As if being the biggest, tallest fifth grader with a full on “grown up lady bra” (not the soft, training kind) wasn’t enough, I also started my period. It literally came the day before I was leaving for science camp – a week long outdoor adventure in a nearby national park with the entire class, which I already had anxiety about, as I was never the outdoorsy type. Now that I had gotten my period for the very first time, I decided I was definitely not going.
But after confiding in a family friend who said she had gotten her period two years before (yep, at 9 years old), I decided I’d at least have an ally who I could confide in if any issues arose, so I’d simply need to go prepared. I couldn’t possibly let my period fear prevent me from going to potentially one of the best field trips ever. So I did what any eleven year old girl would do: I stuffed a fast food paper bag full of pads and then stuffed the bag into my red backpack. I didn’t realize the backpack was see through until I was walking out of the door the next morning, on my way to school, and it was too late to find another bag for the pads, so there it was, a giant logo telling the world what I ate for dinner the night before showing through the backpack full of pads. My mom suggested I put them into my suitcase, but I needed to be able to carry the backpack everywhere just in case, so naturally that was a better option. Besides, if anyone found out I had pads in there I would be mortified, so best to keep the evidence close at all times.
I thought I was prepared to handle my period, but I certainly wasn’t ready to handle the discomfort and inconvenience it came with. I had seen my mom’s pads underneath the bathroom sink for years so I was familiar with what they looked like, but nothing could prepare me for what they felt like in my eleven year old underwear, let alone while trekking through rain and mud with a limited amount of opportunity to use the bathroom everyday for a week, thanks to science camp.
Aside from the cramps and utter fear of anyone finding out that I had gotten my period, I was surprised to find that pads only came in a couple of different sizes – one for light days, which seemed way too thin to assist someone with a first time period, and one so big it felt like an adult diaper. Not really knowing which I would need, I went with the big ones just so be safe.
Fast forward to today and it’s amazing to see entire aisles in stores stocked with different feminine care options, including the latest game changing innovation from Always: different size pads! When the company first introduced pads in 1983, there were only two pad sizes available in store (hence the two I had to choose from back in 1992), made with the average size woman in mind, which at the time was a size 8. In 2016, the average woman was a size 16 and had more options in terms of flow than size, but I’m happy to report that times are changing with the introduction of Always My Fit™, a sizing system designed to help women find the right size pad based on panty size and flow. The fact that a company was smart enough to realize that one size doesn’t fit all is not only brilliant, it’s about time! To find your perfect numeric size 1 through 5 so you can find the best coverage, take this Cosmo-style quiz or simply check the back of the packaging.
If only these were around back when I was packing for science camp…
In partnership with Always