I am Dr.Sushma M N from Bengaluru.

I was studying seventh standard and was 11 yrs old when I attained my menarche. It was a usual Sunday morning and I was busy with my drawing assignment. I heard a knock at the door and when I rushed to open it my mother noticed 2 red spots on the backside of my yellow frock. She and my sister had a brief talk and summoned me to come back and check those stains to confirm if it were from my first period.

Though I was educated about menstruation as early as in my 5th standard and was well aware that it would happen to me one day, I don’t know why I burst into tears that day. May be I was scared that it would grab too much of attention. I was given a quick hot water bath, made to wear warm clothes and was forced to tie a cloth tightly around my abdomen which I hated. I remained absent from school for 6 days. I was made to follow a strict diet of hot and spicy pepper rice with ghee and sweets made of black sesame and jaggery. I was not allowed to step down my bed and also usage of cold water for anything was totally restricted. Same regimen was followed for 5 days straight and probably on the 6th day some rituals were performed by a seer. I was reluctant not to wear saree for a small event later that day, instead wore a lehenga and 5 of the married ladies were invited for the age old customs and traditions to be followed. And the next Monday I was back to school again only to find out that I had loads of class works to be completed! So this was the story of my first period. Thank you! #StoryOfMyFirstPeriod

Blogged by Dr. Sushma MN, Period Fellow 2018

Previously Sukhibhava Foundation. Improving gender equity, health and wellbeing of marginalised menstruators across India