I remember the exact moment I got my first period. I was going to the bathroom when I realized that there were dark spots in my underwear. At first I was confused as to what they were from, until I realized that it was blood. I freaked out and thought that something was wrong with me- that I had some sort of horrible disease. I had seen the video at school about “becoming a woman” and what happens when you get your first period, but I didn’t realize that everything they said in those videos was true. I really was bleeding from my vagina! I called my mom and told her what was happening, and she helped by trying to calm me down and assuring me that nothing was wrong. She told me to change my underwear and grab a pad from under her sink to wear. She explained to me that this is how periods start and that it was completely natural; this is something that would happen every month, and is something that I would get used to.
So, I started using pads when I got my monthly reminder that I was a woman. It wasn’t for a year that I had even considered the thought of using tampons. However, when I joined the swim team all of that changed. At first, I was able to get by without having to swim on my period. I was only in 7th grade, so my coach wouldn’t force me into the water for that week. Eventually my mother intervened and told me that I had to learn how to wear a tampon, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to swim anymore. Her and a college student from her work sat me down and talked to me about all the benefits of using a tampon. At first I wouldn’t listen to anything they were saying. I didn’t want to walk around with something shoved up there! I believed that they were insane to think that I could possibly agree to this. But, as much as I argued, they were able to convince me to at least hear about tampons. They assured me that it wouldn’t hurt and that most girls and women wear tampons as opposed to pads. They showed me the diagrams that come in the tampon box that show how to insert it properly. They told me I might feel a little discomfort at first, especially if I were to hit one of the inner walls of my vagina, but that I would get used to the feeling.
So, I went into the bathroom, tampon in hand, and tried to put it inside myself. The first attempt was unsuccessful; I had gotten too scared and told my mom I just wouldn’t swim anymore. But she encouraged me to try it again. I then went back into the bathroom and tried again. I stuck the tampon up there and pushed the cardboard back and… success! It was in me! I stood up and was able to walk around. Although, it was a little uncomfortable at first, I got used to the feeling and eventually didn’t even realize it was there.
There are now very rare occasions where I won’t use a tampon. I personally feel that they are much cleaner, easier, and less noticeable than pads. Though I can’t say I’m happy to have a period every month, I will say that using tampons makes it a lot easier.