When I got my first period, I was in the most embarrassing place my then-11-year-old self could have imagined: my grandparents’ house. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I just put on extra pairs of underwear and threw them away one-by-one, scrunched at the bottom of the bathroom trash bin, as I bled through them. Finally, with nary a pair of panties in sight, I was forced to tell my mother. I have never been so thankful for pantyliners as I was for the ones she gave me.
But what if I’d been in school that day, like so many other girls are – without an extra pair of underwear or a quarter in my pocket to plug into the vending machine? Or what if my family’s weekly budget hadn’t been able to stretch far enough to accommodate replacing a few blood-soaked undergarments and those pantyliners?