Getting your period doesn't have to suck. As women, our relationship to our period is in constant flux.
As pre-pubescent girls, we wait for this mysterious visitor, hoping we get it before the last of our friends -- a literal marker of adulthood. In our twenties, when many women are sexually active, we pray we get our periods each month because we want confirmation that we're not pregnant. Then we hit our 30s, and many of us are trying to get pregnant. The arrival of our period is fraught with angst -- one more passing month without a pregnancy.
Given this constant flux, it's no wonder our relationship with our period is love/hate.
As a child, I was what you call a late bloomer. I was tall, gangly and -- most importantly to me at the time -- flat-chested. I thought my period would never come. But lo and behold, it arrived when I was 12 years old. I was neither the first of my friends or the last of them to get it. But I was excited. Though I wouldn't have used these words at the time, it meant that I was developing normally, and so I breathed a sigh of relief.
This joy at coming of age quickly turned to complaints once I realized that it came with cramps and the fear of leaking through pads. Those first few years with your period are quite perilous. You are still learning to manage your cycle and you're still not comfortable with your changing body. The worst of it all? You ruin a lot of pairs of underwear because you don't yet know which supplies to use.
By the time I went off to college, my period came to be seen more as a hassle that I had to deal with. I still had the cramps, but I knew that if I popped a Midol and wore the right products, I'd get through it. It was just no big deal. But what was incredible about college is that -- at least for me -- it was the first time that I lived among a community of women. Sure, I had gone to summer camp my whole life, but living with other woman once you are one yourself is a remarkable thing. Bonds are formed and -- if you're lucky and comfortable with your body and self -- you get to really learn how the mechanics of your body work.
Let me explain a little. In high school, you may complain about cramps and PMS. In college, if you're a lucky (as I was with my community of friends), you can really talk about what's going on -- clumps, cramps that aren't in your abdomen, your sore breasts, all of it. It's during these often graphic conversations that you learn that you're just like everyone else.
While in my 30s, I had my two beautiful children. The first was delivered as a C-section and the 2nd was a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section). It wasn't until after the VBAC that I understood that, like with menstruation, recovery from child birth is a mysterious process that no one talks about in detail until you're on the other side. I was shocked by what was going on with my post-delivery body and dismayed that none of my friends had prepared me. As I was sitting on my donut pillow talking on the phone to a friend of mine, I had a realization that as women, we really could do a better job of preparing each other.
That's why my company, HelloFlo, is committed to educating girls and encouraging conversations. We should be talking to our daughters early and often about their bodies and their health. Though obviously tongue-in-cheek, the video my company released, Camp Gyno, was a portrayal of what happens when we don't take the time to educate our daughters. They go elsewhere -- and often it's not where we'd like them to get their information.
So, moms and dads alike, do me a favor: If you have a daughter, talk to her. Tell her about all the icky details, and also, tell her how lucky she is. It's that monthly visit that will give her the opportunity to have her own baby one day. And then she can be mad at you that you never told her she'd get hemorrhoids.
WATCH: Camp Gyno
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