BY SYLVIA FREEDMAN
Do you know a young lass on the cusp of womanhood?
Well have we got a treat for you. And her. To celebrate the milestone event of her first period, you can now have a party to celebrate, featuring some very specific merchandise.
A company that goes by the subtly chic name of ‘Menarche Parties R’Us’ has developed a line of party supplies specially designed for the shindig you have (what? you didn’t have one?) in honour of your very first period.
Their fine selection of merchandise includes Girlhood to Womanhood Partyware decorated with inspirational words such as ‘self-respect’, ‘abstinence’ and ‘puberty rocks!’ (Doesn’t it? Doesn’t it just?)
Being mentally prepared for puberty is important, on that we can agree.
Menarche Parties R’Us know this all too well and so have developed a greeting card with a fun checklist called ‘Puberty Symptoms’ inside, where recipients can excitedly tick the boxes off as they progress. Celebratory symptoms include: Acne. Rapid foot growth. Wider hips. Weight gain. Overactive sweat glands. (Aw, remember that? We’re getting teary.)
Also available is a twist on the old crowd favourite, ‘Pin the Ovaries on the Uterus’. Or if the whole shemozzle is all too overwhelming, mums can simply purchase the ‘Menarche Party Package’, which includes step-by-step Menarche Party Instructions so as to “make her transition special”.
It was during an editorial meeting here at the Mamamia office that the topic of Period Parties arose, swiftly followed by shrieks of laughter and assorted exclamations of “Seriously?” and “How bizarre!”
Desperately trying to conceal my secret, I threw in a nervous and forced “Yeah… so weird….” and attempted to come up with some kind of conversational diversion.
But despite my forced casual laughter, my face clearly had “Period Party Victim” written all over it.
Yes, it’s true. My mum threw me a Period Party. I take some pride in the fact that there was no tasteless partyware or rounds of Menstrual Trivia.
But it still happened.
When my mum first suggested to me that my period should not only become public knowledge but also be the cause of some kind of celebratory social event, I felt nauseated. I failed to understand how my loving mother was finding joy in my pain. Because getting your first period is bittersweet.
On the one hand, you’ve arrived. You’re part of the glorious Aunt Flo Sisterhood. You’re an empowered woman. It feels fantastic.
BUT on the other hand, there’s blood coming out of your vagina! You suddenly have to grapple with the mechanics of all sorts of foreign sanitary devices, poke around in places you never knew you had and if you’re me, discover that you’ve got three holes, not two. (And that isn’t easy to get your head around.)
Despite my initial reservations, my Period Party was a sophisticated affair. It wasn’t even a party by my definition. Three of my ‘fairy godmothers’, my mum and I had a beautiful dinner at my favourite restaurant. We all got dolled up and drank champagne and I was showered with flowers and gifts. We talked about girlie stuff and I felt incredibly special as the strongest women in my life welcomed me into my adult femininity. That night, I wore my Pad with pride and together, we sparkled.
Sylvia Freedman is a full-time uni student and intern at Mamamia. She has worked in a myriad of bars, completed two years of graphic design and is currently studying communications.
What was the experience of getting your first period like? Do you think a girl’s first period should be a celebration? Have you had a Period Party or thrown one yourself?