Puberty and Bra Shopping (shoot me now)

Content Warning: I know this is an extremely personal post and it deals with puberty and women’s menstruation, and if that offends you, don’t read it.  I had to write about it to purge the pain.

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One thing I will never understand about my mother is how angry she became when I entered puberty.

If I ever have a daughter, I will take her out to her favorite restaurant and buy her a brand-new outfit when she gets her period, and we’ll go bra-shopping together.  She’ll get ones for children and I’ll buy one for adult ladies, but she can see me in them, and know, from seeing me, that this is how adult women look, and how she will eventually look.  I will tell her how beautiful she is.

My mother was tight-lipped and furious when I started growing breasts, and I don’t know why.  Even my father, who was, by far, the worst parent, just accepted it and said “We can’t have naps together anymore. It is not appropriate.” Okay, I was sad, but I knew, on some level, that what he was saying was right.

She took me to Target and I felt so ashamed, like there was something wrong with me. Then she asked the retail lady to put some training bras on me.  The retail lady was more gentle with me than my mother.  She put on some soft cotton white bras without underwire.

Then, when I got my period a year later, I had to confess it to my mother, because I was stealing her sanitary napkins. I had to! I was 14!  I couldn’t buy my own! I didn’t get an allowance, I didn’t get anything!

She said exactly two things:

“I hope you haven’t been flushing them down the toilet.”


“This means you can get pregnant now.  I want you to know that I am not interested in raising another baby.”

I didn’t have a boyfriend! I never even kissed a boy! At that age, I was not even interested in boys!  I developed late! I was not out being boy-crazy and giving my parents problems about it!

Even my dad, Franz Adler, said, “Well, I bet those cramps suck. I know it hurts, Liebchen.  Let me go buy some Midol.  This is just a fact of life.”

It really says something when your sociopath gambling addict of a father goes to bat for you before your own mother, especially when this is a woman’s issue that should be taken care of by women in the family.



5 thoughts on “Puberty and Bra Shopping (shoot me now)”

  1. Chilling, isn’t it, that our menarche stories especially show that gaping cold hole where warmth was supposed to live? You deserved kindness, but we can’t ask of our lives what simply was not and will not be there. I’m sorry your mother acted as she did, from whatever damage she had. I’m thankful there are many many mothers who get it right, even if ours didn’t. Feel better, please <3

    1. Thank you for your kind words.

      If I ever have a daughter, or even a young female relative, I’ll do it differently.

      My mother has always recoiled from any aspect of my sexuality, even though this was a simple and inevitable biological process. I’m just guessing, but I think it is because she was assaulted many times as an adolescent, and she saw herself reflected in me when I came of age.

  2. Your writing is so amazing . I go back and read old posts. Thank you for telling your story of your life.

  3. I’m sorry your mom was so shitty about it. My mom was ok. Explained everything. She knew it was my period before I did, my first was only for a couple of days, didn’t bleed much, but it was dark! Thought I’d somehow pood my underwear! She found out doing laundry. I was 9. Training bras – I was embarrassed, so embarrassed about it all! Being able to see the outline through clothes, how to deal with pads – being in 4th grade! This was way before girls developed so early. I love your idea of taking your daughter out and telling her how beautiful she is.

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