5 women talk about their first period and what they wish they had known back then

Published on: 17 December 2019, 18:29 pm IST

While a fertile woman is often considered a blessing in most Indian households, she is also a subject to taboo because of her periods. If you’ve grown up in an Indian household, you’d know the stigma. Read on to know more.

First period
Your first period can be scary–especially when there is misinformation around. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Getting your first period can be a traumatic experience for many. From freaking out about the sudden changes in your body to thinking that you are either really sick or unwell, the reactions are pretty much the same. Blame the lack of awareness we have about menstruation or the reluctance that parents and our schools have in talking about it–the lack of information often translates into confused, scared and nervous teenagers trying to navigate through one of the biggest changes in the body.

So, we asked five women about their first period and the one thing they wish they had known back then. Here’s what they had to say

A taboo rooted in our culture

First period

“My mother did the whole ‘it’s dirty, you will stink on your periods’ thing. That was really damaging, I wish it was presented as a normal bodily function. My school was also really cagey about menstrual awareness. We were given a session and then told not to talk to the boys about it. So you are taught to hide it and be ashamed, and I wish that was not done. I wish they explained it scientifically and normalised it. Also, I wish I knew that there was nothing dirty about having my period.”

Kripa Krishnan, writer, Mumbai

The awkward period talk
“The first thing my dadi said was, ‘Chalo now it’ll be easier to get you married’. I was 13! It was awful. I wish my family stopped making a big deal about it and treated it like a normal bodily function. For the longest time I thought if you got your period, it meant you would have to get married. I wish my family was more educated and stopped treated period as a marriage-approval seal.”

Shwetha D’Souza, graphic designer, Ahmedabad

Let’s talk menstruation

First period

“I wish someone had spoken to me about having my periods before I had them, and not after. The first time I saw myself bleeding, I thought I hurt myself while playing, and I didn’t know how to tell my mother. I was so scared because I thought she would now not let me go out and play because I ended up hurting myself really badly. If I knew about it beforehand, it would have certainly made my life easier.”

Juhi Verma, brand solutions manager, Mumbai

Stigma around period stain
“I was petrified of one thing: staining the sheets. It was such a big deal at my home and my sister and I were shamed for it. Till date when my sister comes over and she is on her periods, she sleeps on the floor! It was really stressful dealing with an entire new bodily change in the first place, but waking up every hour to check if the sheets were stained was another terrifying experience. I wish people around us didn’t treat stained clothes and sheets as a reflection of how incapable you are of taking care of your own body.”

Harsha Ahluwalia, banker, Vadodara 

Period shaming

First period

“I wish I wasn’t asked to treat my periods as a secret in my house. I had to hide my pads, wrap them up in a newspaper and basically hide all occurrence of my period. I couldn’t even admit it to my own brother. I wish I knew that having your periods was completely normal and not some big, ugly secret.”

Karen Alfonso Kotikalapudi, writer, Mumbai 

Also read: 4 period myths that we need to stop believing in right now!

Ainee Nizami Ainee Nizami

Ainee has 10 years of experience in finding and writing stories about lifestyle, health, and fitness. When she is not surfing the internet for stories that'll connect with women, you’ll find her reading a book and sipping chai.

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