I want your stories!

Hello everyone, women in particular –

My project is currently about menstruation. Periods an’ stuff.

And so this is a call for you tell me the stories of your first periods. I wanna hear it all- no matter how ‘boring’ or ’embarrassing’ or ‘disgusting’. Everything.

I will probably use direct quotes in my stitch work, so that’ll be exciting for you I guess.

If you could leave the stories in the comments on this entry that’d be GRATE. If you’re a little shy you can email me:
rosagmartyn [at] gmail [dot] com

My story- I was two weeks short of thirteen- I had extreme tummy pain and went to the toilet expecting the worse. Instead, I found blood. After telling my mother that I’d started she danced me round the kitchen singing “You’re a woman, you’re a woman!” Next day I went into school and whispered to all my friend girls “I started my period last night.” It was a proud moment, for me.

26 Responses to “I want your stories!”

  1. Rather shy Says:

    I was too shy to tell my mum so I wrote her a note, which she didn’t find for a couple of days. She’d bought me some sanitary towels but hadn’t give them to me and I was too nervous to take them so spent those days with a lot of loo roll in my knickers. Not a great start.

  2. Dave Says:

    Ha! I can imagine your mum doing that as well… Freak you out much? (Your mother’s behaviour I mean). I haven’t started mine. Odd that…

  3. Tweets that mention I want your stories! « My Little Stitches -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jessica Marie and Harriet R, Rosa Martyn. Rosa Martyn said: Women! I want your stories! https://mylittlestitches.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/i-want-your-stories/ (Please RT) […]

  4. Tell Rosa your story · Needlework News @ CraftGossip Says:

    […] Rosa Martyn of My Little Stitches is putting together a rather womanly (but mysterious) bit of needleart, and she’d like real stories from real women to add to the project. If you follow Rosa’s blog, you know her projects are often political and controversial. This one promises to follow suit — it focuses on menstruation, especially first-period stories. Have your experience memorialized in stitch art: Leave a comment on Rosa’s post! […]

  5. feminizzle Says:

    I remember feeling that I was late-late-late to start but looking at it I think I was about 14. I remember that it started during the night and I had horrible “stomach” aches all through the night and didn’t realize what was going on. I also felt all wet on my thighs and thought I must have been sweating or something. When I got up and found the blood, I actually felt even more sick and nauseated. I quickly cleaned myself up and simply told my parents I didn’t feel well so I could skip school. The cramps were so bad and I was too embarassed to say that I started my period so they didn’t think to give me tylenol or something. My mom was in night school at the time so I wrote a little note letting her know and I remember being so embarassed to say it. Periods were “women stuff” and NOT something to be talked about or discussed in my family! It took me years to work off the humiliation and disgust I felt with my period. I always thought it was so shameful. Now I’m horrified by feelings like that and I try to make sure girls around me don’t feel that kind of shame or humility.

  6. Shae Says:

    I am a very awkward and shy person now, and I was almost 1000x more so when I was 11. I didn’t have any cramps that I can remember, but one day I came home from school and noticed there was a little circle of blood in my undies.

    I went down to my mom’s room where she was reading a book and listening to music. Our conversation will be cemented in my mind forever.

    Me: *sits down on chair, twiddles thumbs for a second* This is Bread, isn’t it?
    Mom: Yep
    Me: I just started my period.
    Mom: I thought so.

    11 years later and thinking about it still makes me feel so very awkward.

  7. humanknity Says:

    Once a friend told me her story and concluded with, “Yeah, and it really sucks when you finally have to tell your mom,” to which I responded, “Not as much as it sucks when you immediately HAVE to tell your dad.”

    It was summer vacation, and my family had just moved across state lines. I didn’t have any friends, so my little sister and I accompanied my dad to work one day to kill some time and see our new city. I figured out what was up in the bathroom of my dad’s new office, thankfully before I ruined anything more than just my underwear.

    Wadded up toilet paper in undies, I figured I had no choice but to ‘fess up and let my dad know that I needed to go buy some pads or something. My dad’s the sweetest guy, but he was completely flustered. He put a $20 bill in my hand, shoved me into the nearest drugstore, and called my mom on his cell phone outside. I must have spent like 15 minutes completely overwhelmed by THE AISLE, because he and my sister eventually had to come in after me. We must have been quite a sight, because a middle-aged female employee eventually came and helped us pick something out.

    The rest of the day was pretty fun, even though my dad and sister asked me like a billion times if I was okay. We went paddle boating and my mom baked something to celebrate when we got home.

  8. Holly Says:

    I honestly don’t remember my first period at all. Not a single detail. Is that weird? I’m pretty sure there wasn’t any dancing.

    I remember that my little sister’s (by a couple of years) started before mine. In fact I remember her starting, but not me. My family are also the kind to not talk about anything that might be awkward. The closest I got to “the talk” with my parents was my mum commenting fairly out of the blue while we were walking somewhere that if I wanted to go on the pill she’d be ok with it. Thanks mum.😛

    Wish I could contribute to your intriguing project, but I got nothin.

  9. rugosa Says:

    My mum can’t remember hers either! But she instead gave me a story of her mum using rolled up rags, and washing them, and then giving them to a poverty stricken German refugee after WW2. My Grandma was fucking awesome. Apart from the making my mum use balls of cotton wool ‘because tampons were a waste of money’

  10. jessica Says:

    I lied about having my period for three years.
    All my friends started when they were 13.
    I was nearly 15!
    Too skinny and lanky
    I used to swim five times a week, and i was terrified i was going to start, whilst swimming.
    I imagined it being like when you dip a paint brush into water, and the paints clouds into the water.

    But thank god, it happened just after my swim session.
    I had got home, was sitting on the toilet
    my stomach feeling a bit unstable
    – when i looked down the toilet was soaked red.

    Had to wear horrible big nappy style pads to school the next day
    – you know the ones they give all the girls at school when the whole year has ‘talks’ about growing up.

    Happy times.
    Hopes this helps Rosa
    xxxxxx

  11. Leslie Says:

    I was in 7th grade, 12 years old. It was christmas time so we were at my grandparents house in maine. There was just a little brown stain in my undies and I didn’t need a pad so I waited to say anything. A few weeks later when I didn’t even have my period I told my mom before school and she got me a pad, showed me how to use it, and brought me a brown paper bag full to school.
    We didn’t really talk much about it after that, now I’m a senior in college and doing my thesis on menstruation. I’m also an avid embroiderer so I’m looking forward to your project!
    My latest was what I call “The Vulva Mary”
    The Vulva Mary

  12. Audwina Says:

    I was 11 or 12 I think. It started while I was at home with my best friend, who had come over to stay the night.
    We were getting into our pyjamas, and I was showing her where the laundry basket was. I noticed a brownish smear in my knickers and at first I thought “what the hell is that?”, but after a second realised what it was. Luckily my Mum was really open with my sister and I about all things period-related so we knew what to expect from quite an early age.
    What makes me cringe to this day is how I told my Mum and older sister. I said something like “Mum, I’ve taken my first step towards becoming a woman”. My older sister burst out laughing, Mum gave me hug and I burst into tears, wailing about how I wished I was a boy.

  13. Allison Says:

    It was my 13th birthday. My birthday is 12/26. It was Christmas break and I was cramped, miserable and pissed off.
    On top of it, I’m not really from a talking family. We don’t discuss, mention, or toss ideas around. At all. So I figured that my first period (which had been presented to me via public school education as a healthy normal thing) I didn’t mention or ask anyone anything. With a mother and older sister, the supplies were already in the bathroom.
    I put the pad in sideways. Sticky-side up. It wanted to fold that way so I figured that was how it folded. Took me less than a minute to realize my error. Later, when I was scrubbing the stains out of my pants, my mother asked if I wished I had been born a boy.

  14. Drucilla Pettibone Says:

    ah rosa! i envy your story.

    i was nine! nine, and got my period for no good reason. it was terrible because i was a confirmed tomboy. i even dreamed of having a “sex-change operation.” i had been out playing with the neighbor boys and it got late and my mum was looking for me and very mad, and then i got in the bath and she was gathering laundry and she saw my underwear. she was in the midst of yelling at me anyway and she got flustered and she yelled “you’ve got your period!” i vaguely knew what it was but had no idea of the significance. i remember she brought me a huge maxi pad, it looked as big as a house and i wouldn’t wear it, i threw it away.

    after everyone was asleep i just laid in my room feeling so upset and confused. my saving grace was mary tyler moore. her show was on, followed as always by bob newhart. i remember feeling so distraught but somehow mary made it better.

    btw my mum is usually a peach, this was just a bad moment in our history.

  15. Heather Says:

    My story wasn’t all that bad, really. My mom worked in the medical field for a good portion of her life so when I was 9, she sat me down and told me what would happen, just in case I was an early starter. She told me some of the biological parts about it as well as making it out to be the official start of womanhood. I was actually looking forward to this nifty sign of growing up. When I hit 11, I started my first period and was totally prepared for it. I just grabbed a pad, inserted it into my underwear, and went about my business. The first year of periods were light and did not include much in the way of cramping, so I figured this whole business would be easy. The only bad parts were 1) not knowing how to judge when it would end (on day 4, I woke up with no blood so I assumed I was done. That afternoon, I was jumping on my friend’s trampoline when she noticed the stain in the back. Her mom was freaking out at first when she realized what happened because she hadn’t even reached that conversation with my friend yet, but once she realized I was okay with everything and knew what to do, they hooked me up with a change of clothes and the proper materials.) and 2) leggings were REALLY popular back then and my parents felt I was too young for tampons. Bulky pads + tight leggings = epic fail.

    On the other hand, another friend in middle school started her period at 13 and her parents never told her a THING. I was waiting for her to get out of the bathroom so we could go to class. As the bathroom emptied out, I realized she was crying. She saw all the blood and thought she was dying. I had to explain to her what was going on and how to use a pad, then walk her up to the office and explain to the secretaries what happened so they could call her parents and I could get a pass back to class. She was too embarrassed to say anything.

  16. Ese Jota Says:

    I was almost thirteen. My “stomach” had been aching all the afternoon, and when I went to the bathroom there was a dark red stain in my knickers. I can’t remember how I told my mum about it; I suppose we were expecting it to happen sooner or later, so it wasn’t weird, just painful, and somehow disappointing ’cause until then I had secretly hopped I would never get my period. Luckily my mum had always talked about it since we were little girls; in her family it was a taboo subject, and her mother started screaming that she would end up pregnant when she found out about her period. She didn’t wanted that for us.

    And, that night, or maybe the next one, my dad got me a chocolate bar because I was a “young woman” (“una señorita”).

  17. Gem Says:

    I don’t even remember my first period. It just happened. Completely normal thing, no fuss. I’m still lucky as now I don’t get them!🙂

  18. Christine Says:

    I was at home, and told my mother I’d started my period and needed some pads. She became angry and told me to use washcloths like she had. My mother was born in Ukraine in the 1920’s, suffered thru Stalin’s hell there, and ended up in a Concentration camp during her teenage years, finally going to Italy. So I can’t say she had the luxuries that we have. My stepfather (#3 of 5 stepfathers I was to have) took me to the supermarket to buy my first maxi pads. He was a real jerk, but this was one nice thing he did for me.

    I’ve never told this story, thanks for the opportunity.

  19. shauna Says:

    My first period has the shame and humiliation that other women are expressing, but also a lot of confusion. I remember being aware that one day I was eventually going to get my period, and that it would involve bleeding and it would happen thereafter every month, but never did I imagine that it was going to be a constant slow bleed lasting for days! I was the student who lapped up all the information they taught in school, so looking back on it now, they really failed in not mentioning the logistics of a period.
    I woke up in the morning in pain, went to the washroom and saw the blood. Now here was where I was going to just ‘pee’ it all out. But it was only little drips in the toilet and a big mess in my clothes! What the hell?!
    I can’t remember how helpful my mom was or wasn’t, that’s the theme toour relationship. She’s there, but I am never sure of her role (perhaps neither is she.)
    I really didn’t know what the hell was going on and was too embarassed to ask my friends. I was 10, and never began to talk about such things with my girl friends until my 20’s, and likely never will when it comes to my mom.

  20. schinders Says:

    i sent rosa my story, but now that i see everyone sharing here, i’m feeling braver.
    my mom’s manic depressive. she was in a down spiral when i got my period, hadn’t been out of her bed in months. i knew what it was, i was a sophisticated nyc kid, i read “are you there god it’s me margaret?” and “what’s happening to me?” i went into her bedroom to tell her i’d gotten my period. she told me there was a box of tampons in the bathroom closet and instructions in the box. i remember feeling really alone.

  21. Quiet Riot Girl Says:

    I didn’t tell my Mum at first (or anyone else), when I found a spot of blood, aged about 12. But then my Grandad died, and one night Mum came into my room and I was sobbing. I told her then I was upset at Grandad dying and I had started my period too. I will always associate those two events with each other in my mind.

  22. Rather shy Says:

    After reading Quiet Riot Girl’s comment I’d like to add that I got my first period before any of my friends and the same summer that I found out my sister was transgender and was transitioning (she was male assigned at birth and is 10 years older than me). The atmosphere in the house was very strained as my parents were having a lot of trouble coming to terms with it. My mum came out with the immortal line “you’re becoming a woman at the same time as your sister”.

  23. mary frances Says:

    I’m nearly 24 and my first period was March 17 or 21st the year I was 11. I was having a screaming match with my parents in the kitchen while they got dinner ready and went to the bathroom in the middle of it all and saw the blood. I called my mom in and she basicly said “oh no wonder you were crazy today” and got me some pads, in time for the hormonal swing to arc in to sobbing. I felt great, a bit proud and told my friends that night at youth group. My parents and the school had prepped me well but I had no clue that the hormones would be that bad. I’m still a dragon when it comes to PMS. This was before the angonizing cramps though, in high school they were so bad I missed days of school and nearly scalded myself in steamy hot baths, while taking massive amounts of perscription pain killers. Now it’s evened out a bit with only 1 day of writhing in pain considering a home hysterctomy. To think my grandmother doled out hot gin to my mom and aunts for cramps, i just get hot baths.

  24. Liz Says:

    I was 14 and I knew I was really behind – I knew that if I turned 15 I’d have to go to the DR about it cause something had to be wrong.

    I remember I was swimming in the pool and felt funny so I got out and was walking around when my teacher drove past our house. She was a great lady and she stopped to chat. Finally I went inside and went to the bathroom and was like oh ok, guess I’m not swimming anymore. Luckily I didn’t have a mess at all or anything (THAT would have killed me) but I remember thinking FINALLY. I, also, am not close with my mom but she eventually figured it out since her pad supply was whittling away and she asked me and I said yes and that was it.

  25. Liz Says:

    Random but something I wanted to add. It wasn’t until I was 24 and read a book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility that I really even totally understood what it all meant and that the “28 day rule of thumb” so to speak is NOT normal. Overall I feel like many girls are really under-educated because schools can only cover so much and it sounds like I’m not the only one with a mom that kept her own little bit of knowledge quiet.

    Glad to see you’re “taking it public” a little more.

  26. Scarlet Work « My Little Stitches Says:

    […] of my sketchbook, and every single one was a joy to read and a fascinating insight. I recommend reading them all, and furthermore- asking your friends for their own stories. It gives way to a brilliant […]

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