12 Nigerian Women Talk About Their First Period

May 28, 2020

The transition from childhood to womanhood is what nobody prepares you for. What’s worse is the stigma around discussing a lot of female-related issues. Period/menstruation is one of such issues. Nigerian women need to be able to talk about their period freely that’s why we’ve brought this to you.

From playing with friends to unexpected period stains, 12 Nigerian Women share their first period stories. They talk about how they dealt with the discovery and how they adjusted to the change. We’ve compiled these stories to celebrate “Menstrual hygiene day” which is today, May 28, 2020. The theme for this year is “It is time for action”.

Nigerian Women Period

Marvelene: “My mum asked if I had been raped when she saw blood in my underwear.”

I was 9 years old – I was in the toilet and there was blood in my white pant. Two years before, when I was 7, I had already started developing breasts – I was sexually assaulted a few times. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t even realise my mum had been shouting my name for more than 10 minutes. She banged the toilet door open and started beating me. Apparently, she thought I was trying to avoid helping her pound crayfish. I stammered and pointed down at my pant. She suddenly became nice and started to ask: “What happened? Were you raped? Talk to me you this secretive child, did you get injured? I’ve been warning you about being secretive.”

She rushed out to get me pad but there were no shops open. We had to settle for using a brand new handkerchief. She put cotton wool inside and advised that I never use tissue so the pieces don’t get inside of me when blood soaks. The next day, she got pads and a sanitary pant and showed me how to fix it. It was only after that that she talked to me about periods. Five months into my first period, my period ceased for about two months. We met with a gynecologist and he explained that for girls with early periods, there are chances of irregularities as their body needs time to adjust. He advised me to take supplements.

Aisha: “I thought I had injured myself.”

I remember that I was scared when I first got my period. This was when I was 10 years old, in JSS1 in a boarding school. I saw it the first time at night and I honestly thought I had injured myself down there or something, so I went to my hostel mistress to tell her. She was super cool and guided me through it all. I also remember having numerous pregnancy scares the first years because it was so irregular.

Maryvic: “I cried when I saw my first period.”

My age at menarche was 10. I knew what menstruation meant early enough. That day, I cried because seeing my first period meant that I could get pregnant if I had sex. I was terrified of the consequences. I’m glad I know better as an adult but that 10 year old girl was paranoid.

Teddy: My aunt said,”once you start seeing your menses, if a boy holds your hand, you’ll get pregnant.”

My first period was on a Saturday morning in Jss1. I was happy and maybe a little scared because of what my aunt had told me about boys and period. The routine on Saturday morning was to take a bath after exercising then go to the dining hall. After seeing blood in my underwear, I rushed to the bathroom with all I needed. My aunty’s words played in my head all through: “once you start seeing your menses, if a boy holds your hand, you’ll get pregnant”.

Iman: “After I got my first period, my mum told me I had become a woman.”

It’s funny how the date, 25th February, 2010, is still imprinted in my mind. I was twelve, in JSS2. Usually my dad took me to school but that morning, my mum dropped me off. When I got to the school gate, I tried to get out of the car. Immediately I stood up, my mum asked me to sit back down. I learnt later during the drive back home that I was stained and I had just gotten my first period. She told me I was now a woman and was now accountable for my actions. I don’t know if it was shame, but I never told any of my friends that I got my period. I only ever revealed it when I got to JSS3 when I noticed that more people were comfortable with talking about periods.

Bolu: “I got my first period at a wedding.”

I had my first period when I was 12. I attended a wedding party with my parents at that time. There was this slippery feeling in between my legs. I was also pressed to ease myself but I couldn’t because I don’t use public bathrooms. When I got home, I went to the toilet, only to see blood on my pant. I cried, thinking I had injured myself until my mum came to the rescue. She told my sister to get me pads after which she taught me how to use it. She also advised me to be careful around boys so I wouldn’t get pregnant

Ayo: “I felt bad that I didn’t get my period when other people got theirs.”

My first period was pretty uneventful but before I got it, I was worried. I was 13, but compared to my friends, it felt late. Most of my friends got theirs when they were in Jss1, 2 or 3 but mine came after junior secondary school. I used to feel bad about my ‘condition’ whenever my friends talked about their periods. So I prayed to God about it. I later realised it was normal and finally had peace of mind about the whole situation. When it finally came, It was anticlimactic. It was black and looked nasty. I told my family members about it and had the ‘now you can get pregnant’ talk.

Suzan: “My dad brought me fried chicken in celebration of my first period.”

I was actually prepared for my first period. More prepared than a 11 year old should be thanks to my mum and my obsessive reading habits. I had read science textbook a year before and learned everything I needed to know about it. My boarding school was also really helpful. They set up classes for girls to talk to us about menstruation, how to handle the first period, how to avoid getting stained, how to clean up after using a pad.

So one day, I noticed how slippery I was feeling after classes. I took off my underwear in my room and screamed when I saw a spotting of blood. Then I told my roommates/friends and that was it. I cleaned up like I was already taught to and told my guardian to tell my parents about it. The next visiting day, my dad brought fried chicken as celebration for me and my mum told me about the possibility of getting pregnant if I have sex. It wasn’t awkward but very funny.

Tiyan: “I stopped sharing a room with my brothers after I got my first period. I was now a ‘big girl’.”

I got the sex talk from my mum when I just finished Primary 5. She was going abroad for her PhD; she wanted to prepare me in case it happened when she was away. I can’t remember the specifics of the talk. I remember feeling special that she wanted to talk to me without my brothers listening. 

A few months later, during one of the holidays in primary 6, I got my period. I had to call my Dad at the office to tell him what happened. He came home during his lunch break with a pack of sanitary pads. My aunty, to show me how to use them. We then called my mum, who called all her sisters to announce that I was now a woman. I got a lot of ‘congratulations me on becoming a woman’ after that.

I found the whole experience to be funny because they made it seem like such a big deal. The best part was that I stopped sharing a room with my brothers, I was now a big girl.

Omotola: ‘I bled for two weeks nonstop when I got my first period.”

I read about sex and menstruation even before my mum who is a nurse taught me anything. When I got my period (in secondary school), I bled for two weeks nonstop. I was told I had hormonal imbalance. I got stained countless times even though I used at least five pads in a day. It was exhausting.

Lateefah: “When it came, I didn’t know what it was so I prayed to God and it went away.”

I was barely 12 years old. I woke up and saw blood stain on my night wear. Because I had no knowledge of menstruation, I just washed it and had my bath. I knelt down and prayed to God asking him to forgive me all my sins. After my short prayer, the bleeding stopped so I thought my prayers were answered.  Immediately I got to school, I told my best friend about the stains. She was horrified and told me that her mum said that a girl could bleed if you got raped. I was scared. The pain got worse during the day. I had to visit the loo frequently. Later on, a female senior student told me my uniform was stained. She gave me pad to use and painkillers. I was relieved to know I was normal after all.

Deborah: “I didn’t tell my mum about it until she discovered two months later.”

I woke up one morning and felt pain in my stomach. I didn’t give it much thought until I noticed that my blue skirt was stained. This was when I was12 years, about to resume SS1. In basic science when I was in JSS2, we had been taught about menstruation, I knew what to do. I went to the toilet to clean up, then went to my parents room to steal two packs of sanitary pad. I didn’t tell my mom until she discovered two months later.


Are you a Nigerian woman who wants to share her first period experience? Leave a comment below and share!

You'll like this

July 27, 2020

The cramps, nausea, and insane cravings are not the only things Nigerian women have to deal with during their period. 7 Nigerian women had a quick chat with me about their most cringe-worthy period experience. Jennifer  My experience was really awful. I had an ex-boyfriend who would complain and call me lazy for having cramps […]

June 18, 2020

Painful period cramps are the worst thing ever. It’s like being singled out to be consistently punished and tortured for an offense you don’t even know about. And you keep filing complaints but HR doesn’t want to hear your side of the story. It’s the real ghetto mehn. Here’s a 9 things women who have […]

Oreoluwa Olukorode

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

Watch

Now on Zikoko

October 22, 2020

Let’s start here: On the 20th of October, 2020, armed men of the Nigerian army allegedly shot at peaceful protesters in the recent #EndSars movement. It is estimated that at least twelve people were killed in Lagos, and hundred more were injured around Nigeria. In light of this unfortunate and avoidable incident, we decided to […]

October 22, 2020

This article contains updates on occurrences related to the general national unrest outside Lagos that you might have missed. We’ll keep updating it. Seyi Makinde addressing protesters in Ibadan The Oyo State Governor took to the streets of Ibadan yesterday to address protesters and the general public and to tell them that peace would return […]

October 22, 2020

Yesterday, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu addressed the state following the massacre of innocent civilians at the Lekki toll-gate the previous night. Here’s the speech. After watching him struggle for over seven minutes to deliver his speech, we were able to pick out some of the stuff we couldn’t just stand. See: 1. The lies […]

October 22, 2020

Recently, there has been an increasing occurrence of social media accounts broadcasting and spreading fake news. In one instance, a Twitter user posted a photo of Aisha Yesufu, a prominent activist purportedly showing her relaxing in her living room with her husband while #EndSARS protesters are on the streets. The photo was actually of her […]

Recommended Quizzes

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

November 30, 2019

With No Nut November FINALLY coming to an end, we’ve decided to mark the torturous month with some more horny content. After quizzes that guessed how many people you’ve slept with, how good you are in bed and who you’ll sleep with next, this one will guess when next you’ll get lucky. Take it to […]

October 30, 2019

Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys movie got a lot of things right, especially casting, so yes, it was a monster hit. Now, we know you may not have put much thought to this, but the personalities of some of the characters closely match yours, and we would like to help you find the perfect match. […]

December 3, 2019

Are you a professional Yoruba demon? Are you walking around in search of whose life you can wreck at any given time? Well, this quiz knows exactly how many hearts you’ve shattered to date, and before you lie that your result is inaccurate, just remember that Zikoko is never wrong. Now, take it and be […]

More from Her

October 19, 2020

Women have been said to be at the forefront of this protest. Although some people say women should not join the protest, they did anyway. We asked six Nigerian women why they joined the #EndSARS protests. Linda, 21 Every day I spend on the road, is for the women and the queers. Police brutality affects […]

October 16, 2020

The feminist coalition is a body run by a group of women with their main focus being fighting injustice. They do not organise. Rather, they’ve assisted, structured and dispersed funds for the #EndSARS protests. Here are some of the things they have done. 1) Feeding Some of the money has been used to pay for […]

October 14, 2020

When the women in Agbaja area saw a decrease in domestic animals and observed an increase in female mortality, they stayed away from home for a month in protest. These women left their husbands’ villages and went to either Umunumu or to Orie Ekpa (market) with their mats so they could sleep wherever night met them. When their husbands went to ask the reason for their withdrawal, they said too many women were dying.

October 10, 2020

In different locations all over the world, people are holding protests to call for the end of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. During these protests, people are demanding their right to live freely without being profiled. However, female protesters are announcing incidences of sexual violence from protesters. Sexual harassment is one of the most prevailing forms […]

October 8, 2020

Using a cab service as a Nigerian woman seem to be an extreme sport. From drivers who try to touch you to those who try to harm you because “tHey hAvE yOuR tYpE aT hOmE” women have been through it all. These five women in the city’s capital share their worst cab ride experience.

October 8, 2020

Have you ever gotten a message so weird you did not know how to process it? Well, these seven women to tell us the weirdest messages they have received. Jane, 32 A picture of his penis. No introduction, no nothing. Just a picture of his phallus. Amaka, 19 A man once told me he wants […]

October 7, 2020

Navigating life as a woman in the world today is incredibly difficult. From Nigeria to Timbuktu, it’ll amaze you how similar all our experiences are. Every Wednesday, women the world over will share their takes on everything from sex to politics right here. The subject of this week’s What She Said is 26-year-old Busayo. She talks […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.
February 6, 2020
Who doesn't want to find love? In our bid to help, we paired up a bunch of single Nigerians, sending them on an all-expense paid date, and interviewing them before and after they met.
January 27, 2020
Nigerians Talk is what happened when a motley crew of young Nigerians were put in front of a camera and asked a bunch of apparently random questions about life, love, money and more.
September 24, 2019
A group of Zikoko staff go on a road trip to every mainland country in ECOWAS West Africa

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X