I knew my daughter would start her period late since I didn’t get mine until I was almost 15.
But here we are, 30 years later, and I must have forgotten the hormonal tsunami that accompanies teenage menstruation.
My daughter is usually pretty sensitive and dramatic anyway, but I should have clued in that something big was happening the week prior to Aunt Flo’s official first visit. She was moodier than usual. Tears sprang at odd times. A random panic attack occurred over a relatively simple homework assignment. And, over the weekend she took a four-hour nap. I checked on her countless times, sure something monumental was happening but not knowing what. My daughter is not a napper. Was she getting the flu? I was really worried about her.
And then she said, “I think I’m starting my period.”
I was cool about it. I wasn’t going to jump up and down and be that mom who throws a period party — that was for sure. Although I was definitely relieved that she had finally started it.
About a year ago, my daughter had some spotting so she knew what to expect. Sort of. Except for the part where her ovaries felt like they were being slashed over and over with newly sharpened knives. And the fluctuating emotions where anything drew tears to her eyes. And the part where her usual flat tummy had expanded to look like she had just devoured an extra-large cheese pizza.
I told her, “Honey, you’re just bloated and that will go away in a couple of days, I promise.”
Even though we already had a supply of pads and tampons, we went to Walgreens and stocked up on more goodies. (They have some really great packaging for teen products now — where was this stuff when we were going through this crap?) I got her Ben and Jerry’s and brownies, set her up in my bed with a heating pad and I rubbed her tummy. We watched funny videos online and I tried to make this experience as painless and comforting as possible for her.
She moaned a lot and cried and lamented about how much it sucks and I tried really hard to be supportive. What I really wanted to say was, “Hey, I’ve been going through this same crap every single month for the last 30 freaking years! Now you know how I feel.” But I didn’t say that.
Because it’s sisterhood. And she’s my daughter. But now, she’s also my sister. Welcome to the club, baby girl.
Welcome to the club.