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I first got my period when I was about 11-12yrs old.
It was a horrid experience.
I was at school, started feeling sick and had horrible cramps, went to the bathroom, screamed like crazy because I had absolutely no clue what was going on and why I was bleeding from “there”. The teacher who's classroom was just next too the girls bathroom came running in to find out what was going on. I was standing there crying, saying I was dying. She calmly walked over to me, hugged me, grabbed some wet paper towels and told me to clean myself up and we headed to the nurses office.
I didn't learn about girl stuff until that day. My mom never discussed getting my period until that day because she didn't think it was time, until she got the call. My grandmother came and picked me up from school, took me to get pads, midol, chocolate and ice cream. She said “These are the 4 things you will need every month for 1 week.” (You can talk with your daughter about her menstrual cycle with awesome tips from Always.)
One thing that kinda stuck out in my mind and really frustrated me when I got my period was hearing “You're a woman now.” I didn't understand why people said that. I wasn't. I was 11yrs old. I was a child, not even a teenager yet. That was also around the time when I started “blossoming” and things would only get much worse for me. Family treated me differently. There were certain expectations that became a factor. Since I was a woman, I had to do more “grown-up” type things. It was like a switch was flipped. “Oh, you're not a child anymore, you started your period, you're not allowed to do certain things anymore!”
Please don't do this to your daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece. She's a young girl. Let her be a young girl. Let her still play with barbies, hotwheels, do all of the young girl things. Because she's still a young girl. Kids today are in such a rush to grow up, move out, and be on their own. We as parents need to encourage them to slow down, enjoy the age they are at. You're only a “child” for 17 years. Enjoy that.
Around the world, only 12 percent of young people with periods have access to the products they need.
And an estimated 50,000 women who are homeless in the United States also do not have access to menstrual products.
[bctt tweet=”Did you know, around the world, only 12% of young people with #periods have access to products they need? Read more about how I'm trying to help. #PeriodTalk #FemaleBody” username=”AnnaCockayne”]
From that moment, I decided that when I have children, boy or girl, I was never going to keep “IT” a secret. Being a single mom for years, it was kinda hard to keep tampons a secret from my boys.
Son – “Mom, what are these” (holding up a wrapped tampon from under the sink)
Me – “Oh honey, those are what females use when they get their period once a month.”
Son – “What's a period?”
Me – “It's where the body gets rid of the lining in a woman's uterus when she's not pregnant that month.”
Son – “Oh, okay. That sounds yucky & painful.”
Me – “It is both. But more painful. And very natural.”
Son – “Okay, can I go play on the xbox?”
We just talked about how gross periods are and that women go through it monthly, and all you can think about is the Xbox? Cool! Cool!
The thing is, that's great. It shows that my boys are not phased by women having their periods, no one should be phased by periods, tampons, pads, menstrual cups, etc. They are things females need every month and honestly, no one should ever have to worry about going without though.
Along with the ice cream & chocolate… oh yeah and Midol.
Since I had my hysterectomy, I played with the idea of the need to have tampons or pads in the house still. I mean, I don't use them anymore, so why should I have them? Then I thought, but that doesn't mean that women who visit our home, won't have their period when they are here.
So I opted to keep tampons & pads in our bathroom in the cabinet above our toilet, for anyone who needs them. I'm glad I decided to keep them also. One of my son came home from school with one of his friends and he came into my office and said “Mom, K needs some female necessities, can she use what you stocked?” It made me happy knowing that I provided those for her when she needed and even told her “Take a few more, put them in your purse, that way you have them if you need them while at school.” She was surprised, but very grateful.
Having tampons or pads readily available, means that my home, is your home, and above all – your health means everything to me. It also means that I'm giving you access to a product that you need that you may not have readily available to you if it wasn't for my home.