My First Period? My first day at work was a mess!

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It happened on a beautiful day where opportunities and ‘right place at the right time’ feelings abundant. HA!

Almost twenty years ago, I started working for a women’s organization in Toronto, Canada, called the YWCA. 

This moment affirmed yet again that I was in the right place with the right people. I was barely 30 years old and in the beginning of my career. It was only a few weeks into starting that I experienced my first gush (you can read more about my ‘gushes’ here). The moment was so unexpected and being surrounded by supportive, experienced women was pretty pivotal for me.

That day is absolutely clear to me, I remember everything. Including what I was wearing: a denim skirt, blue t-shirt and blue suede loafers that perfectly matched the t-shirt. I felt great, I looked great, I was ready to make the world a better place. 

The gush came. ‘Tag!’, I was it, I was whipped back to my childhood during a game freeze tag

It happened as I was sitting in the garden in August. It was an exceptionally beautiful day. The kind where you feel like opportunities are born and ‘right place at the right time’ feelings are in abundance. We had just finished a team meeting, life was grand. My colleagues left the table and went inside while I stayed back to finish up some notes. With my notes finished, pen down and spirit up, I stood up to go inside and join. And that’s when it happened, the gush. Right as I stood up and stepped toward the door, I had the strangest menstrual experience I’d had to date. It was like mother nature came and said, “Tag!”, and I was it, whipped back to my childhood during a game freeze tag. Except this time I was definitely not consenting to a game. What just happened?! It felt like a waterfall just fell from between my legs and cemented me to the ground.

I had no idea what to do next. I was a statue, completely frozen, glued to this spot. Having just started my dream job, my saving the world would end because I would be the period woman and could never leave this spot. Thankfully, these terrible situations play out way worse in our heads than they do in reality.  

After what felt like hours, but was definitely only minutes, a colleague came back out. She saw the look at my face, which was probably white as a sheet, and she scanned my entire body. “Oh. God”, was her response as she spotted my situation, followed by a “hold on” and then she disappeared. More minute-hours went by as my mind whirled around a million possibilities…”Where did she go?!” coupled with “I'm leaking blood down my legs, maybe she can't handle it”. However, my knight in shining armour reappeared moments later with a hoodie and a ton of paper towels. She directed me inside and held all the doors open for me as I waddled inside to deal with my mess. 

That day was the first time I went home in a cab because of a major period moment. Moral of the story? Fortune favours the prepared, I should have listened to mom and always kept extra pants, underwear, and a cloth for cleanups.

It’s been many years since I started my job at the YWCA and I still love it. Having an amazing group around you to deal with life - and our human challenges - makes all the difference. Periods can be uncomfortable experiences, but they don’t have to be! Keep prepared, keep educated on what’s going on with your body, and remember that you’re not alone in your experience! And while this wasn’t my first period story per se, it was also not my last period, which is a whole other story as I wait for the menopause fairy.