In my first article ‘Periods: The Unexpected Moment’ - Part 1’, I spoke about my first time period experience. I decided to write about this subject so that my story could reach out to both young and older females, in the hopes that it would be relatable and enable others to feel more comfortable in sharing their own first time period stories. In‘Part 2’ - I will be discussing periods and the importance of being prepared for a first time period.
As a single mother to a ten year old daughter, who will be going through this process -
my aim for this is to be a supportive article for all parents who have daughters who have not yet started their first period.
To be honest, it is an emotional subject to talk about as my daughter is growing up way too fast. Just a ‘few years ago’ (well…ten or so years ago) she was a little girl in small little dresses with frilly socks! And now she is heading for her teens in under three years’ time!
It is a shock how quickly time goes by as a parent, and for me, the next big moment in our lives will be when my daughter starts her period. I must admit, I have been very open and spoken with her about the next stage of her life, as I believe it is important to have that talk, in order for her and I to feel as prepared as we possibly can. And as a parent I really do think that more could be done to educate and support younger females.
The first thing that came to my mind was to help young females with choosing period products for a first time period. Now of course there are more products than listed, but for me, I couldn’t imagine using a menstrual cup on my first time period, so the products I have written about are more suited to first experiences only.
Period products to help prepare for at home
On the subject of period products, I wanted to make a list of a few affordable items for young females; researching items that I myself have used in the past and also some that are newer to the market.
1. Bodyform Pads (perfume free) £1.00 - The Bodyform fresh protect pads come in five different strengths. They also have the option of with or without wings. They are inexpensive and can be purchased at a number of stores including Boots, Asda’s, Waitrose, and Superdrug.
2. Lil-Lets Teens Starter Pack £3.99 - This amazing little starter kit has been created for young females who are starting their first periods. It comes with, a 'becoming a teen' booklet, 4 teen day pads, 2 teen night pads, 1 teen liner pouch, 2 teen regular tampons (for lighter periods) and 1 teen super tampon.
Find out more information on the teen starter pack here - www.becomingateen.com
3. Superdrug Panty liners for comfort (50 pack) 99p - The Superdrug comfort panty liners are brilliant as the soft material adapts to the shape of the body. The absorbancy is of a good level for when one has discharge which all females experience - even if it is very rarely spoken about. It is an important part of being a female and it needs to be addressed however uncomfortable it is to discuss and is certainly nothing to be embarrassed about!
4. Superdrug Applicator Tampons 99p - £1.89 - The Superdrug applicator tampons come in different absorbancy levels, dependent on the menstrual cycle flow. From regular (a light period) to super (a heavy period). It also has an applicator which helps with usage which is quick and easy; so take a deep breath, all will be ok. This period product can also be used when one wants to go swimming! P.S always read the instructions before use as Tampons have a set number of hours to use.
Periods - On The Subject of School
In part one I spoke on being unprpared for my first period - which decided to show up when I was at boarding school. I had no period products and no teachers around to help.
There wasno discussion had with us about what to do if the unexpected moment happened nor was there talks of there being a first aid cupboard with spare pads in for those who would start their period.
In this section I wanted to address the news I read a few weeks ago, which will make pads available within UK schools - thanks to the charity Period Poverty - who addressed their concerns to the government, and it was granted that primary and secondary schools would have a stock of pads to give children who couldn’t one, afford pads, and two, for those who start their periods in school.
I think this is an amazing revelation to hear, after what I went through as a twelve year old.
I believe with the help of parents supporting their girls' through the process of first periods and schools coming together to support young females they'll be able to feel more confident and less stressed about what their bodies are going through. It will also get rid of some of this taboo surrounding periods, if we make them a priority discussion within schools.
When my own daughter goes to secondary school, I will now be relieved to know that her school will be equipped should she start unexpectedly while being there. As a parent, I will also do my bit, by making sure she carries a pad or two in her rucksack for that unexpected moment.