A lot of young women say that they were never really properly prepared for what many consider growing pains, or going through puberty and discovering their true selves in the world.
Whether it be the first kiss, the first break up, the first job or even their first sexual experience, no matter how ready we thought we were, life always had a surprise up it's sleeve. Not always negative though.
One such milestone was getting your period for the very first time, which is unique to each girl.
READ MORE: Let's put an end to period shaming
Recently on Twitter, a user asked her followers, "How do you teach your daughter about periods?"
How do you teach your daughter about periods???— Nikki Lincoln ???? (@nikkilincoln) September 16, 2018
At 10 I sat down with her and told her all about it, using correct anatomical terms, that periods mean she could get pregnant, no periods during pregnancy, some women have cramps, and what her options are re sanitary products. And gave her a “period bag” to carry around with her!— Gaelyn Cokayne (@gaecokayne) September 17, 2018
I am very open about my menses with my kids. They see me using my menstrual cup & I explain monthly that this is part of how a woman’s body works to stay healthy. K knows as much as G about periods. As they get older I will explain more about what purpose it plays in conception.— Sam (@theclam) September 16, 2018
The responses below sparked a conversation in the office about how our parents, guardians, elders or even friends had guided or not guided us through the process.
Many admitted to having had awkward experiences because no one educated them as young girls.
In a poll that's still running on the site, we asked you, "How did you learn about your period?"
- The majority of you just got on with it - 39%
- A lot of you said no one told you and you kept it a secret - 24%
- A large number of you said that your moms made you look forward to it - 20%
- Friends also stepped in - 5%
- We were sad to hear that 11% of you say you were made to feel ashamed about your first period.
Although unique, and definitely special, getting a period for the first time wasn't very welcomed by many. Mainly because it has long been seen as something that men and women alike felt needed to be hidden or not spoken about.
Growing up, I had the same mindset because I was taught, "hide your pads" and "don't say the word period". That kind of thinking definitely contributed to feelings of insecurity about having my period.
I found a survey online that suggests 1 in 5 women are ashamed about getting their period because of a comment that was made by a male friend. The article published on Mail Online, goes on to explain that in a poll taken by 1 500 women and 500 men, 58% of them have felt embarrassment because they were on their period.
Although having a period is one of the most natural things a woman goes through, we still have so many people ashamed of and shaming it. And in the worst cases, young girls missing school because they can't afford menstrual hygiene products.
Which is why we're so glad to have high profile women like Meghan Markle spreading a positive and informative message about menstrual hygiene. In an article published by Chloe Lambert on The Telegraph, we hear all about how the Duchess selected the still unfashionable topic about periods.
In SA there's a growing push to do the same and we're proud of everyone involved in all the initiatives we hear or write about.
We have asked a few of you to share memories of the first time you got their period. Here's what you had to say:
I didn't grow up with my mom or any other mother figures so getting my period was a terrible ordeal
I was 14 years old
I didn't understand why it was happening to me
My cousins taught me about periods
My sister would bring pamphlets for me from school whenever they’d have drives and events around “womanhood”
Sadly there's a trend of shame and embarrassment around menstruation. And confusion of how to deal with it for the very first time. Most of the women we spoke to also agreed that, they would have dealt with it better had someone been open, honest and prepared them properly for what was coming.
Here's a mother's take on how she managed to prepare her two teenage girls:
Absolutely nothing to be ashamed of! We all go through it.
The more we speak up about our experiences, the less of a taboo the subject becomes. We should all feel comfortable about the natural functions of our bodies.
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