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. 

Liz Mead is a writer and content strategist living in Brooklyn. She's passionate about technology and sustainability. For more of her work visit www.mizlead.com.