The first time you get your first period it will be scary, you will look down and see blood has spoiled your favourite pair of knickers. There will be no warning (there never usually is), that is until the flow of blood kicks in and the cramps follow soon after. Oh the unbearable cramps, wave upon wave will crash down upon you and it feels as if you can literally feel your uterus breaking down at the same time you have a mental breakdown! Thoughts such as: ‘Am I dying?’, ‘Is this the end?’, ‘Is this normal?’ might run through your head as you feel yourself growing clammy all over. This is another thing I have to warn you about, as well as cramping, you can also expect to feel yourself burning up one minute, and then shivering like someone has poured an ice cold bath over you the next. Top tip: on the subject of baths and temperature, warm water can help ease cramping, as can hot water bottles – trust me they will be your saviour.
As well as these fluctuations in body temperature, your first period will also experience fluctuations in mood. You will go to bed your normal self and wake up possessed by the ‘period beast’ as I like to call her. It will be as if someone has flicked a switch on in your head and all you know is anger – steam will start coming out of your nostrils and ears, and your skin will take on a red tinge… Okay so I might have exaggerated the last bit, but you will definitely feel yourself going a little crazy during your time of the month, the build up to your time of the month, and especially the first few times you experience your period. You will have irrational thoughts, and act irrationally. For some reason, your Dad will be the only person you’ll want to take your anger out on, he will only have to look at you to get your blood boiling and if he is being sympathetic, this will only annoy you more.
I could warn you about the negatives of periods for hours, such as the upset tummy that will have you running to and from the toilet at all times of the day and night, the joys of inserting your first tampon, or the unforgettable sensation of waddling around with a pillow sized sanitary towel stuck between your legs, but let me stop myself here. You will learn to love your periods, well again this might be a little strong, but you will learn to tolerate your period because you’ll soon realise that it won’t be stopping anytime soon, not until you reach menopause but that is a subject for another day… You will learn to track your period each month and look to its coming like the return of a much missed friend. Trust me, you will never know fear like it if your period is late, but again I won’t go into those details right now… You will also learn to prepare yourself and control your period the older you get, for God, in the shape of a scientist, created contraceptives (special medication to help you delay having babies until you’re ready) such as the pill to dictate when your period will fall, and also to help ease cramping and blood flow.
But overall, the thing I want you to remember most from this letter is that your first period, when viewed in a certain light, can be seen as beautiful. Your period is a sign that you are blossoming and transitioning from a girl into a woman. Your period is also extremely empowering, it will amaze you how your uterus can breakdown just to rebuild itself again as a sign of your inner strength and amazing biology. Periods are also a sign that you can produce your own children when you are older, and is there really any better superpower than the ability to be able to give life (something that men will never be able to do)? The last thing to remember is that you aren’t alone. Every woman experiences her period and this means that however nice or however horrible your periods can be throughout your life, you are bonded to all the women around you, and you will never run out of people to talk to, or to ask for advice from. Never let anyone make you feel ashamed or dirty for having a period, or that you can’t talk about your periods openly. Periods are natural and periods are beautiful.
Lots of love always,
What were you thinking during you first period? Tell us in the comments below!
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My name is Nicole Brownfield and I am 20 years old. I am studying English Literature and going into my 3rd and final year of Queen Mary University, London in September. I am currently the Editor-In-chief of my University magazine 'CUB' and my dream is to pursue a career in journalism after I graduate. I love living in London and am obsessed with sourcing out food and drink places, as well as exploring the parts of London I have never been to before. My boyfriend and I have recently turned pescatarian and this symbolises my goal to constantly keep bettering myself and to stay healthy and disciplined. Every day I try and achieve something as I want to look back and be proud of the life I have lived, and to make my family proud too.