Inspired by a convo with @furtadomf . Ladies--think back on where you were when you got your first period. Remember the emotions? It was special and scary and maybe not what you expected. It came too early or too late. As a doctor, I ask about "menarche" when I take a GYN history, but there's so much more to the story. What's yours?
  1. 12 years old: New Year's Day.
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    I woke up after a weird dream where I was inexplicably pregnant. "Whew, not pregnant! Oh, but I'm bleeding all over my sheets. Wait, cool--I finally got my period!! Must call my best friend." I was the last of my friends to start having periods and had been feeling left out. (Can you believe I wanted to bleed every month??) Judy Blume's "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret" captured all the angst and anticipation surrounding this event best and was one of my favorite books.
  2. Summer before 6th grade, at my newly-single dad's house at 2am
    He drove to Wawa (a better 7-11), bought one of every lady good they sold, brought it home and insisted I call my mom, at 3am to share the good news
    Suggested by @furtadomf
  3. 11 years old at My Grandfather's house on Christmas Eve
    I remember thinking this was the worst place to get it and I waited til I got home to deal with it. Earlier that year I had appendicitis and the surgeon told my mom I was "mature down there" and should expect my period soon.
    Suggested by @ErinFlaherty
  4. 12 years old at the teen rec center
    I was "flirting" with a boy (hiding his hat, pinching him, the works) and started to feel really warm all over. Went to the bathroom and, lo! Weird brown stuff. I showed my mom and she assured me I had started my monthly, but I didn't want to believe her, so I remained convinced I was stricken (struck?) with some other brown goo malady until the following morning when the uterine levy broke.
    Suggested by @maribot
  5. 12 years old in science class
    I was scared to get up for lunch because I felt it on the chair. I told this boy to get our social studies teacher because I trusted her. I'll never forget his response: "I won't tell anyone. It's something that happens to my mom." They wrapped me in a sweater from lost & found and walked me to the nurses office.
    Suggested by @mianguyen
  6. 12 years old, school/home
    I was helping out with little kids at my school, but my cramps were so terrible, I had to lie down for hours before my dad came to get me. When I got home, I went to pee, saw the water was bright red with blood and yelled "FUCK!" Spent the rest of the week in bed watching surfing competitions and eating chips.
    Suggested by @olive
  7. 2 days after my 13th birthday
    I'm an August baby, and was at my parents' house changing into my bathing suit so I could go swimming in my friend's pool. Cue: horror (oh I knew what it was but it had really bad timing) and sadness (because I couldn't go swimming that day).
    Suggested by @linzamauve
  8. 12 years old, September 11th, 2002
    I was at recess and I could feel something leaking out of me and I knew what it was but I didn't want to address it right then and there. I sat through two more classes then went home, checked, and screamed for my mom at the top of my lungs, and we both cried. None of my friends had it, and I didn't have an older sister, so I was terrified.
    Suggested by @laur
  9. 12 years old, at camp
    In the gross, dark swimming pool bathroom. I had no idea what was going on, then quickly figured it out and was horrified. I thought my life was over. Cool older counselors were nice to me, and assured me that my life was not over. They gave me the only thing the nurse had on hand in the infirmary: massive Kotex pads. I am on the alumni association of the camp now, and plan for my legacy there to be an alway-stocked cabinet full of not-terrifying menstrual supplies.
    Suggested by @leslie
  10. 12 years old, Labor Day weekend. I think.
    I was like...slightly spotting? So I was totally in denial, and thought maybe I had somehow been scratched by my underwear or toilet paper. This went on for a while, and I literally HID MY UNDERWEAR under my bathroom cabinet until I was sure. I had no sisters, and my mom and I never talked about it. One night I called her upstairs, showed her the underwear, timid, and she kissed me on the head and gave me some starter- pads. That was that. 😒
    Suggested by @maira
  11. 12 years old in class
    I was constantly ready for it that year and just calmly changed in the toilets. But when I came back I felt sure every other girl in class must have known via some weird girl intuition. So when someone asked me what pads I had (what pets do you have?), I replied Libra (the brand) with wings! "Oh, so what sort of bird?" I lied my little ass off and said a parrot.
    Suggested by @estherlimtf
  12. 13 years old, my first and only time at sleep away camp
    I discovered a brownish-red splotch on my underwear, shakily told my counselor, and then spent the night crying on the phone with my mom. When I got it again the next month when I was back home, my mom took me out for the celebratory lunch we had always planned.
    Suggested by @SarahHalleCorey
  13. Summer before 7th grade. I was prepared, knowledge-wise, because my mom had given my sister & I "the talk" years prior and I'd been reading my mom's body/sex books since then. I called my mom at work & made her promise NOT to tell my dad. She agreed, but then he came home with one of those GIANT Hershey's Kisses & just put it down in front of me.
    And I glared at my mom through the haze of my newly-raging hormones. JUDAS!!!!
    Suggested by @alligeeshow
  14. Summer going into 7th grade (so 12), I was camping with my family in VERY rural New Hampshire/Maine. Very rural as in we hiked a day to get to the campground, had to bring all necessary supplies rural. Apparently "necessary supplies" did not include any type of feminine products. I got my first period at the end of the second day.
    Faced with the dilemma of leaving a day early or just sort of free bleeding for two days, I actually willingly chose the latter. This is now a ~hilarious~ story that my family willing tells to anyone who wants to listen 😑
    Suggested by @maggzerts
  15. 13 1/2 at home.
    I am the oldest girl in my family, and I'd never talked about it with friends, so I felt very shy when I told my mom (even though she and I had discussed it before). She told me congratulations and made sure I had all the supplies.
    Suggested by @mamie
  16. 12 years & exactly one month; at home.
    My mom was really open about hers & I had an older sister so I was expecting it. I just remember going to the bathroom & finding blood. My mom made it into a celebration, & I simultaneously felt grown-up & m SUPER bummed out I got it so early. I was also afraid I was gonna get all weird like my sister (who is generally unemotional but during puberty would lie in bed and cry for hours for no reason). Instead, I ended up lying in bed & crying for hours every month due to terrible cramps.
    Suggested by @nelle
  17. 15 years old at the movie theatre after watching Magic Mike... My friends and I like to joke that Channing Tatum made my vagina bleed 😂
    Suggested by @tiupps
  18. 10 years old (yes, I know) at my house. I was changing into my swimsuit for swimming lessons and saw what looked like a murder scene in my underwear. I thought I was dying, since my mom had not had any puberty conversations with me yet. She gave me a panty liner for swim lessons and then gave me an American Girl "You and Your Body" book that day.
    Suggested by @colls39