I don’t remember much about my first menstruation, beyond the fact that I wasn’t sure if I was menstruating or dying.
I was 13 by that point, so I already knew that periods were a thing. School had prepared us for that much, at least. But I suspected that vaginas could bleed for other reasons, too. Terrifying reasons. How was I to know whether the blood staining my underpants was the right kind of blood? The blood that was meant to induct me into that community of people who menstruate?
Now, I’m the mother of a 6-year-old, and I know that I cannot rely on the school system to prepare my daughter for everything it means to be a human in this world. To live in a body. I know that, whatever school districts are doing, parents need to take an active role in their child’s sexuality education, from birth on.