So to help break the stigma, we asked our JFW community to share their first period stories and their answers are incredibly honest. Here are four first period stories which are haunting, absurd, casual, sensible but definitely not embarrassing.
When I got my first period, I was in tenth grade. I was happily watching television after a hectic day at school. My mom was doing laundry, and that’s when she noticed stains in my clothes. She gave me a cloth and asked me to check once; I did, and yes, I got my first period, which I was not aware of what the term even meant. In the blink of an eye, she started calling my relatives and informing them. I still remember it being November and a week before Diwali—holiday time! As I got my period I had two whole weeks to sit and chill at home. I snacked and played with cousins the whole time. It might even sound absurd, but I didn’t have cramps; in fact, I had a great time. I didn’t bleed for the next three months; my mom asked, “Did you really bleed for the first time? Answering my mom’s question, I got my period on a not-so-fine day. I had severe back pain and cramps, marking my first period cry. After six years of bleeding, I am still conscious, and I keep checking my pants for stains.
To be honest, I knew everything about periods. I should thank my sisters for the same. I had neither fear nor inhibitions as I grew up with my sisters. Amma was okay with us discussing everything as we didn’t have a brother. My first period story is kind of comic, I was 13 and it was Pongal morning – what a fine day right? I kept quiet the whole day as I feared she would not allow me to wear my new dress. I informed her at night; we had the traditions and then everything was back to normal. Now instead of two girls my parents had three girls taking turns to sit in the corner of our house every month. After marriage, and kids I got my uterus removed. Biologically, I am done with my periods.
My period story started when I was in 6th grade. I knew I had gotten my periods but I was more scared about the restrictions that would be laid on me once I attended puberty. So I hid it – from throwing away my underwear to stealing my mother’s tampons. Those 4 years were by far the most hiding I have done. I was dragged to different doctors, they took multiple blood tests and scans to find out the root cause for me not getting my periods. I hid my periods from my family till I turned 16. After that I was banned from using tampons to ‘preserve my virginity’. Soon PCOS became a part of my life and I have made peace with my periods being a fluctuation.
On a Saturday morning, I was getting ready for a play date with my friends. All of a sudden, my mom pulled me aside and locked me in our room. For three hours, I sat idle in a corner. I ended up crying the whole afternoon. My grandparents and relatives were home, and I remember my grandpa peeking through the door and smiling at me. God, it was awkward, and it was just the beginning. Apparently, I was asked to drink raw eggs, oil, and uluthang kali, made out of urad dal. I felt bad when I was not allowed to pamper my one and a half-year-old sister. For nine days, I was given saltless food, and it was the most horrible experience.