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​​It is a common belief that you will never forget your first period, and in my experience, this is completely true.

Two to three times a year my mom and I would visit my mom’s side of her family in Chicago for three or four days at a time. On the last day of one of these visits at around 11 or 12 years old, I remember waking up to see that there was blood on my underwear. As any young girl would react, I hid this from my mom, and immediately rummaged around her toiletry bag to find any period products. To my luck, I found a rather large overnight pad, then proceeded to unwrap and slowly put the pieces together as to how I was to place it in my underwear.

The rather unfortunate and even humorous part of the day and story begins with the fact that before my mom and I would head to the airport in the late afternoon/early nighttime, I was set to go with my cousin and her two young sons to a waterpark for young children. However, as someone who had never had their period up until this day, I was unaware, to my knowledge, that pads and water are mortal enemies. It is the same reason why there are regular diapers and swim diapers for babies, however, this remains as dramatic irony as the story unfolds between you and my younger self.

As the day continued, I got into my cousin’s car, battling my feelings of extreme discomfort and having to carry myself in a happy manner around my younger second-cousins. I decided to wear a tank top and running shorts, rather than a swimsuit, for the sake of comfort. As we get into the water park, I am holding my second-cousins hands and am playing with them. Since I am in the moment and getting caught up, I am forgetting that I have an overnight pad and proceed to walking through a fountain feature. While we moved to a dryer part of the water park, I felt the pad in my pants expanding at a rather alarming rate, so much so that the pad could no longer take the pressure of the rapidly expanding beads within the pad and it ripped open. I could feel little beads falling down my leg and sitting in my pants, giving me a feeling of discomfort comparable to the feeling of ice falling down your shirt. I was frozen, yet I wanted to move and panic so badly. I felt as though I was an eight month old baby whose diaper accidentally got wet and was lugging around an eight thousand pound diaper strapped onto my rear end. And if you were wondering — I have yet to look at overnight pads the same way since!!