Most of the blog entries I put on here are not personal or have only a very light personal touch to them. This one is going to be personal.
Judy Blume is an exceptional author who happened to have been in Niagara on the Lake when I lived there (yes, I’m American although I came to find out thanks to ancestry.com that I do have biological Canadian relatives) signing books. Prior to Are You There God It’s Me Margaret? there had been no books for girls about preparing for their periods and getting their periods. Sure there were videos. In fact, Disney had his staff make a video about getting your period because he had two daughters; one of whom was adopted. Although the video is laughable as it states things like “don’t complain. Nobody likes a complainer. Take some pain reliever and do some stretches.” Which, for most girls and women work, but some women have periods so bad it can put them on disability. The instructional documentary type videos were out there, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but there had yet to be a character in a book that preteen and teen girls could relate to.
I remember my adoptive mum bought me Judy’s book when I was ten. I read it and thought “this is really weird”. I was the least bit excited ever to get my period and grow boobs. I used to sleep on my stomach thinking that the weight between my chest and the bed would prevent anything from growing, and yes I am laughing. It didn’t work. Trust me it didn’t work at all. If the milk ever runs dry in say Idaho, I think I’d be able to feed every Idahoan baby. Is that what they’re called Idahoan?
My one friend, who I am still friends with, got her period when she was ten. It was fifth grade and I remember the fifth grade wing of my middle school was upstairs. (Off topic fifth grade was hands down the best grade of my K-12th grade experience, and I can still remember making this gigantic map of Canada, and I went to school in central New York). We watched a video, just us girls, on puberty for girls.
Soon after I was at my friend’s house. I remember being upstairs in her bedroom, it was still daytime and it was a sunny day, and her mum came in and there was a conversation my friend started about “the period video”. I asked my friend’s mum, “when do you get your period?” or maybe she had just said it without me asking,
girls, although not always, typically get their periods when their mothers do.
I knew this meant biological mothers. Since I am a discriminated closed adoptee, “thanks” to the evil bitches of Catholic Family Center and the propaganda crap they told, I did not have my biological family medical history. Nor can closed adoptees get updated bio family medical history unless they find their original families.
So for the next few years I had terrible angst that interferred with being in the now, whether I was at Girl Scouts, basketball (one of the few sports I enjoyed playing), or Disney World. This went on through all of middle school along with the bullying.
It’s something those who aren’t adopted don’t have to think about. My friend Samantha, for example, a different friend, is not adopted. She knew the age to expect her first period, and even if it didn’t come say at that age she had more of a likelihood of it doing so, and at least had an age to focus on.
I would very much like to get insight from other women and teenage girls who are adoptees without biological family medical information to ask them if they were as worried as I was about when their periods would come. It was a huge wake up call to me not having my biological family medical information. I was worried not constantly, but still too often that I would be walking around and not know I was bleeding and it was all over the back of my pants. Sure, that would happen to any girl or women, adopted or not, and it does happen, but I just wish I had been given an age of when to probably expect it. I think there needs to be a novel about that too. It would have relieved an immense amount of anxiety off of my little middle school shoulders. I remember being thirteen at Disney World. I had a good time, although I was partially grumpy during that vacation/holiday (I remember Goofy annoying me, but then I lightened up) and part of it was because I was fearful that my trip was going to be ruined by getting my period.
It came when I was 14 and a half exactly, and I remember my adoptive mum yelling at me. The second month we were back at Disney World and I got it and ended up bleeding on Splash Mountain which made a mum unexpectedly give her young daughters a lesson in the human body of girls and what they can expect, and she was very easy going about it. So then we bought some pads and enjoyed the rest of the day at the happiest place in the world,
or at least as happy as you can make it being a teenager whose bleeding with slight cramps.