Menstrual Experience from Italy

Let’s embrace our periods,  by Zazie Piva, Italy

When I replay the arrival of my menarche in my mind, I describe it as normal and uneventful. One
day in late spring, right around my twelfth birthday, I discovered a red stain in my underpants. I called
my mum into the bathroom to show her. I don’t remember her congratulating me or making a big
deal out of it, like you see in Hollywood movies, but she simply pulled out a pad and brought me a
clean pair of underwear. I don’t recall telling my dad as I probably assumed my mother would.
Looking back, was I withholding this information because I was ashamed I had become a signorina
(‘little lady’), or was it because there was nothing to tell? A couple of my friends had already gotten
their period in elementary school and lots of my peers were going through it at the same time as me,
so I felt in the know about what to do. Plus, since my first period had arrived at the end of the school
year, I had all summer to practice putting on pads and preventing spotting to show up on my pants.
While some of the girls in my class would use their period as an excuse to get out of P. E., I have
never let it get in the way of horse-back riding, jogging or swimming. I owe this to my mother, who
has always encouraged me to do sports while menstruating, explaining to me that for her working out eased the pain as if she could sweat it out. Although