I think I was 13 when my periods started. I came on in the middle of the night – waking and taking myself to the toilet. I imagine I stuffed toilet paper in my pants. I certainly didn’t wake my mother or share with her. I didn’t really know what to expect, though I knew that periods involved bleeding. I just got on with it. I don’t remember having any feelings around it. I don’t remember talking to my mum or friends. It wasn’t a bad experience but I wouldn’t describe it as a positive one.
To support a teenager or pre-teen through their menarche I would make sure that my experience had been shared and that they were involved in the journey of my own cycle – both practically and emotionally. I would honour their rite of passage by buying them a gift – a picture / piece of pottery or jewelry – something that signified strength / beauty and opening. I would also look into the possibility of taking them to an environment where women gather together – to a ‘red tent’.