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.