I am a late bloomer in all aspects of life, and my first period was no different. It arrived a couple of months prior to my 13th birthday, and it felt (at the time) like everyone I knew in middle school already had gotten theirs—except for my best friend Beth. Born just a week apart, we had a lot in common, but I was sort of relieved that this major milestone was included.
I’d read that seminal tome, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” (the movie version is coming soon and I’ll be seeing it on opening day, trust), and I related to Margaret and her friend Nancy. At least they had each other in a world of seventh grade menstruators while Beth and I were oarsmans in each other’s canoes, so to speak. She had already kissed a boy at a bat mitzvah afterparty and I had not, so there was a lot of late bloomer fodder for the seventh-grade chapter of my memoir.
Because I had read every Judy Blume book and had a very new age mother, I knew what to expect, so luckily, being blindsided wasn’t a thing for me when it came to menstruation—as it was for our resident women’s health specialist, Navya Mysore MD.
When it finally happened, i.e., my period finally arrived, I was relieved that I wouldn’t be the only seventh-grade girl who didn’t yet have her period (though I’m sure that wasn’t actually the case).
As is on brand for me, I was prepared for my period to arrive a full year ahead. I’d actually “sent away” (meaning, I’d mail ordered, pre-internet) for a period kit that, come to think of it, was a prehistoric, less sophisticated version of the LOLA First Period Kit. The LOLA iteration comes with pads, liners, tampons, stickers, a digital guide with expert tips and advice valued at $10, plus a $5 credit on your next LOLA purchase. The kit is the perfect thing to have on hand for tweens and teens and it gives them everything they need for that first month while providing important guidance should they need it. It makes a great gift for a friend, daughter, niece or cousin.
The wild thing? Beth got hers on the exact same day. She called to tell me her news within hours of my discovering my menstruation milestone. Born a week apart, we shared a birth week, Gemini astrology and now, we’d always have the same first period day. Because I have an almost uncanny ability to recall dates, I actually remember this event happened on March 5.
What I’ll also never forget? My new-age mother, who was into astrology, homeopathy, a no-sugar, no red-meat lifestyle in the 80s, told my father and my older brother that my period had started, making for awkward dinner conversation that night at the table. When you’re 12, absolutely everything was embarrassing and I remember feeling positively mortified that she’d told them and, even worse, had told them I knew she’d told them. TBH, though I’m now in my 40s, I remember the embarrassment of that moment today. But I forgive her. She was excited to share the news and I found simply existing super cringe at that time to the point where I’d have my dad drop me off blocks from school so as not to be seen with parents.
It’s me, hi. I’m the problem, it's me.
Anyway. In the next couple of months, we had our own bat mitzvahs as freshly minted “women,” and in a couple of years, I’d have my own first kiss and a series of firsts that would be sprinkled across the next few decades. Ever the late bloomer, they’re still happening: I got engaged for the first time a few months ago. One of my most important life lessons? Other people’s schedule is not my schedule. Things happen when they’re supposed to. I’ve learned to relax and accept that, though it took some work.