She confirmed that it was, so we marched into the bathroom and she pulled out some boxes of pads and tampons from under the sink and said these are what you should use to protect your clothes. So I started with the pads, now lucky for me we had bypassed the stage of pads being held on my a very uncomfortable belt with snaps to hold a mattress like pad with extra long length between my legs. This one had sticky stuff that smashed right into my underwear, period win!
The very next month was my VERY first dance, with a boy. I wore a really cute sweatshirt grey dress with white legging and pointed flats, we took pictures by the tree and we were off, only to return fairly early to blood soaked white leggings. Thankful that my ruffled dress covered my bloody ass. It appeared that no one took notice, maybe they were to self absorbed and nervous standing on separate walls hoping someone would ask them to dance.
Fast forward to the third month ever of my period, the family was going to the beach with another family, WHAT???? What will I do, the panic struck, I can’t swim with a pad in my bathing suit bottoms, that I had enough experience to recognize. So mom and I discussed the tampon option a bit further, she even offered to help me insert it the first time, no thanks mom, I’ve got this one! Eyes wide open, I march into the bathroom with a sense of arrogance and even confidence.
Sitting on the toilet, box in hand, I read the insert, looked at the diagrams maybe a dozen times or more. I opened the package. Now mind you, the applicators back then were cardboard, my vagina somewhat small and unlubricated, I attempt the insert. OUCH! So, I removed what part had tried to enter, which was less than the tip. Shoved it back down into the applicator, try again. After a few tries, I felt successful enough to stand, walk and even go out into the other room where the family sat, waiting on me to go to the beach.
Ok, play it cool. Walked around, gave mom a nod like I had it under control. Then I tried to sit – How in the hell do people sit with these things in? This is awful! Leaning to the side, legs crossed and trying to play it off… NO! I wasn’t successful in inserting it, half of the evil tampon was still hanging out and it hurt! Back to the bathroom, tampon removed, pad and shorts commence! Everyone else had a blast at the beach in their swimsuits splashing in the waves.
This same experience repeated itself many years later when trying a menstrual cup and sponge for the first time, well into my forties!
Rená Koerner – California USA based Birth and Postpartum Doula, Educator, Doula Trainer, Board of Directors President, Speaker and Author with over 15 years experience and passion for family health and choices. I am also the mother of a grown son, grandmother to his precious daughter, I’m also a wife, friend, daughter and not always in this order.