Tuesday, July 10, 2012


"Ask Us Anything. No Judgments"

Q. My daughter will be 11 this year, and will probably begin menstruation at any time. When should she have her first gyn exam and what are her options during menstruation? Pads only, or what? I purchased her a really good book on puberty and have spoken with her on the topic (Not as much as I would have liked; she gets embarrassed, but I’ve seen her reading the book in her room, so that’s good, at least.) and I’m unsure what else I should do to prepare her. Any advice?

Did you know that Planned Parenthood has a Tumblr, and that it is fantastic? (Also, the answer to the above question is here.)


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The nurses there are truly amazing--never had any other medical professional sit and talk with me about my concerns for 45 minutes.

♥, PP.


@OxfordComma TRULY! I lived (uninsured) in somewhere-near-Deliverance, Georgia a few years ago, where just about every other institution I went to had a hearty dose of judgment and/or some religious proselytizing heaped on top of whatever help I needed, and I finally made the long drive to PP (I wasn't close to one so it was out of my way) and they were literally THE ONLY ONES who just asked me what I wanted and explained my options to me without any judgment or prejudice. It was refreshing, comforting, and the only time I'd felt safe in my limited medical choices when uninsured. It was truly a lifesaver, in my opinion.


Chill, Chill <3@a


Huzzah! More sex-education campaigns on the internet! I love everything that helps fight ignorance about sex and sex-related things. Knowledge is power, be safe, do what you can to educate and be educated!

I love everything Planned Parenthood. They helped me out in a rough patch when I couldn't afford to see anyone about nearly anything, so I'm gonna give them my wholehearted support until the day I die.


@Scandyhoovian I'd love to give this 1000 thumbs up.


@Scandyhoovian My Catholic Perpetual Adoration Lecter and Eucharistic Minister Mom started donating to PP because [all the reasons you might donate]. I think she's at the end of her Legislate The Body rope, and it wasn't that long a rope to begin with.

I love that the right winger attitude about Planned Parenthood has people like my mom giving their support to this organization.


@PistolPackinMama Our moms would get along, I think. Mine was raised Catholic, but peaced out as a teenager when, in apparently the span of 10 minutes, the homily was about the evils of contraception, and the donation plate was for "hungry children in Africa." She is also a PP supporter :)


@Ophelia Also, my local PP is featured in a photo on the blog! I am oddly proud?


My mom took me to a gyno when my periods started--I think I was, like, 11? But I always really appreciated that for some reason. It was cool to have a chance to talk to a doctor and find out that everything is okay after all.


@smidge Yeah, I think I would have liked to see a gyno or at least a different doctor around that age -- my pediatrician was really nice and I liked him a lot, but he was a sweet grandfatherly type and I did not feel a hundred percent comfortable discussing, say, my first ever yeast infection with him.

Porn Peddler

If you give her tampons, give her lube, too. I'm in my early 20s and resent the fact that I was never told about this combination as a youngin.


@Porn Peddler

That poor single dad who bought his daughter crampons really scared the poor youngster.

Porn Peddler

@atipofthehat My mother is to blame. I think she may have been like "uh a dot of baby oil maybe?"


@Porn Peddler I was never told about this combination and I'm nearly 25. THANKS!

RK Fire

@beeline96: Hell, I just learned about it and I'm 28. This is the reason why I stopped using tampons!


Unplanned Parenthood has this cool basement rec room, though


@atipofthehat @saythatscool started a non-profit?


@Ophelia I'm thinking of starting the very exclusive Unaware Parenthood.


@whizz_dumb Brought to you by the producers of "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant"


@Ophelia Alternatively titled, "Your Poops Might Actually Be a Suprise Baby!"

all the bacon and eggs

Dear Letter Writer: don't sweat it! The completely scientific evidence of My Life suggests that if you really prepare your nearly-11-year old daughter for her impending womanhood, she will walk around convinced that her period is going to start ANY MINUTE NOW for the next five years, only to commence when she is visiting her dad around her sixteenth birthday. Like I said, science.


@all the bacon and eggs Or you will get it on your 12th birthday, and you will be psyched because your mom will take you out for Chinese Food, just like on Blossom.

all the bacon and eggs

@Ophelia Hahaha. That kicks ass. My dad took me for a hot air balloon ride for my 16th, but it was unrelated to the menstruation (there's no way I talked to him about that).


@all the bacon and eggs or your first period can arrive after school on the same day your dad is taking you for the photo for your first passport. so for five long years you can think about getting your period for the first time every time you pass through immigration/customs.

all the bacon and eggs

@shelbysays Yesssssss sharing mortifying period stories. Like Seventeen Magazine for grown-ups.


@all the bacon and eggs My thoughts exactly. 11 and "any day now"? Some of us had to wait years after that while always carrying a pad in our backpack "just in case."

all the bacon and eggs

@SarahP Uuuugh yes. Not to mention the fact that you can never credibly skip school/gym class due to "cramps." The injustice.

fondue with cheddar

@all the bacon and eggs Getting my period (not my first, but one of the first) while sitting in the school cafeteria wearing white leggings was lots of fun. By the time I got to the nurse's office I had bloodstains down the inside of both thighs the size of baguettes. Actually, that's not exactly true. Baguettes are much narrower.

all the bacon and eggs

@jen325 Oh, so more like Italian loaves then.

the roughest toughest frail

@all the bacon and eggs I was nine, at home alone, and had NO IDEA what was happening. My painfully conservative mother didn't know how to explain it to me, so she just handed me a box of giant pads and a brochure.

ETA: I love that this exists so, so much. PP is the best.


@all the bacon and eggs I got mine when I was 14, just before swim practice. I remember very clearly I saw it when I was changing into my swimsuit. I quietly packed up my swimsuit, put my clothes back on, found my mom and whispered into her ear, "I think I'm going to die."


@all the bacon and eggs I definitely got mine when I was 10 years old and on my way to a religious camp with my entire family. My stomach had been hurting (little did I know that it was actually cramps!) and when we stopped a rest stop I realized that there was blood in my underwear. I pretty much flipped out.

fondue with cheddar

@all the bacon and eggs Heh, yeah...that's more accurate.

@everyone I feel so lucky to have learned about periods BEFORE my first one. When I was in 3rd grade they got all the girls together with a few female teachers and they taught us all about it, let us ask questions, and even gave us little brochures to take home. There was only one girl who'd already gotten hers (or at least she was the only one who admitted it).


@all the bacon and eggs same here. I seriously thought I was bleeding internally. it didn't help that I had recently seen an episode of Rescue 911 in which a girl had ruptured her spleen in a go-kart accident.


@all the bacon and eggs I had been told about periods, but still freaked out because the only thing I'd been told about first periods was that they were often lighter than later ones, not "they might be really, really heavy and when you discover your knickers are stained brown, you will not recognise it as blood at all and be convinced you have somehow lost control over your bowels, and hide the evidence for several days out of shame". (In my defence, I was eleven.)


OMG you guys, scroll down to the Spider-Man comic!

<3 U, PPAF!

acid burn

My work blocks that site as "Pornography." :(


@acid burn Ugh, Get Rid Of Your Work, Seriously, It Is Revolting.


my parents didn't talk to me about the awkward things, didn't push through my extreme embarrassment, to connect with me and help me transition into womanhood. figuring out pads and tampons on my own was a nightmare. just do it, anonymous internet mom, no matter how much she rolls her eyes and squirms


Everything I learned about periods I learnt from Judy Blume.
Bless that lady.

Thank god for Planned Parenthood.


@teaandcakeordeath I had this SO NINETIES book from American Girl called "The Care and Keeping of You".

It and gurl.com were the way late-90s-early-2000s girls pubertized (it's a word, trust me).

Bed Monster

@OhShesArtsy OH MY GOD. SHUT UP. Gurl.com is what prevented me from being a complete know-nothing when it came to learning about sex, sexuality, menstruation, etc. when I was going through puberty (also early 2000s!!). It was so progressive! I'm pretty sure I learned about masturbation and all that crap there, too!


@OhShesArtsy Um, I may have gotten that one for my daughter in...2010? So, not just nineties, heh.

I will say it was way better than the 80s schlock my mom got for me. I was actually pretty relieved.

Lenora Jane

@squeee WAS JUST TALKING ABOUT GURL.COM with a fellow-'pin-reading buddy only the other day! It still exists and is still gold.

I don't remember ever having been talked to about my period (except by Judy Blume, YES), and I didn't tell my mother I'd gotten it for, like, months after I did (that was how uncomfortable I was about discussing it!), and, actually...don't regret a thing.


said in crusty old woman voice, "baack in my dayy, we didn't have no 'dot coms' to learn about our bodies with"..... and I wasn't so much of a Judy Blume reader, more of a Hardy Boys and Calvin and Hobbes lady with scruffy boy cut hair and a love of Umbros. But @teaandcakeordeath, totally thank you Planned Parenthood for filling in all the gaps

The Lady of Shalott

@OhShesArtsy I had that book and it was legit great! In fact, after I grew out of it, my mom passed it along to my neighbours' three daughters, who are now 14, 11, and 9. So it is having a long and happy life teaching girls that it is OK to be different shapes and sizes and different levels of hairiness, and the most important thing about your body is that it be healthy and happy!


@squeee Mostly unrelated, but I thought it was a father who wrote in since, wouldn't a woman who visits a Planned Parenthood website know more about periods? Like, that you don't have to just use pads, even if you are young? Perhaps I am making too many ASSumptions



I'm so glad that gurl.com is still A Thing! It was seriously the best, most honest resource I had growing up.

The Care and Keeping of You was an AWSOME BOOK. Yay American Girl and their legitimately normal looking models/drawings/etc!


@Lenora Jane
I did the same thing! I dont know why I didnt just tell her, it just seemed ... uneventful? But now Im a little jealous of gurl.com - does it extend its ambit to gurls in their late twenties?

Lenora Jane

@teaandcakeordeath Hahahaha I just went to look and see what their stated age range was, or if they had one...and my work proxy blocks it, "Category: Sex Education."

(It also blocks all of tumblr as "Adult/Pornography," but only since two days ago? So who knows.)

fondue with cheddar



This is my cue to tell you all (again) about how much I love Planned Parenthood! I got my IUD there last month and the nurse practitioner had to call in another NP to help because my cervix was so tight (hotttt). They were so comforting. One of the NPs said, "My sister just got an IUD and she loves it!" and the other kept saying, "Oh, we're almost there; you're so brave!"

I am planning on going back to nursing school primarily because of all the great experiences I have had with PP nurses; I have always wanted to go into Women's Health and after I started relying on PP for all my gynecological needs (I don't have a regular PCP right now, let alone a gynecologist) I was even more inspired.

The Hyperbolic Julia Set

I just wanted to note that my work's net nanny blocks the planned parenthood tubmlr as "Dating/Social networking". By that they mean all tumblrs but still it made me giggle.


"Sincerely, Margaret White"


I wish we had an Aussie Planned Parenthood equivalent.
I'm lucky because I went to a non-religious private school, so they gave us a SUPER detailed education when it comes to sex and drugs, but not all kids get that. I have a Sis-in-law who went on the Pill and has never been informed enough to ask her doctor questions such as "will I still be able to have children later on after taking this?" (something she asked me after saying she'd already been on The Pill for a year. She had been taking something that might have, to her lack of knowledge, made her infertile and only just thought this might be an issue. I panic for her frequently).


@TARDIStime Maybe check the IPPF (International Planned Parenthood Federation) website? They have a global network of clinics and affiliates, and I'm 99% sure they have a presence in Australia. Their website is www.ippf.org


@Ophelia Thanks! Will do this! :-D


This restores a little of the faith in humanity that's been stripped away from me recently. Thank you, PP. (And thank you, Hairpin!)

Pocket Witch

Most everything I know about sex, menstruation, and my body, I learned from the internet. Why do so many health courses skew toward the "Eight Street Names of Crack"?

Seriously though, I wish I'd had an ask-and-answer session BEFORE I started hormonal birth control. Nobody told me one fucking thing about it, not even why I should be taking it. I was blindsided by six months of suicidal depression, for which I was completely unprepared. After I quit taking the pills (because of migraines! Not because I wanted to kill myself with a kitchen knife! Something is wrong with this picture!), I was mostly relieved that I survived and then had to deal with/am still dealing with all the 'I could have died' feelings.

tl/dr: Ask questions. Medical professionals who can't be bothered to answer them are clearly flaming assholes. Those who do, however, are a boon to humankind.


@Pocket Witch Totally agreeing with your end note! I refuse to take anything that a doctor prescribes without them explaining what it is and how it will work.
It scares me that there are women I know whose doctors never explained the risk of thrush when taking antibiotics and that it's simply remedied with acidophilus (yoghurt).

Whoaaa Hossie

I need a little advice from some over 35 year old women. This is way off topic but, I believe there are probably enough ladies who read this and I will get some good advice. I am a 50 something man who met a very fun to talk with lady, on one of those singles sites. We have been talking for 6 interesting and fun months. During the first few weeks she confided that she had been married 3 times. She explained all 3 and the reasons for each divorce. I was satisfied with her explanations and so on... I figure since I am no angel and having been married 2 times myself, I was not the one to judge her. She let some names slip a few days ago and I wondered who they were. I asked and she told me she was not sure what I was talking about. I have been dumped on in the past, so I did a bit of reaearch and found she has actually been married 6 times. I asked her about the information I found. She had believable explanations for each marriage and divorce. She said she did not tell me about all 6 in the beginning because she was embarrassed about it, which I understand. As time went on and we were getting along so well, it just got pushed to the side and forgotten about. Since this huge mistake on her part, by not telling me the truth, I have some very real concerns about her trustworthyness. I would really like to hear from some serious ladies who have good answers, not ones who just want to say things like, "well duh!" Thank you.


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