There are many commercial first period kit boxes around these days. Which I find quite amusing as, let’s face it, there’s really not a lot to it.
I saw a first period kit that includes such necessary period items as a charm bracelet, cozy socks and even lip balm. I mean, really? Lip balm?
Am I being mean? Is it a thing to remember using your first pad by a memorial charm bracelet? If it is, I’m afraid you have come to the wrong first period kit information source. I am not about the charm bracelet. I have absolutely nothing against girls or mothers who want to mark the first period occasion with a little gift or a borrowed tribal ceremony or even a red-themed party. It’s just not for us.
For my girls, their first period kit contains pretty much the same thing my own did. Only instead of a plastic ziplock bag, we’ve put their kit into a little pencil case. Discreet and sweet.
Mind you, the discreet side of things isn’t needed for my youngest. She is all about the women’s circle of trust. We packed her little kit and into the school bag it went, along with extra extra-undies, a box of tampons and a ridiculous amount of pads. Just in case her friends need them.
She’s 10, in year 6, and so excited. Heaven help us when her first period actually arrives. I wouldn’t be surprised if she makes a PSA at school to let everyone know she’s the go-to girl for all things menstruation. Only don’t say ‘menstruation’. Unlike carrying 27 pads around in your school bag, using that word would be mortifying.
We all ’embrace’ the coming of shark week differently, as ‘mortifying’ pretty much sums up Aunty Flo’s arrival for my elder daughter. She has no interest in the whole lady thing whatsoever. She calls it ‘the situation’ and that’s that. Never to be referred to or mentioned again. Actually I really should get off this keyboard because I think I’m in trouble already…
What’s in our first period kit
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2 x wrapped pads
Because, options. Maybe my girls will feel better with a pad than period undies. I just want them to feel in control, comfortable and loved when their first period comes along.
1 x change of underpants
To go with the pads. A girl likes to be fresh.
A few baby wipes in a ziplock bag
If you need freshening, a baby wipe is a good go-to option. I’ve reminded the girls that they shouldn’t be flushed, but put into the sanitiser or bin, just as they will do with a pad or tampon when the time comes.
They can pop their old undies into the ziplock bag to bring home for washing.
Lottie is obsessed with introducing hand sanitiser to any occasion. Bit like the lip balm, I guess!?
Some advice for new starters (and their mums)
It’s a big deal, or not a big deal
It’s up to your daughter. Yes, reminder to proud mums everywhere: it’s not up to you how this goes down! The Red Wedding may very well come and go without comment or even acknowledgement. Or you may need to get the brass band, party poppers and hot water bottle ready each and every month. Your girl will be your guide.
Speaking of which: Periods vs Perimenopause: Let’s get ready to rumble
It helps to have a trusted friend(s) at school
A friend is necessary to check for leakages, remind you that you don’t smell and be there if you are suddenly not coping with the massive influx of hormones coursing through your body. A friend is also excellent at screaming, “It’s PERIOD BLOOD, Dave. Not a MURDER. GROW UP, you silly boy child!” across the playground (but that might just be my friend). Talk to your girl about who might fit this important role.
Focus on the health aspect
She will learn about period pain and heavy flows and all of that soon enough. Instead, put the focus on how healthy it is for a girl to get a regular period. Also, see final point below – it’s very hard to go easy on the ‘it suuuuuuuux’ part, but we must.
Books to read: 5 good books about starting your period
Put the monthly thing into perspective
It’s mildly interesting to get one period, rather traumatic to realise they are coming every 28 or so days forever and ever until you die (Note: being 50 is death to girls, so yes, until you die). Don’t panic them, instead talk about how periods help form life’s gentle rhythm. Okay, life’s stupidly-unfair-dumb-shit-fuck-hate-it rhythm.
Be hot water bottle ready
They still make Ponstan, which is a comfort for us all. Most girls are going to need a little help most months. If Ponstan is not doing the trick, be sure to make an appointment with her doctor. No, it’s not okay to be bedridden twelve times a year for something that’s supposed to be ‘natural’. Severe period pain is known as dysmenorrhoea and treatment is available. In fact, there is help available for most menstrual hangovers, so help your daughter seek it.
Under no circumstances talk about ‘becoming a woman’
It’s enough to make even the most casual first period getter suck the whole lot back up inside.* (*Sorry about that. Turns out it’s hard to stay on the level when you’re writing about periods.) Plus, a lot of girls are age 8 when the Lady Business comes to call. Bit early for hammering home the lady side of the business, really.
Give her space
You will most probably have to fib a little bit about how joyous you find surfing the crimson tide each month. Your sweet girl has years to discover how much of a life fuck getting your blasted period is. After all, she may actually find the experience less arduous than you have and it’s important to give her space to make up her own mind.