Written by Gwendy Davenport
‘Mum, I got my period BTW.’
I whispered this awkwardly to my mum who was sitting next to me in the cinema. I had been building up to this moment for hours and decided that a cinema would be ideal - lights off so she couldn’t see the cringe on my face. Immediately she said: “don’t worry! We’ll get you some pads right away.” I breathed a sigh of relief and later looked in the bathroom mirror because finally I was A. Normal. Teenager.
For me, getting my first period was a source of intense stress because I was later than everyone else. I spent years pretending I was on my period - carrying pads around with me in obvious places and skipping PE classes. All the girls in my year at school had their periods and, in my mind, that meant they were all more mature and more qualified to enjoy teenagerhood than I was. I was really worried.
Anyways, the point is, I shouldn’t have had anxiety surrounding my period. I certainly shouldn’t have had any fear in telling my mum, nor in asking my friends about it, nor in googling what on earth a period is. The fact is - periods are taboo. This is crazy considering that every day 800 million people around the world are on their period!
To get rid of this taboo, we need to talk about them. Don’t be afraid to openly talk about your period in a public place, confidently ask for menstrual products in the pharmacy, or shop online for your FabLittleBag without feeling the need to go on ‘Incognito Mode.’
As a parent there are lots of things you can do to not make things awkward:
Talking openly about periods even before your child has reached puberty is important. At the dinner table, with your family, with your friends (no matter their gender) - be open and normalize it!
There are so many options for period products. Be sure to check out all the options to find out which ones work best for you; it may be that you take a mix & match approach.
Traditional Options :
Or newer and more eco options
- organic cotton tampons/pads
- menstrual cup
- reusable cloth pads
When I got my period, I thought my only option was a pad. While one option may have worked for you, your child might prefer something different, and the choices are wider now. Also, you may well have been brought up as a flusher, but it is not too late to ensure your child knows that being a Binner is the only way to dispose of used period products, that’s why FablittleBags play such an important role making being a Binner a relaxed, easy hygienic experience and keeps our rivers and oceans free from pollution.
- Check in
The period talk is not over once your child has first got their period. Periods can change with stress, eating or exercise changes, health issues, medication and more. Also, 10% of women develop endometriosis, this is a serious condition and extremely painful periods must not be ignored or deemed « normal ». Therefore, as a parent, listen, check in, talk, not in a dictatorial way, keep it relaxed. Periods shouldn’t be awkward, they are normal, healthy, important, and yes, annoying at times! Without them, none of us would be here.