6 Nigerian Women Talk About Experiencing Puberty

April 13, 2021

Puberty is described as a gradual switch from childhood to adulthood and also one of the most confusing stages of being human. Although it is characterized by changes like periods, growing breasts and rounding hips, many women experience puberty differently. Here’s what six Nigerian women have to say about experiencing puberty.

Fifi, 22

I was about 10 years old when I got my first period. I was in a boarding school so I was happy to take a break from waking up early to pray for six days. I looked forward to it every month.

My breasts grew slowly and people bullied me about it. They are still small but I don’t give a fuck — I love my two beautiful oranges. 

Osas, 18 

When I got my period at 11, I was in boarding school and all I was told was that I can now get pregnant. They also said to change my pad once it’s full. I was still bedwetting so it was a draining and annoying period for me. 

My mates already had breasts but I had a flat chest. This caused me to develop low self-esteem. I decided to get a bra even though I didn’t need it and I got shamed for wearing a bra on a flat chest.  I wanted big boobs so bad that I used powder and olive oil to massage the breast. It still didn’t grow. Some people said that my breasts didn’t grow because I started wearing a bra early.  Now I don’t understand why I was hurt by all those things because I know I have a banging body. 

Experiencing puberty

Bidemi, 21

I started growing breasts at nine.  It was hard for me because my mother was paranoid about it. She called her friends and family to ask if girls grew breasts at nine. She died shortly after and my period came like a thief in the night. I didn’t know what to do.  As if growing breasts and not knowing what to do with them wasn’t hard enough, I had blood coming out of me. 

My brother took me to get pads that evening. I just picked the most familiar looking brand. It was my aunt that taught me how to wear it the next day. 

People started asking me why I don’t wear bras and telling me my breasts will sag. I had no idea what I was doing. I eventually learnt about the importance of bras from snobby girls in church. 

Tina, 20 

Puberty was weird for me because I was a fat kid so it looked like I had boobs when I was 8. I remember my aunt asked my mum when I was 8 whether I had gotten my period yet and my mother was shocked she asked. 

People were always assuming I had gotten my period because my body was big and they didn’t believe me when I said I hadn’t. Unlike other girls, I kept hoping it wouldn’t come.  Sadly, when I was 12, it finally arrived. 

Tomi, 28

I remember some days I would look at my sister’s growing breasts and be like, “God, When”. Boys in my school used to tease me about my flat chest. My mates already had big breasts and all I had was my flat ass and chest. 

When my breasts came, it was like film trick. It felt like they grew overnight. I was lucky to not get acne as well.  

Mena, 21

Puberty came for me at 11 and it came with acne which I’m still fighting till today. My period was irregular and very painful. There are so many mortifying incidents during secondary school where people had to point out to me that I was stained. It’s not as bad as before but there are still times the pain cripples me. My periods are still irregular but I am learning to keep track of it. It took my body some time for the curves to come because I was always losing weight. I hated my body at some point but I am now starting to get comfortable in my own skin.

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