I genuinely don’t remember my own Menarche – I have tried really hard to picture or pinpoint it, but I have no idea. Whenever it was it can’t have been recognised, let alone celebrated. In a house of 4 women and me the youngest I think I probably knew where the tampax was kept and just got on with it. A very practical, pragmatic no fuss family.
On the other hand, I very clearly remember my sisters. We had one family bathroom and everyone was in and out of there. I was brushing my teeth and my sister, who must have been about 12 was going to the loo. She pulled down her knickers and there must have been something in her manner that made me look to see her looking at a dark reddish stain. I don’t remember what she said, but there was some embarrassment and annoyance that I was there and then some brushing aside – it’s not a big deal.
As I remember nothing of my menarche I don’t know how I felt at the time. But my sense is that it was a slightly embarrassing thing that needed getting on with without fuss. If only I knew then what I know now and what I hope to tell my daughters… that it is a powerful force of femininity that can hold your rhythms and support your spirituality and connections – not without work though. I am still learning every cycle, piecing it together. I hope to celebrate the practical purpose and learning you can gain from your menstrual cycle with my girls, teach them how to chart and celebrate it as a gift