It was two weeks before my 13th birthday when I first got my period. I remember that my mother bought these diaper-esque sanitary pads earlier that year for me, shortly after we had “the talk.” She put the box in the back of the highest shelf of the bathroom closet. When I woke up months later with my period, I climbed the shelves and began to use the pads. I didn’t tell my mother that “my friend” had arrived.
(Side note: What smart ass ever decided to call a woman’s period her “friend?”)
My mother caught on pretty quickly that I had begun bleeding. She asked me why I hadn’t told her when it first arrived. Looking back on it now, I can’t help but think just how young I was. This was the mark of womanhood? Jeez, I was in the sixth grade. What in the world did I know about being a woman?
I told my mother I didn’t realize that I had to tell her every detail of my life. My period apparently also marked the onset of my pubescent attitude.
There never came a sense of pride with the onset of my period. It didn’t make me feel older. Or cooler. And it certainly didn’t make me feel like a woman. From the get-go, it was a hassle. I’ve never cared for showering; it’s a terrible chore and a waste of time. Now, with the arrival of my period, there was no way for me to postpone bathing.
When I was 17, I met a girl from Greece who told me that all the girls there start taking the birth control pill as soon as they get their periods, and that they skip the sugar, placebo pills and only take the actual pill every day so that their periods stop altogether. I thought this was brilliant! Why, oh, why must I suffer through this useless and annoying monthly bleeding?
I was young. I was young when my period started. And I was young when I didn’t appreciate its purpose.
I sit here now — 21 years from the first shedding of my uterine lining, 17 years from the Greek girl — and I pray, wish, hope that I bleed soon. It’s been four weeks — one month — since I miscarried my twins at 17-weeks pregnant. Relatively, that’s no time at all. And I know this. But when you’re my age, when you’ve come so close to becoming a mother, when you’ve planned, and planned, and planned, and when you know that the road ahead is still going to be long and hard — and possibly with further setbacks — you just want to bleed. You just want to get on with it.
I know it will happen when my body is ready. When my body has healed. And it’s not so much that I’m rushing it, per se. It’s just that even after my period arrives, there are still numerous steps I have to go through before I even get pregnant.
And, truth be told, I want my body back. Yes, if even just to give it up again to a pregnancy. I want my body to do what it is meant to do. I want to bleed. I want the reassurance that my ovaries can still function. I want to see that my uterus is healthy.
My 2nd-trimester miscarriage threw my entire world for a loop. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever even slightly suspect that something so terribly wrong would happen. There was absolutely zero indication that anything was even remotely wrong. It was sudden. It was unexpected. And it was awful. My body betrayed me.
I’m ready now for it to prove itself to me once again. To regain my trust. And it can do that by bleeding.
This period will be a first of its own kind to me. It will be the first after my tragedy. It will be the first after my miscarriage. It will come during a time I had originally expected to be pregnant. It will be my first period in five months.
And unlike my very first period at two weeks shy of 13, I will call my mother immediately. I will sing the praises of womanhood. And I will celebrate the return of my body.
Read more of Aela’s writing at Two Moms Make A Right.