Growing up, I always acted older than my age, thinking in a more mature manner than my peer.

This was probably influenced by the fact that my parents exposed me to responsibilities at an early age, something I am eternally grateful for, and the fact that I read a lot, anything and everything. As the first child, with two younger siblings, I was to ensure my siblings got home in one piece from school, food flask, home works, bags. This meant before entering the school bus, I have to look out for my siblings and make sure their belongings were intact.

I acted mature mentally and emotionally, it was no surprise I hit puberty early too. I had always enjoyed the company of older people, hardly found around my peers plus I grab information really fast, so I knew a lot of things and menstruation to me wasn’t exactly something strange. My menarche came when I was 9 years old, a few weeks to my 10th birthday. I was in JSS1. There were signs before it came, brown stains on my pant about two months before, so my mum knew it was around the corner and prepared me for it. She always put a pad in my bag to take to school.

The day it came, I was easing myself when I noticed and contrary to a lot of peoples reaction, I was calm, picked a pad as I have been schooled in using one, and just went on like nothing happened, the pains didnt come. I told my mum in the evening when she returned from work and she was a bit surprised I took care of it so well. We had a lecture but she never told me I will get pregnant if I was touched by a member of the opposite sex, I was already past that lol. My dad noticed I didn’t come put for prayers as is the tradition at home. In Islam as I am a Muslim, a menstruating woman doesn’t partake in the daily prayers till her bleeding stops and she takes a purification bath. He was quite shocked when I told him because I seemed too young.

Few months after, the pains started and a lot of times they seem unbearable. For a lot of people, severe pains occur the first day, at most two days, while for me throughout the 7 to 8 days, I am under the influence of teeth shattering pains. I have been through so many pain killers I am scared there might be a cumulative side effect later in life. It’s been ten years, and I still haven’t found a way to manage the pain. That time of the month brings a lot of discomfort, tears, and decreased productivity. An highlight was when I almost couldn’t write an exam in the university due to extreme pains. I was lucky my lecturer was a mother who understood and was extremely patient.

Maybe I am used to it, maybe I am not, I have accepted it as a cross to bear, and I am grateful for the people in my life, all the help I get, even from my male friends who are so understanding. They make that time bearable and ensure I don’t have a mountain of activities waiting for me by the time I am back on my feet.