My father took my first period journey with me

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Posted May 15, 2017 from Uganda
Teaching the girls how to use Ecopads
A social worker from Ecopads was demonstrating to the girls how to use the Ecopads. She showed them how the pad is attached to the panty.
Distributing the ecopads to the girls
Distributing the ecopads to the girls : We distributed the pads to the girls who had started their periods and left some with the head teacher of the school. (1/2)

I remember at age 11 one of the girls in my class had her dress stained in class and our classmates made fun of her. I was so sad that when my dad picked us up i told him what happened.

The next day he called me to the sitting room and i thought i was in some kind of trouble. But he explained to me that i was about to start my menstral periods soon and that i shouldnt be scared. He told me that it was a phase that every girl has to go through but it was nothing to be ashamed of.

He told me when it happens i have to be very careful and very very clean and not hang around boys too much because if a boy touched me, i would get pregnant.

I waited anxiously for my periods that year but nothing happened. Even the next year nothing happened. I felt bad because all my friends had started their periods and they kept referring to me as a child, this made me more angry.

I remember when i was going to Senior one at age 13 i asked my mum to buy me pads just incase i started my periods. The whole term nothing happened and i was extremely sad. When i went back home for holidays my parents wanted to know if the periods had started and i told them they hadnt started.

The long awaited day finally came two weeks into my holiday. I woke up and my panty was stained. I remember i smiled endlessly and run to my mum with so much joy. I bles for two days and was anxiously waiting for the next month.

When i went back to school, the whole term nothing happened. When my mum picked me up from school she asked me and i told her that the periods never came back. Being a mixed school alot run through her mind.

On the way home we passed by a clinic and i was asked for a urine sample and i rememeber the doctor pressing my stomach. He then explained to my mum that all was well. I obviously didnt know what was happening.

When we got home i overheard her explaining to my dad what the doctor had said.

From that time i have never had regular periods. I keep telling my friends that my periods have a mind of its own.

My first period experience was a positive one but not all girls are as lucky as I was. Today many girls are not allowed to talk about their periods and as a result they are ashamed to be in school when they are menstruating. I have talked to quite a number of girls in rural schools where I work and I have learnt that many of them cannot afford a packet of pads and their parents are not bothered. Many of the girls use banana leaves or a piece of cloth when they are in their periods. Many of them get infections because they don’t know what to do when they are in their periods and because they are hiding from everyone including family members.

These stories touched my heart so I contacted a group of friends and we organized some pads and clothes for a primary school in Seeta Namanoga and we talked to the girls about periods, what they should expect when they are in their periods and hygiene. The girls in this school have both parents but the community is poverty stricken that the children are not sure if they will find a meal at home so asking for a pad is impossible because it is taken as a luxury. Many of their stories made my heart bleed because I had my father walk with me through my period journey and they don’t have anyone to explain to them what to expect. I always encourage men to have good relationships with their daughters so that they feel loved and protected and don’t fall prey to men who want to take advantage of them.

I am speaking out about periods and girls who feel lost and violated when they are in their periods. Stand with me to talk about menstruation. Stand with us to make sure that girls stay in school.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to My First Period

How to Get Involved

Support us to ensure that girls stay in school. Promote the girl education by ensuring that the girl child has sanitary towels.

Comments 7

Log in or register to post comments
bridggyella
May 15, 2017
May 15, 2017

Dear Anita,

such an inspiring story. You are doing an amazing job helping these young ladies stay proud of their womanhood. Keep the good work.

Thank you for sharing.

I cant wait to read more inspiring stories from you.

Cheers!

Bridggyella

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
May 18, 2017
May 18, 2017

Thank you so much bridggyella for your kind words. I will surely keep you posted on the stories of these young women. It has not and it is not easy for them because they have no one to confide in and so they feel so alone. And what is so hurting is that they cannot confide in each other and instead make fun of each other when ever one of them has stained themselves and this makes them lose their self esteem.

Thanks again my dear sister

maeann
May 18, 2017
May 18, 2017

Hi Anita, as I read your stories, I remember my childhood time when I had my first period at the age of 10 years old.  Having period is a blessing because some woman don't have a regular period.

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
May 18, 2017
May 18, 2017

Thanks Maeann Yes it is a blessing and we are trying to teach young girls that it is not a curse. Thanks again my sister for sharing your story.

Stay blessed

Sherna Alexander Benjamin
May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017

Dear Anita,

I enjoyed reading your story it was so inspiring filled with hope and also anxiety as I read every word to see when you would have your period :-) It is also a blessing that you are now working with young girls to understand about their period and not be ashamed of it. It is a natural process for women and we must own it and walk confidently while we are experiencing it and after. 

Keep working, striving and pushing for change of conditioned social norms about the period.

Beth Lacey
May 03, 2018
May 03, 2018

A great story- you are doing great work.
Beth

Bim Adegbite
May 07, 2018
May 07, 2018

I liked that your Father was involved in this conversation with you. Mostly it's Mother's that guide young girls through this process and in some cases as you rightly pointed out girls are just left to find out themselves and wade through conflicting and confusing personal stories feeling it's a thing of shame. I'm glad you are filling the gap in your community and girls can walk tall knowing it's a biological rite of passage that we women should hold dear. Thanks for sharing.