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What’s your first period story?

What’s your first period story?

It’s become our favorite question to ask the LOLA community. And no matter how many times we inquire, your answers continue to surprise us, make us laugh or tear up, and bring us together over the experience all women share: the very first time we got our period. 

We recently decided to take the conversation further, surveying our community about their first period experience. The answers were both reinforcing and insightful:

· Over 60% of you said you did not feel prepared for your first period.

· When asked where you were when you got your first period, the most common response was home, followed by school and your friend’s house.

· Overwhelmingly, the first person you told was a family member: be they your mom, dad, sister or grandmother.

· Similarly, the majority of you used pads as your first period product. But some of you got creative, using toilet paper, paper towels…even a sock! 

· We asked what emotion you most associate with your first period, and your responses ran the gamut. You were excited, scared, confused, happy, shocked, embarrassed, and nervous. 

Whether your first period was a positive or negative experience, we’ve loved hearing your stories. We also love a good roundup, which is why we’ve combed through the thousands of responses we’ve received over the years to pick out a few of our favorites. Here are some of the best first period stories from the LOLA community.

13 of the best first period stories we’ve ever heard

“I got my first period when I was in 4th grade in Japan. All I remember is that my mom made “Sekihan”, glutinous rice with red beans, which is a traditional celebration food in Japan. I’m sure fewer and fewer people do this tradition nowadays to celebrate the first period and becoming a woman, but it’s still common to eat this for celebrations such as weddings, birthdays, graduations, etc.” — Mina

“I remember I was 12 and I got it the night before the next school day and just completely chose to ignore the fact that I was bleeding… so, I went to school and leaked through my jeans and had to wear my huge coat over my hips the entire day at school because I was too embarrassed to tell anyone! I think at that point I was like, ‘Yep, I think it’s time I share with my mom.’” — Mnatalla

“My period story happens to be very different from many menstruating humans. I was 16 years old and still didn’t have my period. We found out I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones — I wasn’t able to naturally produce a period without the assistance of birth control.” — Ivanka

I got my first period while playing video games with my older brother in bright yellow pants. He looked down and told me, ‘Uhhh…go talk to Mom. Look at your pants.’ I said, ‘It’s probably ketchup!”, thinking he was trying to distract me from winning. Then he yelled “MOM!!! She got her period!!!’” — Meher

“I got my first period during Water Week at an all girls sleep away camp. My whole cabin rallied together to try to teach me how to use a tampon (when I struggled, one girl even offered to do it for me). No tampons, and no water activities, happened that week.”— Emma

“I got my first period when I was 10. It happened within the last hour of school and I remember calling my mom in a nervous fit. She told me that since I don’t have pads, to wrap toilet paper around my underwear and that should work well enough for the time being. When she picked me up that day, she had bought me new underwear, showed me how to use a pad and put two more in my backpack, washed my bloody undies for me, and told me, “Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.” — Meisha

“I got my first period on Thanksgiving. At first I thought the cramps were from the turkey.” — Caroline

“I’m sitting on the toilet, peeing, as my mother barges into the bathroom. This is normal in my Latinx household. What is privacy to my mother who gave birth to me? She’s washing her hands when she looks at me and says “te llego la menstruacion.” I look down at my underwear immediately in horror, disbelief but more than anything, really confused. I had gotten my first real period. I was a sixth grader 10 days away from my 12th birthday, and my mother was the one who noticed I got my period before I did.” — Andra

“I used to get in trouble for jumping over fire hydrants. I was a tomboy. One day I came up short and hit my pelvic bone. The next day I unknowingly  got my first period. [I was] so scared of getting in trouble for hopping over the hydrant. I told my mom a day later, thinking I was bleeding from hitting that hydrant. She goes, ‘Girl you have your period.’ and walked off. That night my dad explained everything and bought me some pads.” — Cocoa

“I was 10 years old and got up in class to use the restroom and had blood on my skirt. The teacher sent me to the office and my working mama told them to call our emergency contact to come and take me home. And that’s how I found out about periods from my grandma! She was open, honest, and patient which is exactly what I needed. She also gave me chocolate.” — Amy

“I got my first period when I was 13, on my birthday, on a family trip to Disney World. Splash Mountain will never be the same.” — Meg

“I was 11 when I got mine. I remember everyone telling me I was wayyyyyy too young to start it. But I was super excited, because my mom took me out late at night and let me pick out a cute little purse to buy. Then we spent the rest of the night playing old Mario games, until we fell asleep. I’ll never forget that night.” —Ang

“I got mine when I was in 7th grade and I was too nervous to tell my mom…so I went to school the next day with paper towels. Worst. Idea. Ever. I finally texted her in the middle of the day (after telling my friends) and she brought me pads and chocolate. My dad bought me roses when I got home. Fun times.” — Makayla

So, what’s your first period story? Tell us in the comments. 

  • I got my first period on a train from Amsterdam to Vienna while traveling with my parents. There was very little toilet paper in the train bathroom. I did not know what to do. Later at the hotel my Mother said, your a woman now … handed me a tampax with no instruction and closed the door leaving me in there to fend for myself. My sister did not give me any support. I cant remember how long it took me to figure out how to use tampons, but very grateful for themas I was a dancer. Many young girls in India do not have access to clean Menstruation products or have proper cleanliness practices for their menses and so many stop going to school at this time … it is slowly changing but so many need help.

  • I was in 5th grade, one morning as I was peeing I noticed my stained underwear I cried out for help. My mom came in and I told her I had cut myself somehow (I had no idea what periods were). She just said “Oh, oooh” handed me a pad, told me “put this on” and left. I thought it was a giant band-aid.

  • I got my period when I was 15. I was at home and when I used the bathroom, I looked down to see red water and what looked like small chunks of flesh. I rushed to my mother absolutely terrified. I remember feeling so ashamed and embarrassed of my body. Despite having my mother around and an older sister too, I was completely unprepared and unaware of what having a period would actually look like. No one told me what to expect or that blood clots would be normal during the first day or two.

    I didn’t have my first talk about periods with my sister until I was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 23; that’s the same time I learned both her and my mother have it as well.

  • I was 13, it was Thanksgiving at my Grandmother’s, I had gone to the bathroom and noticed. I was personally embarrassed because I knew what I needed and didn’t have it. Older female cousin to the rescue, she had supplies in the car. Whole family knew but nobody made it a big deal.

  • When I got my first period I was 13 and I thought I was sick at first because it was very light and brownish and I panicked. It was not lots of bright red blood like I always assumed it would be. When my mom explained it to me later I was relieved there wasn’t something wrong with me!

  • I got my first period during lunch time in high school. I was 14. I was in the bathroom stall next to my friend and said aloud “holy crap I got my period!” She yelled over “what’s the big deal? Put a pad on!” And I said “no, it’s my first EVER period” and she was like “ohhhhh, woah!!”. A also remember telling my mom and pleading with her not to tell my dad! I was so embarrassed for some reason! Later in the week I had a birthday pool party to go to. My mom gave me a box of tampons and showed me the manual. She waited in the car for me to put one in. I ended up jamming in the tampon along with one piece of the cardboard and thought “gosh it is painful to be a woman!”. When I got in her car 15 minutes later and sat down I began to cry because it hurt so bad. My mom then had to explain to me more in depth how to use a tampon!

  • I got my period more toward the beginning of sixth grade. I had been anxious and excited to finally get mine after learning about it in sex ed and talking to my mom about it, and knowing that the next step meant BOOBS! Gotta have ‘em! Yessss! It was a weekend day, and my mom never has to work her hospital job on the weekend, but this particular day of course she happens to have to. I get in the shower in the late morning and see dark red blood and think “Uh I think this is it?!” But I realize only my dad is home, ugh! So I climb out the shower, stuff some toilet paper between my legs, wrap my towel around me and run to grab the cordless house phone to call my mom from the bathroom. Within a hour or two she comes home with a box of pads and I show her a wad of toilet paper and say “why’s it so clumpy and dark? Are you sure this is it? Isn’t it usually bright red and thin?” And she said “Yep that’s it! That’s the lining of your uterus shedding and I’m sure the color will change a lot in the first few months of you having it but it’s completely normal in all it’s variations.” Then she took me out to lunch and I was too embarrassed to tell my Dad myself but I’m sure she told him why she came home from work early. A few days later, my Dad wrote me a beautiful letter about my becoming a woman and dating and that avoided some of the awkwardness so that was really nice. One thing I wish I’d known back then was that organic, all cotton period products greatly reduce my cramping! Took 14 years of periods to learn but I’m so glad I found Lola!

  • OMG!!! I had no clue about periods! I was maybe 12 and my dad had died almost a year before and I was still kind of shocked. So I go to pee and see blood and am in full blood panic, because blood “down there,” had to mean impending death! I run to tell my mom, who promptly and firmly slaps me hard across my face! SO I am dying and now I am being abused by my mom? Nope, turns out an old Eastern European Jewish custom is to smack your daughter across the face as hard as possible is how Mom greets your first period…GOOD TIMES!!!

  • A few days before I got my period at the age of 12, I had just finished reading the book, “Dear God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume.” As a matter of fact, the actual date was Oct 31st, Halloween. I was using the bathroom at my neighbors house and when I went to wipe I noticed there was a hint of blood on the tissue. I told my neighbor who was shocked and a little older than me. She told me that we had to go tell my mom. Once I told my mom, she responded, “Is this a trick or treat?”….Years later, I must admit I don’t feel prepared for menopause.

  • I got my first period when I was 9. My mom had told me all about it since she had started young, so luckily I was fully prepared. What she didn’t tell me is that my friend’s wouldn’t likely start until middle or highschool. I told my friend about it and she went home crying which resulted in her mom calling mine. Whoops! That particular friend did not start until highschool, but I was very fortunate to have a mom who helped prepare me when I couldn’t relate to anyone else!

  • I was a freshman in high school. It was over Christmas break and I was visiting my dad and step-mom with my sisters , who surprisingly had started before me even though I was older. I was getting ready to shower and noticed these dark spots in my panties but didn’t think it was anything major sadly. I used the restroom again before I went to bed and realized that color was in my panties again and figured I started my period. I told one of my sisters who had pads to give me some because I had finally started my period lol. Once I was back home with my grandpa who raised I told him and he went to the store to get me pads. Luckily for me starting my period wasn’t weird or stressful because I had a lot of sisters and girl cousins around and I was older but second semester of high school was different with dealing with periods, when will they come and being involved in sports.

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