Let’s set the scene.
Confusion and panic.
Locked in a room for days avoiding any males.
Cue in a special floral bath and an overload of Gold jewelry, suddenly you are awkwardly seated with your relatives who are congratulating you on getting your first period.
We’ve reached out to four women who have shared stories and memories of their first period so that you know that first periods can happen in many different ways, ages and times. From being wrapped up like a ghost and falling on their face to ugly yellow dresses and being locked up like a prisoner, these chuckle-worthy stories are sure to put a smile on your face!
What was your first period like? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you.
“My first period showed up on a hectic day as my paternal grandmother was admitted to the ICU. My worried family had to visit the hospital multiple times a day. So, the attention I received on this day was comparatively less when compared to my cousins. I’m not complaining because the attention they received was overbearing and no way was I willing to go through that extra ATTENTION from a bunch of people for BLEEDING from my vagina.
After school I came home, I used the toilet and found something on my underwear. I remember randomly telling my mother that there was something and changed my undie and went for lunch in my petticoat. After lunch, I was with my maternal grand mother when out of nowhere my mother turned up screaming my name and checked if I had gotten my period, and that day was the DAY!
She took me to my room and locked me up like a prisoner! My grandma was with me trying to explain why I should be this way, and the explanation was that the timing isn’t good for me and if I see men that will be bad to them, like a curse!!! Then my mother went to a horoscope person to get an auspicious time. Luckily it was two days after my first period. The second day was horrible as I was locked up without any entertainment. My mother said being a girl is painful and that day I understood it.
The next day I was to shower at 5 a.m. and there was a bath and it had flowers in it. It was like a princess moment. Once I had a shower, I was taken inside the house. Then I was dressed in jewelry and was asked to see my face from a mirror. After worshipping my parents, we had milk rice and kevili for breakfast. Like I said before because my grandma was in the ICU the “big girl party” didn’t happen which is such a blessing. However, I received gifts from family and relations which I'm not complaining about!”
“I was 11 years old and away on a trip to Haputale with my aunt's family. When I went to the washroom to take a shower after a whole evening of playing, I realized there was a significant blood stain on my underwear and my Jean Shorts. True to form, I panicked and thought I was dying. I called my mom in tears but I then realized I shouldn’t tell my mum and make her sad, so I decided I will wash the wound and my clothes to get rid of the stains and then I will be okay.
My mum had known something was wrong and had told my aunt to keep an eye on me. The next morning when I woke up, I had stained the sheets and my nightdress. I knew then beyond a doubt that I was definitely dying. So I ran to my aunt while crying. She brought me back to the room and calmed me down and promised me that I was not dying. I had just become “a big girl”. Do big girls bleed?! I don’t want to be a big girl! - were my first thoughts. Sadly, there was no further explanation of what “becoming a big girl” entailed. Then came the problem of transporting me back home. My aunt decided to take me back home with my uncle’s friend who was a Minister. There’s a stupid tradition that girls who have attained their age cannot see men for several days until their first bath as per the selected nakatha so I was covered in a white cloth and boarded on to a Jeep with my aunt, cousin, the Minister and his 4 bodyguards. This, I swear, was my conservative grandmother’s worst nightmare.
As we were descending the hills of Haputale, I got seriously dizzy, what with being treated like a witness being taken to court! So I decided to throw the sheet atone of the bodyguards and sit up straight. My aunt was shocked for a second but then burst out laughing. “That’s okay darling, this nonsense is bloody absurd! I will cover you up just before achchi comes out just to make her happy. You sit comfortably and go. I won’t tell anyone”, my awesome aunt said.
When I got home, back under the white sheet, my confused mom and my grandmother, happy to see me under a sheet greeted me. I took two steps, tripped on the sheet and fell. I threw the sheet on the floor, said bye to the bodyguards, the driver & the Minister and then looked at my grandma who looked HORRIFIED at my actions and went inside.”
“I was a late bloomer. At 14, I was one of the last girls in my grade to get her period. I was at my best friend’s period party/celebrations at her house with all our girlfriends when I noticed a little blood on my underwear. It was bittersweet because while I was happy I finally got it, I was also worried that if I told anyone I wouldn’t be able to go to Pizza Hut for dinner with all my friends. I knew I’d be locked up immediately the moment my mother found out - the same fate suffered by my sister a few years back. So I didn’t tell anyone. I waited until I got home later that night. I ended up having to stay in my room for 13days. I remember the number because I hated every day I was trapped in that room.”
“I was having a very physical argument with my brother. My mum normally intervened when either of us screamed murder, and in this case, it was my brother. I was lifting my leg(Always struggled to behave in a dress) to stomp on him when my mother noticed a stain on my panties. My brother was hushed away out of the room and there I would remain for 2 weeks until I could be bathed at an auspicious time(an unusual punishment for fighting I thought).I was kept away from my brother, my father and any males that visited. Malli and I had secret meetings often to my mother & grandmother’s dismay. Ammi explained to me that I’m a “big girl” now and this bleeding would be until I’m old. Oh, the horror! and up to date, I suffer from severe cramps that can only be contained with painkillers. The day of the major herbal bath came and I was dressed in an ugly yellow dress(an auspicious color picked by a random person). People were invited and I was gifted a lot of gold I’d never wear. All because I started bleeding for the foreseeable future!”