cup… don’t be scared! And as an added bonus, it is an excellent way to discover your own anatomy and become familiar with your body.

  19. KW says...

    I grew up Catholic. I got my first period wearing a butter yellow linen dress while at Easter Mass. Seriously, I took it as a sign that God hated me! LOL!

  20. Martha says...

    I don’t know what getting your first normal period is. I went from my first in June then nothing until September. I thought WHAT a summer period now I wouldn’t be able to swim all summer? Then I thought I’d never get it again.

  21. Kat says...

    Ugh, my mom was so uncool about it. I was in 7th grade and on March Break, so I was at home chatting away on MSN messenger (!) with a guy I liked when I had the odd sensation of feeling water leaking down my thighs.

    I instantly knew what it was so I awkwardly asked my mom for a pad and she went nuts. She started crying as she rummaged through her bathroom drawers and as I trudged back into the bathroom, I heard her pick up the landline and immediately screaming into the phone. By time I was washing my hands, all of my relatives (aunts, uncles, AND grandparents) and neighbours knew! I was so mortified.

    To any current and future moms out there, BE COOL. (Literally) dirty laundry isn’t always meant to be aired!

  22. BekkyH says...

    I was born with an imperforate hymen, so basically when I was 12 and my first menstruation started, the blood couldn’t drain out of me. I was in pain and felt sick as a dog for almost a week with fever and nausea. PediatricIan finally sent me to a Gyno for a follow up and I had to have surgery to open the hymen and suction all the old gunk out.
    So my entrance into womanhood was a terrifying and public affair- everyone my parents knew was asking after my mystery illness and they were very matter-of-fact about the details. Oh, and on the day of the surgery, the gynecologist invited in a team of med students to watch. I found this out as they filed into the room while I was inhaling the anesthetic moments before passing out.

  23. Himali says...

    I (literally) read through ALL the comments. Some made me laugh, some go aww :). In India, where I was born & raised, a girl starting her first period can be a hush hush affair or an extravaganza depending upon which community you are born in! Luckily, I belonged to the former one. Though my mum never told me about what it was, we had had Sex-Ed class so I knew & wasn’t really scared however ‘the other rule’ is that while menstruating, you would not do anything pious. You would not enter a temple or recite a mantra – basically anything that’s related to God & worship. I still remember that it all started in the night & didn’t know how to tell my mother. It was very light so I was getting by not staining any furniture or my outer clothes. My mum found out while sorting laundry & got me started. She also promptly reminded me of ‘The Other Rule’. Funny enough, in the evening we all sat down for dinner in front of TV and a movie about God started playing. Now, now! I did not know what to do so I stopped watching. My dad found it very odd and kept asking why I was behaving so out of character (I can watch TV for hours!). I kept looking at my mum. She laughed out loud but didnt say anything to save me (and of course my father) from embarrassment. Later, she explained that watching TV wasn’t part of the rule. I then overheard my parents making fun of me about this behind my back :D

    fast forward 15 years & I don’t follow the rule at all. My mum doesnt appreciate but she doesn’t hold me back either. I live in UK now and lived in US for 4 years previously. When I saw the kind of information that was/is available in these countries, I really hope that Asian countries also open up about these topics & let all those young girls breath free :)

    Ta,
    Himali

  24. Helena says...

    I love reading all these stories but honestly, what sticks with me the most is a very sad feeling. It seems like the majority of us here have felt a huge sense of shame when getting our first periods (and beyond that) and even though I’m not certain that young boys don’t feel shame over things related to male puberty it feels so typical of the shaming of femininity. So much of what it means to be a grown woman is shameful in our society: nipples on a mature breast, body hair, menstruation etc etc. I hope that when my now 4 year old daughter gets her first period the trend of free bleeding has grown into an acceptance that it’s ok to have a female body, and that if we have blood stains on our pants we needen’t be ashamed forever (or at all!). How is it that menstruation, such an integral part of being female is still so hushed up and locked away?

  25. I never really got “the period talk”. Or if I did I don’t remember it. But what I do remember is watching the episode of Roseanne when Darlene got her’s and my mom saying something like “if that ever happens to you, let me know”.

    I’m not sure how much time had passed since I watched that episode, but I know I was in grade 6 when it happened.

    I think I had expected it to hurt or something, but it just kind of showed up. There were pads under the bathroom sink, so I grabbed one and opened it up. It was like a giant padded sticker, like a big white Twinkie. I must have figured out how it worked because I don’t remember asking for help.

    Sometime that day I crept slowly down the stairs, hoping to find my mom alone, to tell her what happened. “Mom?” I said, “do you remember that episode of Roseanne? Well… I… um… it happened to me”.

    I have no memory of what happened after. Thinking back on it now, I’m surprised I didn’t tell my older sister. I told her everything, but maybe I didn’t tell her this because I didn’t know it had happened to her yet. (It wasn’t until years later that I found out she got her period during a family vacation in Florida, and our mom’s friend Julie taught her how to use a tampon. To this day I’m still clueless about tampons.)

  26. Sally says...

    My period started a couple of weeks before my 12th birthday. A bit of a surprise to me, because I’d read a book belonging to my sister called “Have You Started Yet?” a few months previously, which said you’d get boobs and pubic hair first, and I had neither, so I felt a bit back-to-front!
    I remember, mine started on a day my mum wasn’t there… She was staying away at her parents for a few nights, which she never ever did – so I was a bit annoyed when she wasn’t there! I was too embarrassed to tell dad or my sister, so I just changed my underwear and got on with my day!
    I think mum was home the next day… I don’t remember telling her, but I guess I must have done. It wasn’t a big deal.
    I do remember though, for years, being too embarrassed to dispose of my used pads in a bin that the rest of the family might see them in, that I would keep them under my bed, and mum – being super-chill – would just come along and scoop them out, and dispose of them for me! Kinda gross looking back, but she never made a big deal out of it.

  27. Charlene says...

    Mine came when I was 12 and was so brown and light I wasn’t sure what it was. There had been a rumor that it comes out of you “like stomping on grapes” so I had been expecting something a little more CSI.

    On another misguided note, a few years later at summer camp some of the “cool” girls were already on birth control and we’re telling us inexperienced ones about how they work. I remember so clearly one girl (she had that pixie Winona Ryder haircut I was dying to pull off) saying “you have to take the fake pills too, because if you don’t get your period, the blood will pool up in there and you’ll probably explode”. We all nodded our heads because of course.

    • Cait says...

      Hahaha “we all nodded our heads because of course.” :)

  28. Elizabeth says...

    It was summer before 6th grade so I guess I was 11 years old. I was home with my dad and my mom was out. My “stomach” started hurting and I was writhing on the floor while my dad kept offering me Pepto Bismol! I finally went to the restroom and saw…it. It felt like forever until my mom got home so I could confirm that I did, indeed, start my period. The First Period Kit would have been super helpful for that moment! I’ll have to keep that in mind if I ever have a girl.

  29. LU says...

    This isn’t my story, but my sister’s. The first time she tried to put a tampon in, my mom was standing outside the bathroom door. My mom asked her “did you get it?” and my sister was like “I think so, can you come look?” My mom went in and looked and the tampon was just wedged in between my sister’s butt cheeks… Makes me laugh all the time thinking about it.

    • Elizabeth says...

      This made me actually laugh out loud!

    • Lori says...

      This made my bad day end with a laugh!

  30. Nicole says...

    It was just before my 10th birthday, I had no idea what a period was and I assumed I was dying. Naturally I didn’t tell anyone, I just kept throwing away my dirty undies-I was a very private shy kid. Then my mom found them and we had the talk. I remember being so embarrassed and mad that I was born a girl. Hopefully my daughter doesn’t start as early, it was hard being that young!

  31. I was TEN. I remember thinking how unfair it was, because my mom had told me it probably wouldn’t happen until I was a teenager. And then one day, when my sisters and I were home from school, it happened. It honestly couldn’t have been a better scenario: not in public, not at school (ah!), not at a friend’s house. My older sister knew where my mom kept her pads and she went to get me one, but not without making sure I knew how mad she was that I’d gotten mine first. She called my mom at work (very official) and when my mom came home, she’d brought me a fancy little cake from a nearby bakery. Very celebratory, and a little embarrassing, as all the best things are.

  32. Katrin says...

    I was 13, wearing white jeans at a school disco. Need I say more? I couldn’t talk to my mom about it for the longest time and just felt kind of sad about the whole thing. Will definitely be nicer to my girls and make them feel comfortable with themselves at all times. Also, went swimming one time wearing a pad. Who knew how awkward that would feel lol! a commenter down thread jumped in the lake too with a pad making me cry with laughter. Yasss gerlz!

    On a more recent note.. after two kids tampons unfortunately didn’t do the trick anymore so I, too, went with the cup which has been a life-changer after a couple of years with very annoying periods. So, that’s worth a try if you’re struggling although it’s a very personal choice I guess.

    All the love to Jo and this lovely community.

  33. Nina says...

    I grew up w/Catholic school education, and in sex ed, we were told we’d start developing pubic and underarm hair after we had begun our periods and puberty. I had arm pit hair, so I assumed I must already have my period and didn’t know what all the hype and complaints were about! I remember going to tennis lessons wearing a giant pad – for absolutely no reason! Oh geez! Then, at age 12, at a doctor’s appointment, I noticed a brown stain in my underwear. Again, confused, b/c I thought I must’ve pooped my pants somehow and not noticed! I was expecting red. I was so clueless!!

  34. I love lola and I also use them! ( Is it weird that my significant other pays my subscription) Oddly enough I was going on 16. Everything else was early but that. Who knows why but it came at a great time. I have learned that I am not shy about it in so many words. Depends on the person I guess. But so many girls do not have the correct advice on these things. But when we grow up it’s up to us to become educated and take care of our productive body parts.

  35. Linda. says...

    It was Veterans’ Day; I was 11. Once I realized what happened, one of the first things I did was calculate how many more periods I was likely to have in my lifetime. I love that nerdy little me.

  36. Mine came when my family was moving. We had a moving truck in the driveway and everything packed up in boxes – including the kit I’d gotten in 5th grade I’d been saving for that day! It took 10 minutes for me to even find my mom to tell her – I was frantically telling my dad I needed mom, and he just didn’t understand why I could tell him whatever was happening, haha. Fortunately my mom had a pad in her purse but it was HUGE and I was a tiny kid. We had to dig through boxes to find clean clothes, which meant that my dad’s friend (he was helping us move) had to be told what was happening. I was embarrassed but I got out of moving boxes that day!

  37. Lucia says...

    I was raised by a single mom so there was no trauma or embarrassment about my first period, but I vividly remember the embarrassment of reaching into my backpack and a pad falling out. It was sixth grade and I was mortified. I was sitting next to a boy and he reached over, picked it up and handed it to me, holding it under his palm so no one else could see. I’ve been eternally grateful to him ever since.

    • Alex says...

      I have love hearts over my eyes. That story was wonderful.

  38. Sarah L. says...

    Yes to all of the cup users! For those concerned about the amount of trash pads and tampons generate, menstrual cups are a GREAT option! Some of the more popular brands are the Diva cup, Schkoon cup, and Lunette, but there are tons of shapes and sizes available. As long as you keep them clean, they can last for several years! There is a bit of a learning curve as far as insertion goes, but I have never looked back to pads and tampons.

  39. Kim says...

    I was 12. Someone at school must have called my mom because she picked me up from school early and declared it “Woman’s Day!” She took me out to lunch and bought me all kinds of treats. Also gave me “the talk.” I felt very special. It was like a celebration.

  40. erica says...

    I got my period at 13 when I was at home with my dad. He was watching tv and I was in the bathroom. As soon as I noticed blood, I ran out of the bathroom, pants down to my ankles, screaming that I AM DYING!! I should probably mention that before this moment I could have told you all about menstrual cycles, sanitary pads and tampons thanks to my very weird, over sharer of a mother and sex ed in elementary and middle school. But, it’s like everything went out the window the second I saw blood. Point is, my dad handled the following hours way better than i did.

  41. Amanda Bee says...

    I was 13, in my first year of middle school, and being raised by a single dad. Given that being 13 and in middle school is like a perpetual state of mortification, there was NO WAY I was going to tell my dad that I had my period, but I couldn’t drive myself to the store to buy pads. So, for months, I stole all the free pads they left out at school. You know, the ones that are basically diapers.

    Eventually my grandma caught on and bought me some decent supplies, thank goodness. I never talked about my period with my dad until I was 16 and grounded from my car the week of my period. When I told him I needed him to pick up pads, he was so mortified that he un-grounded me temporarily so I could drive to the store and get them myself.

  42. Jen says...

    Can’t wait to give LOLA a try! I just went to their site and my only hitch is that they only offer a choice of plastic applicator or none at all. I’ve had difficulty using tampons without any applicator, but I hate the thought of using (and disposing) of so much plastic (I try to be conscious of this in my everyday life). I’d love if they had a cardboard/paper applicator option along with paper wrapper. If the tampons are biodegradable, so should everything else! xo

  43. Leslie says...

    It was Friday the 13th. That really sums up everything about my periods to this day.

  44. Aimee says...

    I was 14 and when I realized what was happening, I was PISSED. I knew enough about periods to understand that they were not fun and young-teen-me was just fine with putting it off as long as possible. Actually, creeping-up-on-middle-age me still agrees, ha! I managed on my own for a couple of days with the sample supplies they’d given us in health ed class, but eventually they ran out so I had to tell my mother.

  45. Halloween 6th grade. While trick or treating
    Terrifying!

    • Laura says...

      Mine was on Halloween too! I found out when I changed into my costume. Scary indeed.

  46. Mine first period was hilarious, if not slightly traumatising! I woke up and went to the bathroom and suddenly felt light-headed (I didn’t know yet it had started in the night). I fainted, cut my head open and my braces slammed against my lips, cutting them as well! By the time I came to and left the bathroom, I looked completely in the wars and my mother didn’t know what to address first!

    I also have a funny memory of my sister’s first time. I was living in London at the time and she was too shy to talk to anyone about it but me, so I showed her how everything worked over Skype!

  47. Molly says...

    Sounds like a great company, glad there are starting to be better, less toxic options and I definitely wish it had been around when I got mine! But I am another menstrual cup convert, and I will never go back to tampons! I tried three kinds before I found my favorite, but they were all better than tampons for me. I rolled my eyes at every friend who told me about them for years, and assumed they were crazy hippies, but now I wish I had made the switch much sooner! I also highly recommend an app called ‘clue’ for keeping track of your cycle on your phone, so easy to use and helpful!

  48. Kate says...

    The worst! I was 14 and I was at my friends house. I had gone to the bathroom just as we were leaving . In the car I said to mum ” i think i got my period”…. cue my mum crying and shouting “lets go to the Man Ling Chinese restaurant to celebrate!!” WTF!!! So we shared sweet and sour pork while I sat in agony as my mum made blushing glances at my dad…. the HORROR!!!

  49. Kate says...

    I love the discussion thread, but not the plug for Lola. I have always used tampons and never had leakage issues with a heavy flow. However, I tried out the product excited with the promise of better materials for my body and convienece. I had constant leakage issues using their super plus. The product failed on the main job of a tampon….proceed with caution. I hope they improve the product as I love the bonus features promised.

  50. GF says...

    got my first period….on my 12th birthday….on the first day of sleep away bible camp. that day the nurse handed me a jumbo pad and i jumped out of the canoe with the rest of the kids and learned my first lesson of womanhood = do not jump in a lake with a jumbo pad

  51. Sarah says...

    It was the summer that I was 12, and I was having a sleepover at my grandparents’ house. Like some of the other commenters, it didn’t click right away because it was a brown stain, rather than red! I did figure it out though, and I found a pantyliner in the cupboard under the sink. Then I went and told my grandmother, and we called my mom to tell her. A few days later my mom, grandmother, and one of my aunts took me out for lunch to celebrate. It’s funny, I haven’t thought about that part in years, but now I remember it so clearly! It was a beautiful old house that had a restaurant in it, and we sat near a big window overlooking the garden.

    I felt really prepared for it. My mom talked to my sister and I so openly growing up, nothing was off limits. We were taught that our bodies were wonderful, natural things that came in all shapes and sizes, we learned the proper names for our anatomy, we talked a lot about bodily functions, the whole deal. I remember being embarrassed by it when I was a preteen/teenager – I have such a clear memory of being about 16 or 17, and it was the 286th time she had reiterated the importance of knowing your own body/masturbation/learning how to please yourself and I was just dying of embarrassment, like OMG MOM ENOUGH, EW STOP TALKING. But now I’m so grateful! YES to having such an open, supportive (and sex-positive!) discourse with your kids about their bodies! It’s so empowering.

  52. Julia says...

    This is a wonderful post for women, and I’m 33. I wish I had had a kit like this when I was 12!

  53. My period arrived with a whoosh in the middle of gym class in grade 7. (Luckily, I was wearing dark shorts, and it was at the end of the day!) I knew I would get it sooner or later, but it still caught me off guard, as I hoped I’d be a late bloomer (haha as if).
    I was showered with ‘congratulations, you’re becoming a woman!’ from my mom and sister and promptly given the how-to on things, but I still mourned the loss of my period-free life.

  54. Ashley P says...

    I got my period… my first time at Disneyland! I was mortified. My family was on vacation and 7 of us were sharing one bathroom. It was just the worst.

  55. Elizabeth says...

    I was at the movie theater see The Coneheads.

  56. Angela says...

    I remember the exact date, October 6. I was 12 years old and in 7th grade. We were watching Old Yeller in my English class and my stomach started to hurt. I ran to the bathroom when the class ended and realized what was happening. I went to a church school, at which my mom also worked, so I ran to her office and told her to hang up the phone because I was bleeding. She didn’t understand what I meant and gave me a look that was a combo of, “Why didn’t you just go to the nurse?” And “Oh my gosh, what happened?” I looked at her, rolled my eyes, and said, “Mom! I’m…BLEEDING! You know?” And then she started crying and I got really embarrassed. Lol Anyway, she helped me get settled and the rest, as the say, is history.

  57. sam says...

    My stepmom had pretty well covered what would happen and why and told me her story of when she first got hers and thought she was dying but, when my period first started the day before my 13th birthday, I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone. It seemed strange and mortifying to talk about it so I took my saved birthday money to the drug store and bought what I needed, and occasionally snuck a few of my mom’s and stepmom’s pads (I couldn’t figure out tampons until I was in my very late teens, so my stepmom’s OBs were way out of the question). I kept it under wraps for about 6 months, until my dad (the horror!) embarrassedly confronted me about rinsing the blood from my underwear when doing laundry. I thought I might die.

  58. Rachel says...

    I was convinced I had started mine 100x before it ACTUALLY started. I was a nervous wreck for a couple of years. Constantly checking. Awful scenerios would run through my mind. I really didn’t know what to expect even though my mom had gone over it with me several times. Mine arrived the very last day of seventh grade (age 13). It was such a non-event that I was kind of disappointed.

    I was also very nervous about using tampons for several years. When I finally did, I couldn’t believe how easy it is. I still think about all those wasted summer days I sat on the side of the pool with just my feet in the water.

    I was generally a nervous child.

  59. Cara says...

    Growing up with a doctor as a dad, we were always very scientific about our bodies — I knew correct terminology for everything, and bodies were never this shameful thing. So when I did get my period in 7th grade, it was no big deal. I knew exactly what it was, and my mom just took me to get supplies. The whole normacly thing is definitely being passed down to my own kids — I never seem to be in the bathroom alone!

  60. mary-kate says...

    I was 10. It was evening time and my stomach was really hurting. I didn’t really know anything about periods and can’t remember my mom having ever talked to me about them. I went to the bathroom and noticed there was blood when I wiped. I remember thinking something was really wrong. I went to my mom who was busy sewing and told her that I was bleeding. I remember also feeling really ashamed and nervous about telling her this. She asked me if I had pushed too hard while pooping (which is funny) but I told her no and repeated, “I’m BLEEEEEDING.” Then she realized what I meant and jumped up to help me. She gave me a pad and told me a little more about what a period meant. I went to bed that night sobbing because I thought it meant that since I was now a woman I’d be having a baby any day. The next morning my mom told me I could stay home from school and we went to see my aunt. They let me drink a fancy cappuccino and took me to get my ears pierced! At the time I was so scared about what it meant to be growing up, but looking back now I so appreciate my mom and aunt for celebrating me and welcoming me into womanhood.

  61. VERY ASHAMED says...

    Oh, my story?

    I was afraid to use tampons for years. I finally decided to decided to bite the bullet and promptly forget it. A few days later I remembered and I couldn’t find it so my GYNO father had to help (SHAME).

  62. Annalise shumway says...

    This was what I needed to read today when my period arrived again once again NOT ON SCHEDULE. I have never laughed so hard about Ruth’s story, “When I got home, my mom, trying to be progressive, offered to throw me a ‘goddess party.’ Then she announced at the dinner table that I had become ‘a woman,’ but my introverted dad and brother were not into it. They were like, ‘What do we do with this information?’ ”

  63. juliana says...

    I can so relate to Nell’s experience. I was 12 and I was completely convinced I had some rare type of cancer until I told my mom in a panic and she told me what it was. Even though I was expecting to get mine when it actually happened it didn’t even cross my mind!

  64. Isabelle says...

    I got my first period the summer between 5th and 6th grade. I knew what it was but I remember having this devastating feeling that I wasn’t a kid anymore. I told my mom and she was very encouraging and had already told me everything I needed to know. Later that night my dad came into my room and told me that it was okay and that my mom and my grandmothers had all been through the same thing. I remember thinking it was so weird to think about my grandmothers in that way and I felt another twinge of sadness at the thought of getting older. I used pads for years and had a huge fear of tampons! When I finally worked up the courage to use one (at age 16) I did it totally wrong and basically got it painfully stuck! My sister came into the bathroom with me and ran a warm bath and told me to get in to ease getting the tampon out! It was very dramatic but I still think about the fact that she was the person I called for. I trusted her with my body and my hilarious fears….and I still do!

  65. Ana says...

    A friend recently told me that everyone always knew when I was on my period because that’s the only time I would carry a purse! Imbarrassing!

    • Elliesee says...

      I could never figure out how to get to the high school bathroom with a pad – my mom bought me a passport waist pouch for that. It did raise an eyebrow, but I still use it every time I travel.

    • Suzy says...

      Oh my gosh I totally remember feeling this in high school. Mortified of taking a purse to the bathroom because everyone knew! I used to try and stick the pad/tampon up my sleeve

  66. Lauren C says...

    I was a freshman in college when I started (#blessed), and the same day my new roommate invited me to go swimming with her and her friends. I realized I needed a tampon and cooly asked her for one but had no idea how to use it. I went into the bathroom and called my mother, who was at work, and had to explain to me (in a whisper) the logistics of it all. She kept cracking up the whole time and so I started laughing hysterically as well. I’m pretty sure I still put it in wrong, but I did make it to the pool that day!

    • Flo says...

      Love this story

  67. Meaghan says...

    i’m reminded of the novel “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” when the main character gets her period after feeling guilty for not standing up for an un-wed mother in her neighborhood. She thinks her heart has literally broken and she’s bleeding to death.

  68. Caitlin says...

    Oh gosh- I remember this moment and it makes me laugh!
    I told my mom the morning I got it and she gave me a big high five!
    My mom had left for work and my dad said to me “Mom told me to remind you to not flush any pads down the toilet.”… I was mortified! Haha my poor dad.

  69. Kate says...

    I was in a remote part of Honduras with my dad and a team of medical workers. I came out of an outhouse realizing I just got my first period and was totally mortified – mostly at the idea I would have to tell my dad. I did and I’ll never forget his response, “isn’t there something to cork it up?” Ha! Thanks, Dad. Luckily a women on the team helped me out.

  70. Anni says...

    I had to smile while trying to remember that scene… seems like a million years ago (but is only 21 :)
    I can not recall the specific situation but I remember my mom being so supportive and great!
    As I told her that I got my period (I was 14), she told me to always think about it as something truly great which the female body can accomplish, rather than to be annoyed by it.
    So whenever I would complain about the negative sides (aches, tampons(never used pads!), …) she wold point out all the good points: we get to have babies one day, the hormones give us extra power during our period (studies have proven that, also in sports). And she adviced me to use tampons from the beginning to be able to do whatever you want during period: sports, swim, I would never have to miss out. With my own daughter (5) I talked about it since we are open and she sees the tampons and asked about them. It is important to let her already now know that this is also part of being a woman. And a very cool thing to be proud of, don’t you think, ladies?

    PS: during a year abroad in the US as a german student in high school I freaked out when I first saw tampons with adapters… did not know how to handle them and needed my host sister to explain that to me :)

    • Heidi says...

      Haha! I had my mom send me ob.s (German tampon brand) from home when I lived abroad for a year… Couldn’t handle them either!
      And why are there so few deodorant sprays in the US?! ?

  71. Tessa says...

    Have you heard of the Diva Cup? I’ve had one for over ten years and swear by it. It’s a silicone reusable cup that saves you from having to use tampons. It saves you money, is good for the environment (no tampons in landfills) and is great if you are in a home with a sensitive plumbing/septic system. Plus, if you have heavy flow, you can keep track of blood loss to tell your doctor. I’d totally recommend!

    They come in two different sizes. One for before children and one for after. There’s also different name-brands, but I can only speak to the Diva Cup version.

    http://amzn.to/2oP3g4N

    • bridget says...

      Yes! The Diva cup is great!

  72. Liz says...

    My mother and I had a lot of discussions about my period before I actually got it–not just the whole business of how it worked, but planning for EVERY eventuality. What would I do if I got it while I was over at a friend’s house? What would I do if I got it at school? What would I do if I bled through what I was wearing? What would I do if I had bad cramps and she wasn’t there? I was a kid who liked to plan and to have all my bases covered, and my mom was (and still is) the person with all the best solutions. These many conversations with her made me feel so comforted, knowledgeable, and empowered, and ready to face to my period!

    When I actually got it (13 years old at sleep away camp in Maine), I had NO CLUE what had happened. I woke up with very minimal, fairly dry blood in my pajama pants, and was so confused about what it was. I actually had to show my counselor because I was so perplexed (she explained what it was and was totally cool about it). It seems hilarious to me now that I drew such a blank in the moment. My mother, of course, had packed me off with a drugstore’s worth of feminine care products, so I was all set :)

  73. Debbie Z. says...

    I was twelve when my period started and spent probably a full hour doubled over on the toilet in our hide-away upstairs bathroom with terrible cramps. My mom finally came to check on me and when she came in the room I dramatically wailed, “This is the worst pain I have had in my entire life!” She was sympathetic and discussed menstrual cramps with me but, thinking back, she probably had to hide a smile, too. She was probably thinking, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, Babe.”

  74. Briana says...

    OMG! I was at sleepaway camp at age 13…the (male) nurse there was adorable, and my friends all spent the first few days of camp gossiping about how cute he was. After a day of awful cramps, I was relieved to find out it was just that I had started my period for the first time. But when I had to ask Super Cute Nurse for “feminine supplies,” I was MORTIFIED. Still makes me cringe thinking about it 15 years later.

    • Laura says...

      Camp stories- the worst and the best! I worked as a camp counsellor and frequently would go to the nurse to get supplies for campers (why this system was in place, I don’t know) BUT one day I ran in and said to the nurse that I was grabbing a tampon for one of my girls and he shouted after me “they’ll be way too small for you honey”. Mortified I grabbed and went, only to have my JC clarify that somehow the nurse misheard me and thought that I was getting some flip-flops for myself (yet another med centre supply). To this day I both die and laugh myself to tears thinking about his advice on tampons that were “too small” for me. Dying, dying!

  75. Emily says...

    I got my first period the summer after sixth grade. My family had just returned from a vacation to Disneyworld and when we arrived home, my dad didn’t unpack his suitcase. He announced to us that he was leaving to live with his girlfriend. The next day, my period arrived. My mother was despondent and not really leaving her room-my aunts and some of her friends were at our house to help out. I had so little information on how to manage my period, that I thought you put the adhesive part of the pad onto your skin. So that’s what I did. This was a very traumatic summer for my family and I have always associated the arrival of my period with that trauma and with the total end of my childhood. I don’t remember even discussing any of it with my mom. Many months later, my older cousin who was sort of a mother figure to me taught me how to use a tampon and to take motrin to relieve cramps, etc.

    • Caitlin says...

      My heart breaks for you hearing this story. I hope you’ve been able to find healing as you’ve grown older…your period sucks enough without needing it to immediately take you back to that trauma. I have a friend who got her first period on 9/11 and she has similar feelings about it.

    • Shannah says...

      Oh Emily – big hugs.

  76. i was 13, in 7th grade. i wasn’t too surprised, i had been discharging for a few weeks and i thought it was weird and then when it happened, i was like, huh. used pads all through middle and high school, discovered tampons in college… a few years ago i started using a diva cup and now i wear THINX undies.

  77. This is awesome, I’m glad Lola is combining periods products with education and information since this is so often an afterthought when we talk about first periods with young girls.
    If you like reading these stories, you should check out the ‘New Moon’ podcast from The Peach. It’s a podcast by women’s health providers to spread the word about things like periods, birth control, masturbation, and all the other fun things. Check it out for more great menarche stories!
    http://thepeachpodcast.com/2017/03/moon-party/

  78. clare says...

    I woke up with mine New Years Day 2002. I was staying at a friend’s house and had literally just learned what a period was the night before.

  79. bisbee says...

    My granddaughter just got her period last month…she’ll be 12 in a few weeks. I may order the kit for her. I was 13 when I got mine, and since she got hers the night before they left for Disneworld, I had to tell her my story, that I got mine the night before Inwentvwith my family from Baltimore to the New York World’s Fair.

    I certainly didn’t use tampons when I first got my period…I think I started a few years later. I don’t know that a 12 year old needs to use them… I would think she could wait a few years. And it has nothing to do with sexuality…I just don’t think she is ready for that.

  80. Lisa says...

    I think this was my first period (I’m not sure) but basically one evening I was really emotional, super grumpy at my cousin who was living with us at the time and sobbing over the book I was reading (no castanets at the Wells). I remember thinking that I had gone insane (and wrote as much in diary. The next day it arrived – I was expecting a torrent of blood, so the brownish smear I got was a relief.
    I remember that there was an episode of Blossom where she dreamed that her mother baked her a cake to explain everything. I was really jealous – I so wanted a period cake

  81. I got my period at 13 the day after I caught my parents in bed. Yep, weird! Freud must be still be laughing.

  82. sarah says...

    Is anyone else confused by the idea of using toilet paper? I’ve tried before in a pinch, and even with my underwear STUFFED FULL of the maximum amount of toilet paper, it would work for *maybe* 20 minutes!

    • Samantha says...

      I had to use toilet paper overnight staying at my dad’s. My mom was at a cousin’s wedding in another city, and my period started so late, there was nowhere my dad could take me to get pads and he was like “Idk, just roll some cotton in toilet paper and use that” (I think growing up in a house with one bathroom and 9 other siblings, 4 of them girls, tought him something). I did what he said, but I just didn’t trust it! I got no sleep that night.

    • Emily R says...

      We all have different flows. Mine is very light.

  83. Lucy says...

    This is an easy one because it is a memory I will never forget. I was 13, my paternal grandparents were visiting from England, and I was with them and my dad on a tour of the White House. Oh, and did I mention that I was wearing ALL white??! White shirt, socks, shoes and you guessed it…white shorts. I felt something rather uncomfortable and in the restroom, to my horror, discovered I’d started this mysterious period thing my girlfriends had all been talking about. Thanks to tissue paper, I made it through the rest of the tour but in the photograph we took on the steps of the White House, I can see still see the mortification in my eyes!

  84. Blythe says...

    My dad has always been an amazing sport and bought all of my mom and I’s tampons growing up. He called them popsicles and would ask what color I needed before going to the store. “Two boxes of yellow popsicles for me dad!” It still makes me giggle to think of him checking out with boxes and boxes of tampons – he ALWAYS stocked up when they were on sale.

    • Hahahahahhahaah I love this so much! My dad also stocked up when they were on sale, but the popsicle thing is hilarious.

    • lol this is lovely! My bf buys mines and he is so loud about it lol But he’s a real sport. Color coding is his go to also lol

  85. Melanie says...

    I love reading the comments!
    Mine was at age 12, on field day at school. My friends noticed the dark spot on my pants as I was doing the long jump (yikes!). But they (since most had gotten theirs already) were so supportive and gave me a jacket to tie around my waist. I didn’t want to go to the school nurse, so I waited til I go home. My mother was supportive, but clearly not thrilled – I think it was a combination of realizing your child is growing up, combined with the sense of apprehension of a young girl’s fertility.
    I’ve always used pads since that was the only thing I knew. When I turned 40 (and as we seemed to be going to more beach getaways celebrating friends’ birthdays), I figured I’d better learn how to use a tampon. I still default to the pad, but after reading the comments, I am intrigued about using a cup. Especially since I probably only have a few years of this left! I’m in my early 40s, and I have to say there’s a bittersweet feeling of this phase of my womanhood ending.
    I have 2 young daughters (8 and 10) and I am in the process of explaining our bodies, sexuality, etc. I want them to possess confidence and not view menstruation in a negative light. That reminds me of the Gloria Steinem essay “If Men Could Menstruate” that I had taped to our shared bathroom in med school …love it!

    • Melanie says...

      Just another thought –
      It’s funny and nostalgic for many of us to recall our first periods, but in some places of the world, a girl’s first period is the sign that her school education is over. Both because of cultural reasons, as well as the shame and problems associated with not having adequate pads, etc.
      We have a variety of options – pads, tampons, cups, spanx – but what if we didn’t? Just last week, I was talking to my mother who grew up in a country in the 1960s where they used handmade cloths. She spoke of the embarrassment of having to wash and then discreetly hide these cotton pads/cloths so that no males would see them. I can hardly imagine being excited about “womanhood” when you have to deal with that.
      I am so grateful that I and my daughters have the freedom to choose what to use and the freedom to be open about it.

    • Katie says...

      Yes, indeed. We are so lucky to have the options we do – in this day and age (and for me having spent most of my life in North America).
      Thank you — puts some things into perspective, doesn’t it?

  86. Cait says...

    It was my first day of grade 4, so I must have been… 9 or 10? It was awful. I woke up early to go to the bathroom, and noticed all the blood on my pajamas and legs. I went sobbing into my mom’s room and she just held me while we both cried. I had just learned what periods were that summer when my mom had explained it to me, but I knew no one my age had it (grade 4 is so early!). My mom put a little panty liner in my underwear, gave me an Advil and took me to school. Luckily, the school was right across the street from my house, so I was able to come home for lunch and my mom was able to check on me after a couple hours. I remember feeling incredibly sad I had no one my age to talk to about it. I only ever really talked to my mom. In later years (high school), I found out that most of my friends didn’t get it until 7 or 8th grade! By then, I was a pro. :)

  87. Kate says...

    My sister uses Lola and loves it. I have Mirena and haven’t had a period in 6 years.

    My first period was pretty much the worst… It was the summer of 1986, I had just turned 11 and was crammed in the front (vinyl) seat of our un-airconditioned woody station wagon, wedged between my dad and an uncle visiting from Italy. We were caravanning home from a week-long vacation rental and I was the only female in the car. I thought I was extra sweaty due to circumstances, but when we stopped at a rest stop, I realized it was more than sweat. My mom, and all other female relatives, were in another car that did not stop with us.

    I asked my dad for some money (so I could buy a pad) and he said no. I begged, but he was crabby from the heat and driving and my brothers fighting in the back and was in no mood for my cagey request. After some back and forth asking, where I was trying to be subtle, I ended up shouting at him about blood, periods and pads. He quickly handed over the money and the sat silently the rest of the ride home. Super fun!

  88. maria says...

    I got my first period at the age of 12, while being home alone with two middle-age male contractors renovating our house (my parents were at work and I already came home from school). I knew what was happening so I stayed cool, but somehow forgot to wash the blood-stained, dove-gray Wrangler jeans I was wearing that day and left them lying somewhere in plain sight. When my mom came back from work, instead of properly acknowledging my first period, she scolded me for leaving the stained trousers for the contractors to see… While the period itself felt perfectly normal, it was my mother who shamed me and I still, to this day, feel bad about not hiding the dirty trousers from those guys! How weird is that?

    • E says...

      Also… to be left home alone at age 12 with two middle-aged male contractors? Just agh.

  89. Ari says...

    Oddly enough, 10 minutes before reading this post I just discovered Lola and placed my first order! I love that they donate these essential needs also.

    A few months before my period started, I was spotting and so excited for the real deal! The night it actually happened my mom was watching her favorite show at the time; Desperate Housewives. I begged her to turn away from the TV because I had big news. LOL. She was so excited and pulled out a (pre made once spotting started) period basket that included a Taking Care of You.

    • Flo says...

      How sweet, your mom!

  90. Ally says...

    I don’t remember exactly what I was doing but it came with a vengeance. I was 13. I ran to the washroom and sat there for almost an hour until my mom knocked on the door and asked if I was OK. It was a weekend.

    I remember the pads being insanely bulky and awful… and I remember changing it every hour the first time because I thought it was just awful. My mom celebrated and clapped and thought it was so great and I was just like, this blows. STOP. Mom.

    She asked me if I wanted her to show me how to use tampons when I declared that I couldn’t figure them out.

    I was mortified and stuck with pads until later in high school and I decided I was done wearing diapers and took a pack of tampons into the bathroom until I figured them out.

    Periods! Sheesh.

  91. Klixie says...

    I love the idea of celebrating my daughter’s transition to womanhood!

    My first period was at 10. I told my mum, who said I was too young and didn’t believe me. I used toilet paper for a year, too ashamed to tell anyone else.

    As a mum now, I don’t hide my period from my son, 6, and my daughter, 4. If they walk in on me changing my pad, I tell them why. We have had such simple, open conversations about our bodies, hormones, the differences between adults and children.

    My mother’s reaction scarred me and I hope to never do the same to my children.

  92. Bethany says...

    I got my first period on the first day of school in 5th grade. When I got home from school that day and my mom asked how it went, I promptly told her, “I got my period,” and went into the bathroom and closed the door. I wish I could go back in time to see the look on my mom’s face after that statement!

  93. LG says...

    Christmas Day, 7th Grade. What a gift!

    • Rosemary says...

      Me too!!

  94. Alma says...

    I had it when I was 11.5. I didn’t know anything about periods and I thought that I had some gravely disease and was dying. I was depressed and my aunt noticed that I was not eating anything and asked me what was wrong. Immediately, I started crying and said that I am dying because I have blood. She laughed and explained everything and MADE a pad for me. I was born in the Soviet Union and they did not sell pads or tampons before 1989-1990. Women bought 2 pound sterile cotton and bandage at the pharmacies and made pads. Also, some women sew cotton pads and washed them after each use and I actually saw these selling in US in the past few years. They are advertised as eco-friendly, vegan. This made me laugh! I never tried it because it is kind of disgusting! We didn’t have any sex ed classes back then in the Soviet Union and we were also ashamed to talk about anything like that with our parents. And so were our parents!

  95. Tanya says...

    It was the summer before high school and I was planning on going to a new friends cottage with her family. I woke up with my period and thought nothing of it, I had learnt about it in school and had a few drops a few months before so was prepared. I put on a pad and got ready to go, but it was a GUSHER. In the car with her family, we had to stop twice for me to change my pad and I was constantly worried it was leaking. Stressed out the whole weekend about constantly changing my pad, not being able to swim or hardly play any games because every movement felt like it would expose my new womanly status to the world. I’ve been using the Diva Cup for 7 years and will never go back to shifting pads or leaky tampons!

  96. Kristina says...

    I was in 6th grade social studies class and had my very first cramps and of course I thought I needed to go #2. So I asked to be excused and sat in the bathroom FOREVER rocking back on forth on the toilet…but nothing happened. For some reason (even though my parents and my sex ed teachers had prepared me for this moment) it did not cross my mind that I was getting my period. A day after the cramps, it finally came. I actually don’t remember much about that…must have worked out okay. But till this day, I still get horrible cramps without a period the day before. So evil.

  97. JJ says...

    I got my first period at 12, on valentine’s day, while eating dinner at Ponderosa (that old steakhouse chain). I hated having to tell my mom because I knew she’d tell my dad, then the rest of the family… a few years earlier my grandma had congratulated my sister, in front of everyone, on having her period, and I was so mortified for her that I decided to just handle it myself when the time came. But I ended up asking my mom for help, and wearing her giant pads until I felt comfortable buying tampons for myself.

  98. Samantha says...

    Mine is funny. I noticed I got my period when I woke up. It was over the Christmas holidays so thank God I didn’t have to go to school. For some reason I felt sooo embarrassed about it (maybe because I was 11) so I didn’t tell my mom. Since I didn’t have any pads and my mom used tampons (I didn’t wanna try those!) I stole her pantyliners and I would use like three at a time. Until I ran out… My mom was visiting a friend of hers that day so she wasn’t home but my aunt was. I went to my aunt like “Hi, I have to tell you something…” and she just knew. So she calls my mom, my mom starts crying on the phone (moms, lol) and leaves her friends house to go get me pads.

  99. Toni says...

    My best friend and I got ours at the very same time. We were sitting in a car waiting for our moms who were in a store together and all of a sudden we looked at each other like “Uh oh!” We went into the store to use the bathroom and in our separate stalls we discovered we’d both gotten our first periods–an event we’d both been anticipating and whispering about to each other with excitement and anxiety for months. I guess what they say about women’s cycles syncing when they spend a lot of time together is true!

  100. Sonja says...

    13. Playing paintball with my Dad and uncles (I had BEGGED to go). My cousin, two years older than I was there too. I was so relieved! I rushed out of the portapotty into the mud and frantically whispered to her that I started my period and I didn’t know what to do (paint balls and expletives flying overhead). She looked at me with huge eyes and said “I haven’t gotten my period yet!”

    Cue hormonal tears and gobs of toilet paper in my Limited 2 cotton pink leopard print undies. Two hour ride home wedged between totally bewildered Dad and uncle at the alligator tears rolling down my cheeks.

    My mom totally delivered! Stocked bathroom, earnest explanation of tampon use, and KY Jelly in case early tampon use hurt.

  101. Yuila says...

    All third graders in my elementary school attended a sex-ed class. We watched a film featuring a sleepover where one of the girls got her period. The mother in the film explained everything and was very warm and supportive while all of the girls asked one question after another. In the morning the mother made everyone pancakes in shape of the female reproductive system! All of the girls in my class got a period kit stuffed with all kinds of pads in different colored wrappers and a travel sized deodorant. The kit was teal with magenta trim and had inspirational slogans all over the outside (so 90s–wish I still had it). I didn’t get my period until I was 13 but I loved that period kit and never used anything in it until one day when I was out of pads and desperate–years later! I’d read lots of teen books featuring periods so when I got mine it was no surprise, I just dug into my mom’s pad stash. It didn’t seem like a big deal so I never told anyone and I don’t think I even mentioned it in my journal or said anything to my mom. I do remember being surprised it wasn’t red, but I figured out that was just because the blood had dried. I’d like to give the cup a go and I think I will!

    Does the Cup of Jo site crash anyone else’s web browser or seriously slow it down? It happens to me all the time and makes reading the amazing comments section such an effort.

    • Regina says...

      Yuila – My Catholic school showed the same pancake movie! We were older – maybe 5th grade. Also, COJ never affects my browser.

    • Sarah says...

      I also saw the pancake movie. Catholic school?

  102. Jami says...

    Oh, dear…my first period started when I was at a friend’s sleepover birthday party in 8th grade. I remember my belly feeling weird and kind of sick but I shook it off for several rounds of “Truth or Dare” and “Would You Rather.” When I woke up in the morning, went to the bathroom and saw the evidence in my underpants I was TERRIFIED because I thought I had pooped my pants! LOL!

  103. Danielle says...

    In Tina Fey’s “Bossy Pants” she writes about her first period, and always makes me laugh. “Then, it happened, in the spring of 1981 I achieved menarche while singing Neil Diamond’s “Song Sung Blue” at a districtwide chorus concert. I was ten years old. I had noticed something was weird earlier in the day, but I knew from commercials that one’s menstrual period was a blue liquid that you poured like laundry detergent onto maxi pads to test their absorbency. This wasn’t blue, so…I ignored it for a few hours. When we got home I pulled my mom aside to ask her if it was weird that I was bleeding in my underpants. She was very sympathetic but also a little baffled. Her eyes said, “Dummy, didn’t you read ‘How Shall I Tell My Daughter?'” I had read it, but nowhere in the pamphlet did anyone say that period was NOT a blue liquid. At that moment, two things became clear to me. I was now technically a woman, and I would never be a doctor.”

    • Louise says...

      I thought it would be blue too! Except I was 12.5, not 10 years old . . . I guess I thought the blood they mentioned in 5th grade sex ed was a euphemism for a mysterious blue liquid??

  104. What a great concept! I recently started using Thinx and I am in heaven. While it did take me about 2 periods to really figure out the best way to use them, I am so happy with them. I’m on this try to make less waste kick, hopefully it lasts. But a girl still wants to go in the ocean so I will definitely be picking these up for those situations.

    • Oh! I got my first period while I was practicing piano before ballet. I felt it, promptly got up, went to the bathroom, then yelled for my mother. She ran in like my ovaries had dropped out of my vagina or something. She was happy to see it was just my period. I told her that I simply could not go to ballet like this. She didn’t even acknowledge my comment and showed me a box of tampons. No way, I told her. She opened one up and and it was made of cardboard and scared the shit out of me. Thankfully my mother is not shy and helped me put one in and off I went to ballet. At least I got to go out to dinner after.

  105. M. says...

    My first period arrived 3 days after my fifteenth birthday, at home. Up until that point, if I went on any kind of class trip, my mother would tell my chaperone that I hadn’t gotten my period yet, and to help me if anything happened. Obviously, I was mortified. My mother never let me use tampons , and was insistent on using pads. The end result: LOTS of ruined underwear for a few years.

    A bonus to getting my period a bit later – regular periods from the get go! Since my very first, I have always had a a very regular 30 day cycle. :)

  106. Ana says...

    my oh my, I just realised that one day I will also have this happening with my own daughter… I got my period when I was 10, intense age, I know. But honestly, it didn’t feel weird or anything, my mom made it seem natural and normal, as it really is. I remember the day perfectly, it was June and I went shopping with my neighbour’s parents for her birthday party. When I got back home, I went to the toilet and there it was. I called my mom and she sat with me in the toilet and explained all the options I had and later went with me to the supermarket to help me choose what I preferred. Around that day she also explained all things properly – our body, pregnancy and all that jazz. Even though I was only 10, she didn’t really treat me like a child and she made it seem special and normal.

  107. Beth says...

    It was the summer before 8th grade and I was biking around town with my best friend Steve! We were at a picnic at his Mom’s boss’ house and I went to the bathroom and saw that I’d gotten it. I ran out, told him we needed to bike home immediately and didn’t tell him why. My mom was super open about it, being a nurse, and was very pro tampon so that’s what she gave me right away. The only catch is she gave me a small tube of KY jelly to make it “easier”. I had NO clue what that was and thought it was what everyone did. Years later carrying around my little pouch of tampons with travel KY, I got some strange reactions from friends. When I finally learned what it really was used for, I was mortified!

  108. Jackie says...

    I love Lola! I used to get the worst cramps and they would stop the moment I removed the tampon, so I came to the conclusion that it was poisoning me – which is probably was, with all those chemicals! I have not had any cramps since using Lola. Love.

  109. I’ve wanted to try LOLA forever, so your post was the perfect reminder that i need to pull the trigger! Thanks for sharing. I’ve loved reading through everyone’s stories so far ; )

  110. Just a word to the wise — I tried Lola because I loved the idea of the company and the packaging was so cute. But the tampons LEAK. I tried all the sizes and even the biggest ones don’t hold up on the heavier days, no matter how often you change them. I was super lucky I was wearing black jeans the first time it happened or I’m not sure what I would have done. Still it was horribly uncomfortable, something that hadn’t happened to me since maybe middle school.

    I let their customer service know and they were kind enough to refund the boxes I’d bought. So A+ for customer service! Too bad the product itself doesn’t actually work!

    • Tori says...

      I second this. LOVE the idea of Lola. Love the company. Love the message. But unfortunately, they didn’t work for me and leaked everywhere :(

  111. Kate says...

    I ordered box of Lola’s and couldn’t even get them in- the applicators are awful! I ended up donating them and going back to drugstore ones :(

  112. Lara says...

    I learned pretty much everything from repeatedly reading “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret” and practicing with the pads included in first-period kit that I received at school. I was a late bloomer (a few months shy of my 15th birthday) and was growing increasingly worried that it would never happen. Then, one day, I went to the cinema with my mum and sister to see the Pokemon film and, when we got home from the cinema, I went to the loo and there it was. Now that I have a copper IUD, periods are 2 to 3 weeks of pure torture and it’s interesting to look back and remember how relieved I was when mine finally arrived for the first time. As an aside: not all European women use non-applicator tampons. The feeling of the rough cotton makes my skin crawl, so I’ve been firmly in the applicator camp since I first used them, aged 16.

  113. Sasha says...

    A big shout out for menstrual cups. Mine was a big help. I love the first period box, so thoughtful, especially the directions for tampons and encouragement.

    Just in case this is helpful, for those who would rather not have a period, you can use hormonal birth control pills to suppress your period. You just take the “active” pills continuously without taking the “period” week pills. So every three weeks you begin a new pack. There are some kinds that are even set up this way.

    I’ve suppressed for two and a half years, and for me, it’s resulted in a gigantic improvement in my quality of life. My dr actually recommended it for me, and I’ve had only positive effects. If your period is having a detrimental effect on your life, do some research, talk to you dr, it might be helpful for you.

    (I’m a certified hippie, doula, home birther….So this was a big leap for me. I read everything I could get my hands on about safety and my conclusion is that it’s very safe, as well as effective).

    • Sasha says...

      Just in case that wasn’t clear, suppressing periods means I don’t have one at all. No blood, no pms, no cyclical changes through the month. Every day I feel very much the same, and I never worry about dealing with the pain or mess of a period.
      I experience less anxiety and I’ve lost weight, and no more anemia. I also sleep much much better. I hope this is helpful! I wish I had started suppressing many years sooner but I just didn’t know you could.

    • Libby says...

      I use the Mirena IUD and it also suppresses it, at least for me this time around. It’s so awesome!! Especially since I’ve always had terrible cramps.

  114. I grew up shortly after the era of the belt, and I still don’t quite understand how they worked. But between hearing about that, and pads being called sanitary “napkins” I didn’t know what all I’d be putting down there.

  115. Alison says...

    I got my first period on the first day of middle school at a brand new school after moving across the country. I was ten and wouldn’t stop crying all week. Everyone found out so I went quickly from being “the new girl” to “the first girl in the class to get her period”. It was awful, but my mom always promised me that at least I would have a good first period story. And she was right!

  116. Roz says...

    I was a late bloomer and got mine last of all my friends, at 15 1/2. But then I grew taller than all of them!

  117. Lisa says...

    Why not just get the girl a menstrual cup and then she doesn’t need ANYTHING ELSE EVER! Never run out of supplies, never have to worry about changing the tampon in school, leaking onto the sheets when at a sleepover, where to dispose the used tampon/pad or anything else! Just empty it once in the morning, once in the evening and that’s it! Better for her health, better for the environment, better for her headspace.

    • Elly says...

      And a good way for girls to learn about their own bodies! The cup is quite an intimate experience with yourself at first, but makes you so much more knowledgable about what’s going on down there.

  118. I was horrified and hid my first pair of stained panties from my mom. It was totally fine when I told her. However, the first time I used a tampon was for a swim meet. I was only 10. I went into a bathroom to put it in and from nerves about the meet, feeling woozy due to my period and the stress of inserting a tampon, I completely passed out. Fell right between the stall wall and the toilet and woke up on the ground. Looking back, I am just thankful that I didn’t get hurt, or fall into the toilet! I only wore tampons for swimming and never for anything else after that!

    • Alex says...

      This happened to me too! I was at a friend’s house and woke up on the bathroom floor with a bleeding forehead. I still avoid them (and I’m a doctor in my 30s!) With the pill, black swimwear and dark towels I’ve had years of swim meets and no “Jaws” scenes to date! :)

    • I almost passed out the first time I used a tampon too! I used pads for probably the first six months or so, then one time (around age 14) I was out shopping with my older sister and started my period, and she only had tampons. I put it in and walked out of the bathroom, and my vision went blurry and black, and I got dizzy/ felt faint. I was fine once I took it out. Took me awhile to try again.

  119. Marie says...

    I got my period in the 5th grade. It was on the same day as the boy I had a crush on birthday!
    We are friends on Facebook now, so whenever his birthday notification pops up, I think Happy Birthday to him and Happy Period Birthday to me!

    • Leah says...

      This made me giggle, it’s like an inside joke with yourself – so fun!

  120. Lisa says...

    I don’t remember my first period, but I must have been 11 or 12. I started on the pill shortly before my 16th birthday because the cramping was so bad I regularly had to stay home from school.
    I’ve had a copper IUD for a few months now, and while I’m happy not to take the extra hormones anymore, the cramps got worse again. I heard that menstrual cups can help with that (and i’d love to avoid the waste), but unfortunately I just can’t seem to get used to it. I’m normally very happy with and comfortable in my body, but I feel just horrible when using the cup… It seems so very intrusive, and I always feel awful afterwards :/

  121. I love these comments! I was 12 and had just got in from school, I went straight to the bathroom and realised it had started and my first instinct was to cry. I think I was just overwhelmed by the idea that I was suddenly so much more grown up. After a little while, maybe 10 or 15 minutes, I called down to my Mum to tell her and she had to go to the shops as she only used tampons and my big sister was out of pads. After that my main memory is that I didn’t tell any of my friends and when my best friend found out a few months later we ended up having an argument because she was so upset that I hadn’t told her!

  122. Haley says...

    Another cup convert, here! I have the Lunette (similar to a moon cup, but a bit smaller than the smallest moon cup and made of softer silicone), and I *love* it. It’s really something more people need to look into–disposable hygiene products are terrible for the environment!

  123. Katherine says...

    I got my first period the same day I got braces. Beat that! On the bright side, it keeps bad days now in perspective since there’s nothing like the 12 year old angst of being self conscious of your teeth (and in pain) and mortifyingly embarrassed (and in pain) having to tell your mom about your period.

  124. KC says...

    Thank you for this. My daughter is turning 11 next week, I use a lunette cup and this reminds me to stock up! I just ordered the kit, extra applicator less tampons, a cup and Thinkx! She’s all set now!!

  125. My first period came on my way from Munich to Vienna when I was 12. Munich had only been a layover from Kenya so I was pretty jetlagged and didn’t tell my mum. I don’t even know why because she’d always been very open but the first month I just chose to put toilet paper in my underwear and wear pantyliners underneath. Munich is also where I got my first bra so I kind of see the city as my becoming- a -woman city :D

  126. shopgirl (eu) says...

    I am 50 now and all I had left in memory about period are those endless and painful cramps in my bellie. Every single month, so painful that sometimes I had to take leave. And cravings for sweets and after that skin problems of course…. So that now I’m just infinitely grateful that this time is passed and I can live without that monthly torture!

  127. Laura- says...

    Before my first period, I found my sister’s ‘surf boards’. Not knowing what I was doing, I put the pad on upside down in my underwear – yup the sticky side up. The pain. The pain.
    Anyway, fast forward to the tender age of 12 and I got my first period one night. I called out to my mum (who was watching the equivalent of the SuperBowl on TV) to come help. She begrudgingly eventually came to my room to see what the fuss was about and unceremoniously handed me one of her surf board pads and went back to the TV watching. Possibly the most inauspicious transitions to womanhood I can imagine.

  128. Andrea says...

    When my sister was 12.5 years of age she got her first period. My mum was prepared but my dad was a touch dumbfounded by the idea that his daughter was now entering her adulthood. 2 days later my parents were out and my sister and I were at a relatives house. My sister made a phone call to my parents In hysterics to report that I too had just gotten my first period…at 10.5 years of age. My fathers head was well
    and truly spinning. I was plagued from the very beginning with dreadful pain which later resulted at 19 to a diagnosis of endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome ?.

  129. I was almost 15. It arrived on the last day of our annual camping trip with family in the Hawke’s Bay. We were about to start the 5-hour drive back to Wellington, and I went for a final loo stop at the camping ground. I was so in denial, I convinced myself I must have cut my thigh or something. My cousin, almost two years younger, told me I had my period. Hers had started at 9, so she knew what she was talking about. I bloody hated the whole thing and went straight to tampons as the entire affair seemed completely inconvenient to my athletic lifestyle. I was lucky because I never once had a heavy one or cramping. I’m almost 46 now and soon they’ll be gone. Not that they ever amounted to much.

  130. Yes I love this! What a perfect thing to have for your first period. Now I only use the DivaCup and one pair of Thinx for lighter days, and can’t imagine ever going back to disposable products. The savings are unreal.

  131. Rebecca says...

    I can clearly remember being told about periods and being horrified. “What do you mean, I’m going to bleed every month for about a week for the next 30 odd years?”. I had just come out of the shower, was aged around 11 and I remember sitting in front of the fire to allow my hair to dry while my mother told me the story of periods and what to do when my time would come.

    The next day in school, I confided in a friend about how my mother had told me this story and she squealed “me too!”. Even though our mothers didn’t know each other, they had picked the same time to tell us. My period then arrived in September 1995 and I had just started secondary school (High school). I had cramps the day before and my dad had commented that I looked pale and that perhaps I was “getting that thing!”.
    Sure enough, the next day, it arrived and even though I knew what it was, I freaked out and cried and demanded that I didn’t go to school. My mother, who gave me the thickest pad ever (I commented that I felt I was wearing a nappy) explained that the world didn’t stop just because I had my period and off to school I went. I would spend the next five years at school always feeling paranoid when I had my period. If I heard someone laughing, I would convince myself it was because I was leaking. Thankfully that never happened.
    Other the years, my mother would ask me most months “Has you friend arrived?” Yes, in good old, catholic and backward Ireland, it was referred to as your ‘friend’. I hated this question (still do) and many of my friends were asked the same by their mothers. We would often joke that it wasn’t our friend, but our enemy!
    I was never introduced to tampons, in fact the idea of them already freaked me out and I never tried them until my mid twenties when I was taking swimming lessons. Even then, I could ‘feel’ them inside me and I never tried again.
    I am curious to try a cup though, but afraid I’d be able to ‘feel’ it inside me also. That sensation really puts me off trying.

    • anon says...

      I have never been able to use tampons, I find them so uncomfortable and only ever used them for swimming. When I bought my cup, I felt it slightly the first two days. It wasn’t uncomfortable like a tampon though, I could just feel it was there. I can’t feel it at all now and I haven’t used a pad or tampon since!

  132. Sabrina says...

    I love all those stories here!

    For me, my first period was a bit of a surprise… I was just jumping on my trampoline in our garden with my best friend and suddenly I felt something wet in my pants. At first I thought I had peed in my pants because of all the jumping! But then i realized, that it was blood! My mom wasn´t home so my best friend (who hadn´t had her period yet) and I ran cluelessly into our bathroom and took out the small period kit you get in middle school in Austria. The products were not described though so I just went with this really thin pad that is totally not supposed to be worn on your period days but rather throughout your cycle. Long story short: I needed about 4 pads until my mum arrived from work 3 hours later and thought: “God, if I have to change pads every 30 minutes on my period – what a life is that?” But luckily I got to learn that there are lots of great products that actually work ;-) And I still have a funny story to share with my best friend!

  133. 14. No trauma. But it was the days of sanitary belts. At about 16 I decided enough was enough and tried Tampax. I can still recall the advertising used in magazines and being nonplussed by it. If goddess parties had been around in the early 70s I would have been horrified. I do like Nell’s tale.

    • Flo says...

      Would someone please explain what a sanitary BELT is? Sounds horrible.

  134. This kit is so cute!

    I got mine when I was 10 or 12 I think – because my Mum didn’t get hers until she was about 16 it hadn’t occurred to her to discuss it with me yet…but because from books I’d read I expected it to be bright red (and it wasn’t!) I didn’t even realise I got it until my Mum was doing laundry and had to TELL me. UGH!

  135. Elle says...

    Use a menstrual cup! So much better for you and the environment.

  136. Jodi says...

    I’m so happy to echo others in recommending a menstrual cup! In the past 17 years my only purchases & waste produced gave been from buying 2 different cups. I really love the silicone cups made by Lunette. Please do a post on this if you haven’t already, just imagine all the money & trash that could be saved if all women used cups!

  137. Maria says...

    I’m 57, but I still remember that day. I was 12 and it was at swimming class. I noticed rusty stains in my underwear and didn’t know what to do, so I just changed into my swimsuit, got into the water and hoped no one would notice. At home I told my mom and she was thrilled. I remember wearing frilly, scratchy white polyester underwear with panels for pads, which were humongous back then. Ugh. In high school I started wearing tampons and used them for years, though I never really liked them because of spillage and dryness. In the 90’s I changed to the new generation pads which I found more comfortable than tampons. I wish diva cups had been available then, they sound wonderful. Today I love the freedom of no periods and not having to worry if it will coincide with big events. But about a year after I stopped menstruating, I had a sudden very heavy period which I think was stress related. I remember breaking down in tears over the blood and just grieving a time of my life that was gone.

  138. Maggie says...

    Family road trip. I was 12, a total tomboy, and sitting spread eagle with my legs propped up in the last row of the old family suburban. And of course I’m wearing white shorts. My mom interrupts my Archie comics to tell me I have something on my shorts. She knew what it was. Ten seconds later I knew what it was. Then I sobbed for an hour.

    That first period was a breeze. After that, the rest of them were super heavy and came with severe (SEVERE!) cramps. Like mind-numbing-can’t-talk-all-I-can-do-is-lay-here-and-rock-back-and-forth type cramps. All that pain gave me such animosity towards my cycle and my body. Then seven months ago I had my first baby. Despite my best efforts I never lactated so my period returned at six weeks postpartum. And since then, the cramps have been soooo light and tolerable. It’s completely changed my outlook on being a woman. I mean, I won’t say I enjoy my period, but I feel like I can embrace my body and what it’s born to do with a new respect and appreciation. Incidentally I started my period today.. but instead of cursing the mestruation gods, I’m sitting here holding my baby boy and loving life!

    • Kate says...

      An older friend told me that taking birth control could help my periods not be so excruciating, so I talked to my mom about it and she took me to Planned Parenthood to get it when I was 16 or 17 because my periods were so, so, so heavy and I hated every minute of them. They could last for like, 2 weeks at a time! It was such a life saver and I’m so grateful to my mom. Now I’m off HBC and one reason I consider having babies is exactly for the reason you described! As one girlfriend said after having her first, “pregnancy just kinda evens everything out down there.”

    • Roz says...

      I had those types of cramps before having kids, too!! My kids are 5 and 3 now, and my periods have been downright delightful compared to the hell of my teens and twenties. Mine were so bad I remember one family vacation when I was probably 17, just crying on the beach the whole time in pain while my family played in the ocean. It was such a bummer!

  139. Melissa says...

    I would love to order it for my youngest Sister. Since she grew up hearing me and my other sister complain about our periods it would be nice to make it kind of special for her after all. But we live in Germany…I might diy one for her though, thanks for the inspiration!

  140. I love the idea of a first period kit! That is so wonderful! I would have loved that so much. I was so fearful of asking my mother to buy me pads, it would have been life changing if they just came in the mail every month. After having a daughter, I often think about how I will make sure she is fully stocked with everything she needs for her period and to ask her how she’s feeling and if I can help. I know my Mom would have done the same, but she was a single mother working 2 jobs and we were pretty poor, so it was hard for me to ask for anything, even stuff for my period. I often got pads from my Aunt’s house who lived down the street or from friends. I had my own private stash so I wouldn’t have to bother my Mom about it. I often wonder what poor girls do. Period stuff is expensive.

  141. Greta says...

    I love Lola so much! And I especially love that they have super plus tampons now.

  142. Haley says...

    Age 13 on a family road trip ? I am preaching The Diva cup to all my friends, a total game changer for me. I could go on and on… try it! It takes a cycle or two to get comfortable and then you’ll never go back to tampons or pads. I actually forget I have my period.

  143. Lauren says...

    I got my first period AT SUMMER CAMP! And my friend’s older sister, who dropped us off at camp, told me a story as she was dropping us off that she got her first period there too. I love my first period story!

    Also, I had insomnia the night before I got it, and that’s a PMS symptom that still decorates my life once a month…

  144. Amanda says...

    I’m the oldest in a big family. My first period arrived a few days before my 13th birthday… a date that perfectly coincided with the birth of my youngest brother. Since my mom had been pregnant for 9 months, there were limited supplies in her bathroom. She’d had a c-section so was in the hospital for several days, and I ran out. I had to find a private moment to whisper to my mom what was going on, who told my grandma, who had my grandpa take me to the store to get what I needed. Talk about the circle of life :)
    Also, the first time I used a tampon (several years later, because they really scared me), one of my girlfriends sat outside the bathroom (for like 30 minutes!) and coached me through inserting it, which to this day is one of the sweetest and supportive things a friend has every done for me.

  145. Tammy says...

    Oh my goodness….my first period…where to begin? I had no idea what a period was and I got it pretty early on too. I noticed about a week or so before I actually got it that I was ‘spotting’ and I had no clue what was happening to me and I was too scared to tell anyone. Then one night in the bathroom there it was and I thought I was dying! I screamed, my mom came running in and started to laugh lightly, then gave me a sigh of relief. I was relieved she was relieved but I was still so confused and scared. We had the talk and she explained everything to me. I wish Lola had been around when I had first gotten my period. Early on they would last an entire week and I would get the worst cramps! I wasn’t allowed to use tampons until I was about 16 which turned out to be a total lifesaver for me…but now I’m thinking about trying the cup as well. Any thoughts on that? :)

  146. Tree says...

    I was 11.
    It was the summer after 5th grade.
    I told no one. I felt ashamed.

  147. Kathleen Heffner says...

    My first period story is kind of weird. I was in class in 7th grade and one of my friends said “I need to go to the restroom. I’m having my period?” Then I must piped up with “me too!” When I found blood on my undies, I went to the nurses office and she acted like I was sick and sent me home. I don’t remember who picked me up but my mother just gave me a book to read several months later when I asked her for money for pads. I used pads (with a belt!) for awhile until I discovered tampons. I’ve been in menopause now for 6 or so years and don’t miss my periods at all!

  148. MM says...

    I didn’t tell anyone. My mom talked to me about it before, and I had read a book so I knew that it would happen eventually. I knew where my mom kept all her pads and tampons, so I took what I needed and handled it myself. It wasn’t until the second month that my mom noticed it all in the trash, and asked me if I got my period. I think she was sad that I didn’t tell her and that I didn’t want her help.

    • Lainie says...

      I’m happy to hear a different kind of story. I can’t really remember exactly where or when & I knew all the details already, so I wasn’t scared. My parents took me out for a special dinner which I remember feeling really embarrassed about it & wondering what they were going to take my brothers out to dinner for. It happened the same way with my daughter who is now 15 & we just treated it like a normal thing.