Whether you’ve already started your period or you’re waiting to come on for the first time, it’s a different experience for everyone – and one we love talking about. So we caught up with Made In Chelsea star Georgia Toffolo, who told us all about her first period…

Whether you’ve already started your period or you’re waiting to come on for the first time, it’s a different experience for everyone – and one we love talking about. So we got cosy with Amy Abrahams, a journalist who loves writing about bodies, wellbeing and mental health for glossy mags such as Glamour, who told us all about her first period…

Whether you’ve already started your period or you’re waiting to come on for the first time, it’s a different experience for everyone – and one we love talking about. So we got cosy with Amber Atherton, founder of seriously cool jewellery brand My Flash Trash and ex Made In Chelsea star, who told us all about her first ever period.

It all started with a cake. More specifically, a period cake. When we first saw BuzzFeed’s story about about the treat that 12-year-old Brooke Lee received to mark her first period, there were, er, mixed reactions.

“Brilliant,” piped Lauren. “Eurgggggh,” cringed Lily. And so the battle lines were drawn. With Lauren standing firmly in the ‘this is lovely camp’ and Lily committed to the idea that the whole thing is just plain weird.

Here are our best arguments for and against period cake. Let the best woman win.

Lauren says… period positivity? It’s a piece of cake! 

I’ll be honest – when I saw Brooke Lee’s viral period cake, my first thought was “mm, cake.”

I love cake. I do not love periods, but there’s very little you could ice in sugar on a nice hunk of carbs that wouldn’t have me reaching for knife and a napkin. So I am ultimately pro-cake, for almost any occasion, including the very first time your uterine lining decides to make a grand entrance.

yes-cake

But once you scratch the buttercreamy surface and look at the idea beneath Brooke’s mom’s menses party buffet, I kind of love it even more. Sure, a period cake is a squirmingly public gesture that not everybody would be comfortable with – but isn’t that just because society still tells us periods are something to be whispered about behind closed bathroom doors rather than talked about at family parties? You have to wonder: if period cakes and period parties became a regular, run-of-the-mill thing, how long would it be before that stigma disappeared and we also felt more confident talking about our cycles, carrying tampons to the bathroom instead of stuffing them up our sleeves, and looking after ourselves when PMS hits instead of forcing ourselves to carry on as normal and then ending up a tired, mopey heap?

And it’s not just girls’ confidence levels. I also love, LOVE, the idea that period cakes and parties might encourage boys and men to get comfy talking about menstruation too, right from the off. We could even withhold their piece of the red velvet until they’re able to discuss the topic without cringing or wincing. “No fatherly advice, no slice!” – that could be the motto.

Some might think that the ‘hoorah!’ element of the period party is weird. You could argue that for something that affects 50% of the population, something that millions of women are just casually getting on with at any given time, making a big song and dance about it is patronising, or missing the whole point – it’s natural, not novel. And I get that, I do. But even if the balloons-out approach isn’t right for every girl or every family, we can’t deny it’s refreshingly positive. At betty, we’re all about find ways to make your period nicer. It’s our whole thing. So why not make a first period a lovely, exciting moment rather than a death sentence for your days of clean pants and stress-free swimming sessions? Wouldn’t we all feel a little less anxious about puberty if our parents’ reaction was celebration, not commiseration?

Besides, maybe if we embraced period parties for a few years, we might get to a point where everyone was so positive about periods that we didn’t feel we needed them anymore. It’s a personal choice – but a little fun and joy can’t hurt, right? Because when it comes to feeling confident about our bodies, we should be able to have our cake and eat it too.

Lily says… it’s not a party, it’s just a part of life 

On the surface, I should LOVE this idea. I love cake; I love chocolate cake and carrot cake and if it’s all that’s going, I’ll even take a bite of a fruit cake. And I love celebrations; I can get excited for almost any occasion, cat birthdays, regular human birthdays, 4- month anniversaries, you name it, I’m there in a party hat.

But I draw my line at a period cake. Not a cake made of actual period blood (though let’s be real, it’s probably a matter of time until that happens), but a cake designed exclusively to celebrate a girl’s first period. This is partly because of intelligent, well-reasoned arguments, and partly based on my own personal taste.

no-cake

Periods are a totally natural part of life. Like cutting your toenails or getting a pimple. These aren’t things that I love, but nor are they things I feel embarrassed to talk about – which, in my opinion, is all that periods need to be.

My period utopia world would simply be a place where women don’t slip tampons up their sleeves or men don’t clam up or say ‘that’s gross’ when someone mentions the word period. I want a world where tampons aren’t taxed as a luxury good and everyone has access to sanitary products. Where my brother is just as comfortable as I am buying tampons at the supermarket and my dad doesn’t use the phrase ‘women’s problems’. Periods are a totally natural and normal part of being a woman, so I think they should be treated with the same sort of semi-fascinated interest with which we treat our first pimple. This isn’t a party, it’s just a part of life. And I don’t think that requires cake.

Those are my sensible reasons. But, just a heads up, my argument is about to veer into “just because” territory. The first thing I thought when I saw the cake was: “If my mother invited my friends around for a party and had a cake made with ‘Congrats on your period’ written on it in red icing (!) I would have disowned her.”

I get that it’s thoughtful and sweet but your first period is a personal thing. I liked telling my friends when I was ready. I liked being able to get used to the concept that I now bled once a month in my own time, without everyone already knowing about it. I liked that my mum didn’t make a big deal of it, but rather handed me a tampon and reassured me that it was nothing to be afraid of.

By turning your first period to a party, I think you’re setting young women up to think that this is going to be a fun experience. But it’s not. In reality periods are a 2-9 day event where you often ruin a pair of your pants and you want to eat your body weight in chocolate. And that’s fine. That’s natural. And isn’t that what this whole thing is about?

What do YOU think? Period cakes, yay or noooo? Tweet us at @bettycollective, tell us on Facebook or comment on Instagram!  

Image: Twitter:@autumn1shea

Let’s go back to basics! What actually is a period? Here are some answers you will probably get from your over-sharing aunt and your weird school nurse:

“It’s when you become a woman.” Bleurgh.

“It’s a miracle.” Oh please.

“It’s your body’s way of showing it’s ready for a baby.”

WHAT?! Doesn’t my brain get a say? I CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER WHERE I PUT MY MATHS HOMEWORK.

Breathe. Here’s the actual science.

Period blood isn’t like the blood that comes out of your body when you cut your elbow making an awesome save in football, or graze your knee tripping over a doormat. We call it ‘blood’ because frankly that’s less hassle than referring to it as ‘menstrual fluid and womb lining’, but that would be a bit more accurate.

Over the course of your menstrual cycle, progesterone causes the lining of your uterus to grow thicker with extra blood and tissue, making it extra cosy and snug in case a fertilised egg shows up and wants to become a baby.

TLDR? Here’s the important stuff:
  • Over the course of your menstrual cycle, progesterone makes the lining of your uterus grow thicker with extra blood and tissue, in case a pregnancy occurs.
  • If it doesn’t, as your hormone levels fall, the extra blood and tissue fall away and leave your body as your period. Wooo.
  • Just because your body is technically ready to have a baby, it doesn’t mean you have to be ‘a woman’ anytime soon.

If that hasn’t happened by about the 21st day of your menstrual cycle, your hormones will decide it’s time for their monthly clean-out. Then the lining of your womb comes away and leaves your body through your vagina. The bits of tissue can make things look less like tomato ketchup and more like chutney, if you get our drift….

Part of getting your period is your body showing that it’s able to have a baby. So if you are going to have sex and don’t want a tiny screaming person to take care of nine months later, you need to make sure you always use protection (condoms are also pretty crucial for preventing the spread of gross diseases).

But obviously, just because your body is ready, it doesn’t mean the rest of you is anywhere near. After all, you’ve still got your maths homework to find.

Moral of the story?

Don’t let your over-sharing aunt and your weird school nurse freak you out. But if you’re confused it’s a good idea to talk to an adult you trust, even if it’s just to ask about what products they use.

Also, we give you full permission to roll your eyes at anyone who says your period is a miracle. I mean, it kind of is – but there’s no need to get sappy about it.

Image: Kate Forster

We love hearing first period stories. When we went to the Edinburgh Fringe we asked Vivienne Acheampong, Ayesha Hazarika and Pernilla Holland for the lowdown on their first period, and they were only too happy to give us the bloody details.

We also asked them how they knew their periods were coming and what they craved on their period. Watch ’til the very end for Vivienne’s amazing story about what happened when a tampon got stuck inside her at a party…

 

I was nine when I started my first period. Nine.

I was so young I was still making up dance routines in the playground and absent-mindedly picking my nose in public, but then one day the puberty gods decided I would be plucked from my innocent childhood and made to menstruate.

It was a weekend. I was sat on the upstairs loo while my mum hung out washing on the landing. I wiped after doing my business and there it was on the tissue: blood.

It wasn’t bright red like the normal blood I’d seen when I’d fallen over and grazed my knees. This was darker and definitely not wee, so it had to be my period. I pulled up my knickers, flushed the chain and walked out of the bathroom. “Mum, I think I’ve started my period,” I announced.

My mum did what any normal mum would do when a nine-year-old announces she’s bleeding from her vagina: she freaked out. Dropping the bed sheet she was folding, she hopped from one foot to another, spluttering, “OK… um… right… OK… um”. I shrugged, walked past coolly and reassured: “It’s alright, mum. I know what to do.”

I was too young to have had sex education at school, but luckily my mum had been spotting signs that my period was on the hormonal horizon. While she may have been useless on the day (bless her), she’d been super organised beforehand and prepared me for aunt Flo’s imminent arrival.

She later told me she’d noticed a white discharge appearing in my knickers when she did the washing, which is a sure sign your first period is about to start. (BTW: regular discharge is totally normal and part of a woman’s monthly cycle. It’s not gross and is nothing to be ashamed of. Find out more about it here.)

So when my period came, my mum had already given me “the talk”. She had put sanitary towels in my knicker drawer and performed an extremely detailed demonstration of how to stick a white-winged sanitary pad into the gusset of my age 9-10 knickers.

By the time I went back to school on Monday, I was a period pro. I skipped into the school playground with a packet of Always tucked away inside my backpack and that was that. The world kept turning and nothing really changed.

After a phone call from my mum, the school made a few changes to accommodate the “more mature” girls in my class (which is code for “those with boobs”). We got changed in the toilets for PE instead of the classroom, we could go to the loo in the middle of a lesson and we knew where the secret stash of sanitary products were.

People feel sorry for me for having “grown up so fast”, but in reality I was remarkably unfazed by the arrival of aunt Flo.

Puberty is a slow and steady experience for girls, unlike boys who seem to sprout overnight and get reaaaaally deeeeeep vooooooices all of a sudden. So I was used to “growing up”. I had boobs – not budding nipples but actual breasts that needed a bra – and had discovered my first pubes a year before.

Maybe I was too young to feel that shame and embarrassment that a lot of girls feel when they start their period. I was more interested in cartoons than how I looked, what boys thought of me or what was happening to my body. If anything I’m happy that I started so young, it meant that when my friends started I was a dab hand and could help them out.

Periods aren’t always easy, of course: sometimes you leak blood onto bed sheets or your pants (which is really easy to wash with cold water), the pain can be excruciating (hot water bottles are your friend) and it makes swimming awkward (you can still go, just wear a tampon and change it when you get out – you don’t want a wet string dripping in your undies).

I’d recommend using a period tracker app to log pain, flow and moods, so you know what is normal for your body. That way if you are worried or notice anything unusual speak to an adult you trust. The most powerful thing you can do for your health as a woman is get to know yourself.

But for the most part, you, like the other half of the population who menstruate, will be just fine. And if a nine-year-old can do it, I’m sure you can too.

@Brogan_Driscoll

Whether you’re the kind of person who faints at a papercut or can watch gory hospital shows without nightmares, the monthly drama in your pants can be daunting. For one thing, it can look (and feel) like SO. MUCH. BLOOD.

But it isn’t. Honestly, it isn’t.

The average person will pass between two and eight tablespoons of menstrual fluid during their whole period. So even at their heaviest, that’s still less than half of a small Starbucks cup size – and it could be as little as a squirt of syrup. But let’s not ruin syrup by thinking about that too much.

Will it always be like this?

Just like your favourite hot chocolate order, the heaviness of your period can vary from person to person. The bottom line is: we’re all different, and you’ll find out what’s normal for your body.

It’s common for bleeding to be heavier during the first day or two, then calm down and lighten up towards the end of your period (so better use it as an excuse to claim that last cookie now).

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • On average, you’ll only produce between two and eight tablespoons of menstrual fluid during your whole entire period (it just feels like loads more).
  • It’s common for your period to start heavier and get lighter – both through the week, and as you get older. But everybody is different.
  • If your period is so heavy that it’s making life difficult, have a chat to your GP.

Your first period will often be light, more like a sticky stain or a few reddish-brown spots (more delightful details here), but many people find their periods are heavier in the first few years, while things are settling down. Stress, diet, medication, health conditions and loads of other things can affect the amount you bleed from month to month, and also over the course of your adult life – so don’t panic if you go from a trickle to a stream to a river.

Um, it feels like a waterfall.

Still don’t panic! Remember, it’s so much less than it looks. Periods are tricksters like that.

But if you find you’re bleeding so much that you have to change your pad or tampon every hour, use both a tampon and pad at once, or get up in the middle of the night to change your pad or tampon, it’s known as ‘flooding’ – and it’s not much fun.

So don’t be a hero, tell someone! If heavy periods are making life difficult, your GP should be able to help.

And if anyone tells you to ‘just go with the flow’, you have permission to throw a cushion at them.

Image: Katie Edmunds

The first time I saw a tampon, I was terrified. I was 9 and even though I knew what a period was, I didn’t know exactly how they worked, why they happened, or when I’d get my first one. My friend’s older sister was the person who showed us tampons in action for the first time. She put them in cups of water, and I remember feeling shocked at how massive they got. How was that going to fit up there?

Periods are funny things. For so long I knew I didn’t want to be the last person in my class to get mine, but I was also scared of being first. I had heard all the horror stories about bleeding all over white jeans, but it usually turns out the reality of having your period is a lot less dramatic. Usually.

However, the day of my first period was so weird that every period after that felt easy.

My auntie is a hairdresser, and she had taken me out for the day to a big hairdressing show (it’s like modelling, but with hair) in Alexandra Palace. We went to the loo, and just as I noticed that the inside of my pants weren’t as white as they were in the morning, a fight broke out between two of the girls in the bathroom. Suddenly one of them punched a mirror and it smashed everywhere, I popped my head out to see what was going on, and my Auntie jumped in the cubicle with me to keep me safe.

In case you were wondering: there’s no good time to tell your Auntie you’ve started your period when you’ve both been standing in a cramped loo, listening to girls argue about if one had kissed the other’s boyfriend.

It took 10 minutes and the two girls getting carted out by security before I was brave enough to tell her about my period, and she laughed so much at what bad timing it was that I ended up laughing too. She went out and bought me a pad from those vending machines in ladies’ loos, gave me a paracetamol, and we got the train back to my parents’ house while I asked her at every single train stop if I had leaked blood through my jeans. I hadn’t.

Bleeding every month might sometimes be painful, annoying and inconvenient, but these days, I try to look on the bright side of having my period. Like, I might have spent 30 minutes trying to get a tampon in the first time, but when I did I felt more proud of myself than I ever had in my life. Once I got over feeling super embarrassed buying my own pads at the supermarket, I started to find it funny how awkward I could make boys at the checkouts get.

And yeah, I’ve had a few spillages and accidents – everyone has – but when my friend stepped on broken glass, I was really good at getting the blood out of his socks (no soap, lots of cold water, SCRUB).

I’m not embarrassed about my period anymore, which helps, but most of my early embarrassment about my period was to do with my relationship with boys – I had so many fears, and no one was giving me any answers.

So, to be clear: no, a boy can’t mysteriously tell that you’re on your period when you sit next to him, or talk to him, or kiss him. No, you don’t smell bad. No, there’s nothing unclean or dirty about you, and no, your period doesn’t make you any ‘different’ from normal. You might feel uncomfortable or in pain, but it’s the same as having a headache or a sore foot – tell people why you don’t feel great if you want, but it’s ok to keep it to yourself too.

One of the most important lessons I learnt from starting my period was learning to respect my body and the way it works. My body and all the things it does is amazing, and the older I get, the cooler it feels. I’ve also learnt that my body belongs to me. I might not be in charge of it all the time, and I might not be able to control getting my period at an annoying time like before a camping trip or when I know I’m wearing a lot of white, but I also know that I’ll always be ok. Even the most painful of my periods have always come to an end, and most of the time I forget I’m even having one.

Anything you can do when you’re not on your period, you can do when you are – you’ll just feel a bit more proud of yourself for doing it. Oh, and no boy is worth punching a mirror for. That’s just common sense.

@bridgetminamore

Image: Katie Edmunds

FOMO is hard.

It’s one of those things that your parents won’t always get – especially when it comes to things like piercings, parties and that questionable fashion trend that sweeps through your school overnight – but it’s absolutely a valid feeling. I am totally with you.

What makes an intense case of FOMO even worse though, is when it’s related to something that you’re not even entirely sure about.

Hellooooo, periods.

Or should I say: where the hell are you, period? When you’re sat there twiddling your thumbs waiting for your first period and it feels like all of your friends are well on their way to becoming pros in the menstrual cycle business, you can get a bit… impatient.

Ok, so there’s no definitive formula to knowing when you’ll start your period. The truth is, being a bit on the early side or a tad late to the party is no big deal. Like, at all. We promise.

Admittedly though, I found that being the last of my mates to start mine came with a few specific side effects…

Recognise any of these?

You convince yourself that every bad mood is PMS

PMS is one of those things that gets thrown around in conversation quite a lot. A bit too much if you ask me. But it happens. I actually think I had a better understanding of what PMS was before I fully got the whole bleeding-from-your-vagina thing.

So when it got to the point when my closest girl friends had started their journey down the period path and started justifying every mood swing as PMS, I, of course, decided to follow suit. Because hey, sometimes you just want to be able to relate to your mate’s spontaneous outburst of Hulk-like fury over dropping their last square of Dairy Milk.

You embrace the whole ‘watch and learn’ thing

There are positives to being last, you guys. Honest! The biggest one is that you get to witness IRL the things your friends are experiencing and well, learn from them.

Let’s face it, there are lots of things that we’d rather chat to our carefully-selected friends about instead of an actual grown-up human. And as helpful and well intentioned I’m sure the older women in your life are, sometimes you just want to be able to ask whether or not your BFF managed to get her tampon in on the first try – without fear of an awkward conversation and attempted demonstration from Aunty Alison.

You worry you won’t sync with your mates

This is at the core of that severe case of FOMO we were just talking about earlier.

For right or wrong, my biggest and most irrational worry was that at our next sleepover all of my friends’ periods would have suddenly synced and then someone would make a new group chat without me where they’d all talk about top secret period stuff. Crazy, I know.

Don’t worry, the secret group chat never happened. It’s pretty much impossible for periods (or lack of) to come between a group of girls. It’s one of the things that really unites women, actually.

Turns out none of our cycles ever synced, but we still enjoyed adding period woes to our regular lunchtime moaning session.

You end up being a bit over-prepared

You know that old saying about not tempting fate? Well I was pretty much willing Mother Nature to come at me. I thought that if I carried a few tampons and pads around with me, my body would catch on and decide to play along.

It didn’t.

But on the plus side my friends were always super grateful when they were ever caught off-guard and I had supplies at the ready.

You get caught practicing your cramp face

Ok this one might just be me. But in an attempt to get out of cross-country in the torrential rain, I thought I’d pretend to be on my period. A period that I hadn’t started yet. And in preparation, I thought I’d better practice and get this cramp thing down.

So I spent a few minutes of my lunch testing various versions of my ‘cramp face’. Obviously, someone walked into the loos mid-rehearsal, which was mega awkward.

BUT when I explained that I was having really bad period cramps she shrugged and proceeded to make her way over to a cubicle. ‘Score!’ I thought, ‘I must pursue a career in acting straight away!’ 

Unfortunately my performance wasn’t quite convincing enough to get me out of a lengthy jog in the rain. But still, at least that’s one case of FOMO I didn’t have to worry about.

@JazKopotsha

Image: Katie Edmunds

A while before I started my period for the very first time, my best friend, Amy*, came round. We were 12 and spent the evening on my bed messing around on my laptop (creating Piczo websites, trawling YouTube, and being stupid on Omegle, probably).

We were there for hours until my mum knocked on my bedroom door to say that Amy’s mum was here to pick her up. So we got up. Well, I did. Amy kind of shuffled a bit and looked at me, her eyes boring into my skull like she was attempting telepathy.

“You alright?” I asked.

“Um…” she started, going redder by the second. “I spilt something on the sheets.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that!” I said with a wave of my hand. “Mum will just wash them.”

I was a very obnoxious and assuming child, back then.

Amy reluctantly moved to reveal what she’d spilt. EVERY DROP OF BLOOD IN HER BODY, I thought. For on the sheets was a very large splodge of red. Bright red. Glistening. Glowing. Like it was its own being.

That’s what my mind saw, anyway. I’d never seen anything like it.

“I’m so sorry,” Amy said, lip quivering. “I only started this week and I was embarrassed to tell you and change my pad.”

“It’s ok! Oh God! It’s so ok! Don’t worry! It’s fine! We’ll sort it!!!” I said, rather desperately.

PERIOD, I thought. OF COURSE IT’S HER PERIOD. And then, OH GOD IS THAT WHAT IT’S LIKE OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD.

It WAS fine, obviously. Our mums laughed and soothed Amy, who did have a panicky cry, and the blood came out in one wash.

When I started my period at 13, Amy’s Accident was all I could think about. But by the time I hit 22, last year, I thought I was pretty chilled with the whole period thing. Blood in my knickers? They’ll wash! Blood on my sheets? Whatever. Blood on my hands when I wipe too casually? Pfft.

Blood on my boyfriend’s parents’ spare bed sheets?

Oh.

Oh, GOD.

“WHAT?!” My boyfriend said as he woke with a start at my frantic, loud whispering.

“I’ve got blood on the sheets. LOOK, I’VE GOT MY BLOODY BLOOD ON THE SHEETS,” I said, gesturing wildly to the deep red blood smack bang in the middle of the pristine white sheets.

“It’s ok! Oh God! It’s so ok! Don’t worry! It’s fine! We’ll sort it!!!”

I’d heard that before.

I was so embarrassed, and I hardly EVER get embarrassed. I work for a charity where we talk about weird, embarrassing body stuff every day. This was my jam. The splodge on the sheets was also my jam.

Was it because I was 22 and should be able to stop this? I felt like I’d wet myself. Was it because I was at MY BOYFRIEND’S PARENTS’ HOUSE? Probably, yes. That too.

My boyfriend stripped the sheets and ran downstairs with them straight away to wash, along with my knickers and pyjama bottoms. But the blood had gone through to the mattress. Nightmare. We had no choice but to have a ‘quiet word’ with his mum. I say ‘we’ but I was hiding in the bathroom.

By the time I came out and tiptoed back into the spare room, my boyfriend was sitting there very smugly, an old rag in one hand and the other pointing at the now clean mattress.

“See! Dabbed it with cold water! All gone! Sorted!” He said, opening his arms for a comforting hug. He passed me his pyjama bottoms to wear and we went downstairs after remaking the bed with clean sheets. Nothing more was said. His mum was pokerfaced. Nothing and no one gave the game away.

Well, apart from the fact I was now wearing my boyfriend’s pyjama bottoms and was clutching a hot water bottle to my screaming stomach…

Look, what I’m saying is that your period can always be a pain in the bum, no matter how old you are, where you are, what you’re doing, and how good your relationship is with it. You can be the best of friends and then BAM, it screws you over.

But you can cope with it, and so will everyone else. Embarrassing tales will turn into funny ones and you’ll soon realise that everything is natural and normal. Embrace your splodges. This is your jam.

*Name has been changed

@louisejonesetc

Next Tuesday!

Just kidding. If only things were that simple.

The truth is, your first period can be a bit like a surprise party. There are clues that something is going on… a few of your friends seem to know something you don’t… maybe your mum is being coy, you have a feeling deep in your stomach that you can’t identify, or you want to stuff your face with cake.

And there are times when you are 100% sure it’s about to happen… only to find no one is actually hiding behind the sofa at all.

Argh.

So if not next Tuesday, when?

The average age for your first period is between 11 and 13 – though some people get their period as young as eight, others will be more like 16. And either way, it’s all totally fine. It just depends on your body and how quickly it develops.

If you find you’re early to the party, don’t worry, it just gives you extra time to get the hang of things. And if you’re running a little behind, that’s not a big deal either. You’ve heard the term ‘fashionably late’, right?

So it’s not a race – it’s a waiting game?

Well, yes. But not everyone likes surprises, and helpfully there are signs to look out for that your period is on its way (no, not a text).

Usually your breasts will begin growing first. Those little bumps that might have formed under your nipples are breast buds, and periods generally show up around two years after those bad boys arrive on the scene

TL;DR? Here’s the important stuff:
  • The average age for your first period is between 11 and 13, but it could be as young as eight or as late as 16.
  • Clues that your period might be on its way include breasts growing, discharge in your pants and body hair – but everyone is different.
  • Starting a little later is no big drama, but you can chat to your GP if you are worried.

And about a year after your boobs begin to grow, you might find that you start producing discharge. This is your body’s way of letting you know that things in your uterus are kicking into gear, and most people find that their periods arrive between six months to a year after this.

During this time you might also notice armpit hair and pubic hair making an appearance – another little clue that periods are incoming. But remember, everybody’s body is different. Did we mention that already?

Is there anyone that can tell me?

You can try a psychic if that’s your thing… but it’s probably easier to talk to your mum (or sister or auntie) about when they got their period, if you can. It’s pretty likely you’ll get your period around the same time she got hers.

And apart from that…

Just try to be patient. If you get to 16 and you haven’t had your first period yet, it might be a good idea to chat to your GP about what might be holding things up. But whether you get your first period at eight or 18, it’s nothing to freak out about.

And like any other surprise party, we say there should probably be cake.