I think we can all recall the feeling of our awkward teen years. It’s a point in time where you no longer feel like a child, but also not quite a woman. All the hormones and changes seem to come all at once, and as I recall, it all feels pretty overwhelming, confusing, and sometimes even embarrassing. I think it’s safe to say each and every one of us has an embarrassing “period” mishap story we could share, especially during the early teen years when it was all so new. I can vividly remember having spotting accidents in my uniform khakis early on, and just how mortified I felt even if no one else knew about it but me.
I grew up as the second oldest in a household full of girls (four sisters including myself) and still, when the time came, I don’t think I was completely ready for it. I was also one of the last of my close circle of girlfriends to get my period (I was in 7th grade) and until I did, I remember feeling a little odd. Like maybe there was something wrong with me because I hadn’t “started” yet when some of my best friends had been visited by the period fairy since the 5th grade! Again, all very confusing and difficult to understand.
Then once my time came, I was pretty glad I was a late bloomer because as we all know the experience certainly isn’t rainbows and butterflies. I remember having to visit the school nurse a time or two when my period caught me by surprise, and having to use the bulky, uncomfortable pads she had on hand. I recall all the questions and mystery that surrounded things like tampons, and what an adventure it was learning to use those for the first time. It wasn’t always the easiest thing to talk about either, and with the uncertainty and awkwardness of it all, sometimes it was easier to just cover it up and carry on. There was a certain level of shame that came with the whole “coming of age phase” and looking back I really wish I would’ve been less shy about it and asked more questions. As an adult, and mother to a daughter of my own, I want to make this transition as easy as possible for her when the time comes.
Shortly after joining the Social Butterfly team, we launched our “Welcome to Womanhood” project. We all recalled going through this transition to womanhood and how it wasn’t particularly the easiest. We wanted to find a way to help remove the stigma surrounding this time in young women’s lives and do our part to make it a little less nerve-wracking, even if it was in a small way. After seeing a post on social media where one mother had repurposed unused “Ipsy” or similar cosmetic bags by filling them with feminine hygiene products for her daughter, a lightbulb went off! We could do this on a larger scale and donate them to local elementary and middle schools.
We began seeking donations of pads, tampons, feminine wipes, liners, and cute little cosmetic bags and were thrilled and humbled with the response. Friends, family members, neighbors, and strangers all began to reach out and offer their support and donations. Over the last few months, we are excited to say we have filled nearly 300 bags and have reached out to several school districts in Houston, San Antonio, Port Isabel, and Harlingen. We partnered with Rita Garcia, a Counselor at Port Isabel Junior High, who generously coordinated donations and put bags together for students at her campus as well. We will continue to schedule drop-offs at other schools and districts in the coming weeks.
Our ultimate goal is to make this a continuous effort and one of our long-standing projects. We have high hopes that we can make a small difference in the lives of young women. When we feel prepared and knowledgeable, we also feel more confident and empowered. We hope our efforts will empower young women and encourage them to embrace the journey to into womanhood, even in the smallest way. Here’s to WOMANHOOD!
Feel free to reach out via our Facebook page here or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to make a donation or contribution to support these efforts.