While getting your period might feel like you’re being personally victimized by your own body, it is a struggle shared by about half of the human population, which is plenty of misery to keep you company. We’ve all had those times when our period does the unexpected—it comes early, it’s heavier than our on-hand supplies can handle, it ruins our favorite pair of pants (and, in turn, our day). During these times when it feels like you’re in a one-on-one battle with your menstrual cycle, having some help can do wonders. Below, read four stories of when women banded together and supported each other during that time of the month:
“I was in high school, and this girl who I knew through other people (but wasn’t necessarily friends with) was walking in front of me on our way to our own classes. And that’s when I saw it. She was wearing light wash jeans and just under her butt was that notorious little brown-red spot that has the potential to ruin a day. But we were in high school so it had a lot more potential for time ruined than just a day. I sped up to her and started making some quick chit chat ‘How’ve you been? Life, right? Listen, we need to go to the bathroom, you just got your period.’ She went red and looked like she was going to cry. I put my hand on her shoulder and told her we could fix it. We went to the bathroom, she did what she needed to do in the stall and I loaned her my sweatshirt for pants covering purposes for the rest of the day. She brought it back the next day with a box of Oreos.” – Sarah K.
“In middle school one of my good friends got her period during class and had to shuffle around the back of the class because she was worried that she’d already bled through her shorts. She had, but only just a little, but it was middle school so she was mortified. To add insult to injury, the nurse sent her back to class in her gym shorts, which was a dead giveaway. I didn’t want her to feel alone so I asked to be excused, threw my gym shorts on and I just remember her looking so happy and relieved.” – Alicia W.
“I used to be a camp counselor for a K through 12 summer camp. My bunk usually consisted of early middle school aged girls. There was one year when I had this super shy girl named Tiffany, who was super quiet and sweet. One day Tiffany was alone in the bunk when everyone should have been on the water. I was afraid she’d been bullied, but it turns out she’d just gotten her period… for the very first time. So I had to give this little girl a very womanly talk after only having known her for, like, five weeks. I took her to the bathroom, gave her a panty liner and tried to explain how a tampon works. I might not have done the best job explaining how things work, but my foolery had its own helpful effect because every time I fumbled for a different word for ‘insert’ or puffed up my cheeks out for being out of my depth she would laugh and that helped us both.” – Chelsea P.
“I was the last one of my friends to get my period, and it happened at a big slumber party. My parents were out of town and the friend who was hosting had two dads, so she was kind of self taught in the ways of her own womanhood. I told them that I thought I’d just gotten my period and they all jumped in to action. The host friend pulled out her American Girl book that basically explained female puberty, one friend explained the difference between all of the products, another friend showed me on a doll how to put in a tampon, and another friend declared we were blood-sisters because she had gotten her period the day before. I don’t think anyone has ever had a sweeter first period experience than I had.” – Hayden A.