I had my first periods when I was 11 years old. I had seen my sister in severe pains, but never I got to know the reason. I used to be by her side and taking care of her getting hot water bottle, medicine or something. But one fine day, when I was in school, I noticed a spot. I got panicked and rushed back home thinking I have haemorrhoids. At home, I told my mother and sister and they told me what it is. My sister guided me with how to use cotton and old cloth (all these popular brands were too expensive) I remember the day, I was the most depressed soul. Over the days, my physical activity reduced considerably, I didn’t feel like talking to anyone, in school, with white dress I was constantly worried about getting stained. I was not even comfortable to talk about it with friends thinking I was the only one suffering.
In the beginning, there is no set cycle, it can happen suddenly any day, will continue for few days or for months. I used to take 1-2 leaves during those days, citing some reason or the other. My mother supported me, telling my dad she is not well, let her rest. I remember we went for vacation to Gujarat, and it started there, and it continued for the entire holiday. Those were my worst days, everyone was enjoying and I was always worried, washing stained clothes, etc. My sister and mom were always concerned but they can’t help me in the bathroom. Its been few months, in school, once I noticed my friend was stained and I had sense of relief that I have someone around. I told her and we started talking, that was the day when I got 10% acceptance of the situation. She told me names of 10 other friends who are already having periods.
It took me atleast 2 years to settle with the thought, by then I had given up on my physical activity, I was a great athlete, used to participate in 100m, long jump and high jump. It all faded with time, quite naturally. Those 2 years were good enough to pull me out of those activities, luckily, teachers pushed me for drama, debates, singing, and other non physical activities. I did play basketball but only when I was comfortable. By class 9th, all the girls in the class were supportive of each other, we used to laugh about it, ask each other if the skirt is fine, or make aware in case of stains.
In our households, we shy to speak about it with our daughters and prepare them. Lot of precaution is practiced at home to not talk about it with brother and father or let them know of the whole procedure of disposing off the pads. It is first trauma a girl experience in her life, and it dents her confidence. I notice in my niece, she is a changed girl now. She has become moody, irritable, avoids going out and a lot quieter. I know what she is going through, had a word with her, explained few things and consoled her but she will settle with it only with time