A child experiencing their first menstruation cycle is something that no one really looks forward to.
But as long as it is properly discussed ahead of time, it doesn’t have to be a scary or stressful experience, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor AITA-throwaway-222 was surprised when her stepdaughter had her first period with no understanding of what was happening to her.
When she explained to her stepdaughter what was happening and helped her tend to herself, the Original Poster (OP) was surprised when the biological mother lashed out at her for helping.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for helping my stepdaughter with her period instead of taking her to her mom’s house?”
The OP struggled to have a good relationship with her husband’s ex-wife.
“I (25 Female) am married to Jake (31 Male). Jake has 1 daughter, Lacey (10 Female). Lacey and I have a really good relationship and I truly do love her.”
“Lacey’s mom, Jill (34 Female), doesn’t like me. She thinks that while she and Jake were married I was sleeping with him. Which isn’t true at all.”
“I met Jake a week after he filed, and only did our relationship become romantic a month after he finalized the divorce. Jill knows this too but thinks that I was sleeping with him in the last few months of their marriage.”
Lacey recently had her first period.
“Last weekend Lacey got her period. She was really freaked out and scared.”
“She didn’t even know what a period was and had no knowledge of it.”
“I helped her out and explained some things to her but nothing too deep, so her mom could explain them.”
“I did also notify her mom and Jake, who was at work.”
Jill lashed out at the OP for getting involved.
“The next day, Jill texted me a paragraph, saying that it wasn’t my place to help Lacey out with her period and accused me of trying to replace her as Lacey’s mom.”
“I told her no, that wasn’t what I was trying to do at all, but she didn’t listen.”
“Jake said that I’m not in the wrong and I only did what was best, but other people are telling me that I could have let her mom do all the other things.”
The OP did her best to share the experience with Lacey’s mother.
“To clarify, I didn’t explain ‘the birds and the bees.’ I only told her the basics of what to do when you’re on your period, how to use the pad correctly, etc.”
“The reason I didn’t drop her off at her mom’s was because she didn’t want to go over there, and her mom lives an hour and 30 minutes away.”
“I also don’t think that Jill is a bad mom, but I do think she could have done a better job on educating Lacey about the basics of a period, or even the concept at all, seeing as she got her period younger than Lacey (9-years-old).”
“That doesn’t mean Jake doesn’t have any blame in this, either, because they both could have educated her about it.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the mother should have had this talk with her daughter a long time ago.
“If the mom wants to help her daughter on her first period, the conversation should have happened before the period did.”
“It is fully the mom’s fault that her daughter was unprepared, and she is trying to shift the blame.”
“NTA, OP, and good job helping your stepdaughter, I’m sure she appreciates it.” – opinionswelcomehere
“This makes me sad. She must have been so scared. If I hadn’t known what to expect, I would’ve thought I was dying. Poor kid.” – whenIdreamallday
“The mom is a huge failure of a parent if it got to this point.” I don’t care if people excuse not telling their kids important info like this by saying, ‘I provide for my kids’ or ‘I work a lot’ or ‘I make sure they’re fed.’ Congrats on doing the bare minimum to get a D grade as a parent.”
“The fact that you can’t or simply won’t talk to your kid about their period is something I consider to be a failure of a parent. I don’t care if you work 60 hours per week. The fact you consider that easier than talking to your kid on a deeper level than what they did at school today is a ‘you’ problem that you are making your kid suffer for.” – letstrythisagain30
“The concept of parents not teaching their children this always bewilders me. It’s such an easy bonding/trust moment. It isn’t a difficult explanation.”
“I still question my mom’s choice of venue (car sitting in a mall parking lot, because we were on a special girls’ date to see a movie and also make sure I’d have privacy from my brothers from the conversation), but I still remember years later how calm and reassuring she was about preparing me for something I’d never heard of and was immediately against.”
“It took maybe 30 minutes, and that includes the time spent convincing me that arguing with her wouldn’t actually banish menstruation from existence.”
“How busy could you possibly be that you can’t find half an hour one time?” – inkpaperdream
“I remember at a birthday party when my daughter was 10, I mentioned that I had explained a female’s bodily changes to her.”
“Another mother was aghast that I could traumatize my daughter when she was ‘just a baby.'”
“I looked that woman dead in the eye and said, ‘Well, I got my first period a month after I turned 11, I don’t want my daughter to be unprepared.'”
“Sure enough, my daughter got her period within 6 months. She was crying because she didn’t want it that soon, but at least she didn’t think she was dying.” – everyonemustlovecats
Others said the mother was letting her feelings about the OP get in the way.
“Newsflash: a girl’s first period doesn’t obligingly start when she is at home with her bio mother.”
“It could happen everywhere. Quite likely it would have been at school, and then would Jill have freaked out at the teacher who helped her?”
“Of course not. She is weaponizing her daughter’s body against the woman she hates. NTA.” – HerefsAndrew
“Did mom really expect OP to shove stepdaughter into the car and drive her 1.5 hours to her mom’s house with no explanation and no help to stop her from bleeding through her clothes? That would just be cruel.” – Wren1101
“Since the mom hates OP, she will never win. So just do what’s best for the child and ignore mom as best you can. OP and dad should keep notes on all these things though, in case they want to try to get a greater share of custody one day.” – HalcyonEve
“For kids who are uninformed, that first period is terrible. Mom had years to explain this, instead of it being a total surprise for her daughter.”
“You did the human thing: reassure the girl, help her tend to herself, and let her know it’s normal.”
“You were a caring person who helped her through an event she wasn’t prepared for.”
“Mom wants to complain about it, tell her to hold their irrelevant complaints for 13 years, since she thinks it’s ok to take that long to deliver important information.” – Teahouse_Fox
Some confirmed how terrible their periods were after not talking about it first.
“I’m a woman and had my period right after my 11th birthday. No one had told me about what periods are and sex-ed was going to be given at my school next grade.”
“So I really had no idea, I thought I was dying or something had burst.”
“I can’t even put into words the anguish and fear I had when I saw blood in my panties.” – Ladonnacinica
“My mom didn’t tell me. I ran to her, thinking I was dying, and she told me to follow the directions on the pads under the sink and that I was gonna have to deal with this every month until I was in my 50s, so get used to it.”
“This was before the internet and I started early at 10 years old so none of my friends had any knowledge to help me.”
“We ran out of pads once and my dad was so embarrassed he had to buy them for us that when he got home he shoved them in the freezer because he didn’t want to see them anymore.” – joyfall
“My daughter saw my postpartum pad when she was about 3 and thought I was dying. I explained, in age-appropriate words, what was happening.”
“She of course had to tell her grandma, my ex-MIL, who had a fit that I dared to tell a 3-year-old what was happening. But I thought it was worse for her to think I was dying.” – Diligent-Touch-5456
“I know 3 adults who have said they had no idea about periods until theirs started… all 3 of them have also said their first thought was that they were dying (and more than one of them thought it was cancer).”
“Oh, and they were so scared that something was terribly wrong that they didn’t tell anyone at first.”
“There’s literally no reason for that to happen. Part of being a good parent is preparing your child to grow up.” – Arcane1516
Though the mother was angry that the OP was involved in caring for her daughter during her first menstruation cycle, the subReddit insisted she had plenty of opportunities to prepare her daughter for the experience, rather than causing the first time to be scary and stressful.