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What "old wives tales" were you told about periods?

(68 Posts)
Evie64 Tue 16-Jun-20 01:33:19

When I was 12/13 and had started my periods, I remember my mum telling me that I shouldn't have a bath or wash my hair if I was having a period! shock I told her I thought it was total nonsense and she said, "Well it's up to you, but I remember not listening to my mum when she told me this and I went ahead and had a bath and washed my hair and had the worst headache I've ever had afterwards"! confused Also, does anyone remember the sanitary belt with little plastic loops back and front onto which you hooked your Dr Whites sanitary towel which was the size of a small hammock blush

SueDonim Tue 16-Jun-20 02:03:18

No old wives tales here. My mother was, and still is, eminently sensible and pragmatic, thank goodness.

Yes, I do recall the ST belt. Grim. I moved onto tampons ASAP.

shysal Tue 16-Jun-20 07:34:08

My mother wouldn't talk about periods at all. I discovered a paper bag containing the awful belt and pads in my bottom drawer but it was never discussed. Mum did once mention the 'things that all women have', but I thought she meant babies!

tanith Tue 16-Jun-20 07:41:28

No one told me about periods even my 3 older sisters I was totally ignorant I told a teacher at school and she helped me, I do remember eventually using a sanitary belt, girls have a much easier time now thank goodness.

TerriBull Tue 16-Jun-20 08:06:56

No old wives tales, my mother told me the biological facts about periods just prior to when I started mine. I do remember being very curious as a small child about all the subterfuge that surrounded the "brown package" that was bought on occasions when we were out shopping.

Lilypops Tue 16-Jun-20 08:30:03

My Mum would send me to the Chemist with a note with money inside with instructions to give it to the lady behind the counter, I wondered what was in the bag and what my Mum needed with all the “cotton wool” she bought every month,
Oh I remember the awful Dr Whites sanitary belt and the pads with loops on. So uncomfortable ,I was convinced it showed through my clothes and that everyone knew I was on a period.

sodapop Tue 16-Jun-20 08:45:25

Same here Evie64 no bathing or hair washing, my mother was a strict disciplinarian so no disobeying her.
I was told not to mention my period to any men including my father, I wasn't given any information either, just that I would be 'poorly' once a month.

I remember the awful pink belt and huge pads which had to be wrapped in newspaper and burned. I have to say though I was very glad of huge pads when I had fibroids in later life.

Oopsadaisy3 Tue 16-Jun-20 09:04:45

Same here Evie until I went to a friends house and her Mum said it wasn’t something that she had heard before, so I went straight home and washed my hair and had a bath, nothing bad happened ........mind you my Mum was the youngest of 13 and I think all of her siblings superstitions got passed down to her, don’t let knives cross, cover the mirrors in a thunderstorm, no new shoes on the table, don’t pass on the stairs, I’m sure I could remember more.
Sad thing is that if I inadvertently put new shoes on the table it really freaks me out and I do try not to let knives cross each other!

allium Tue 16-Jun-20 09:10:05

Thank goodness for tampons and other modern sanitary items!

harrigran Tue 16-Jun-20 09:16:51

Never heard any old wives tales, didn't hear anything to be honest, mother didn't mention things like that. I was working when my periods started so was really quite old.
DD attended an independent girls' school and we were required to ensure our girls had full knowledge of menstruation before entering year seven.

Cabbie21 Tue 16-Jun-20 09:23:55

My mum did not tell me anything, but she knew we had been told about periods at school. When I started, I called her to me in the outside loo(!) and she said, oh you’ve got a pain, and fetched the belt and pads. Never discussed again. She told me where supplies were kept, and if we were close to running out, I had to ask her for some more “things”.
It was much later aged 17, when I was staying with a friend that I discovered she was going to have a bath even though she was on her period. Such a surprise!

lovebeigecardigans1955 Tue 16-Jun-20 09:24:39

Mum gave us a leaflet about periods and in the nick of time too as I started a few months later. This leaflet was put away in the enormous sideboard (along with bills going back to 1946) and I was told that I could ask about it and read it again any time, "but not in front of your dad or he'll be angry" - ridiculous. All so shameful and hush-hush.

Those traditional STs and belts were so uncomfortable - the only good thing was that we could get off swimming which I loathed. We still had to play sport though and we'd worry about the lumpy pads showing due to the shame about everyone knowing - like it was a dirty secret.

We were advised not to have a bath and wash our hair for the duration as it we'd get a bad cold. We persuaded mum that it was an old wives' tale, "oh all right then," so we did and nothing happened.

There were some weird and contradictory attitudes in those days. Grandma (very Victorian) said that she didn't know what was happening to her and thought she was dying when she began her periods. We got a bit of sex education at school which she thought 'was a bit rum.'

merlotgran Tue 16-Jun-20 09:36:17

My mother told me absolutely nothing.

I got my sex education from schoolfriends. When I asked my mother about periods she stepped back in horror and said, 'Don't ask me, I'm not a scientist!!' grin

When she noticed I'd bought my first pack of STs from Boots she sighed and warned me not to let boys 'tamper' with me. hmm

EllanVannin Tue 16-Jun-20 09:38:18

I was old enough at 13 to know what was happening, which was just as well because mum never uttered a word, except that I must keep myself clean at all times ? Which I did anyway.

When her and her sister, my aunt, got together, it was like a Cissie and Ada scenario and I knew they were talking about my periods starting grin

Alexa Tue 16-Jun-20 09:43:12

I started when I was ten years old and I was aware of my mother's worry it was unusually young. she was entirely nice about the sanitary belt and pad as she had bought me nice little pink STs which she had laid out on the spare room bed.

DanniRae Tue 16-Jun-20 10:00:20

I was 14 and my mum was really sweet about it. Told me where the pads were and where to put the used ones BUT I hated it when she said every month "You'll be due on soon". I wanted to keep it to myself.

paddyanne Tue 16-Jun-20 10:45:41

My mother and my two sisters told me the facts of life when I was 10 including the period talk and why we had periods .They weren't a minute too soon as I started before I was 11,I always had troublesome periods ,very painful and heavy and it did bother me that I had to carry pads in my schoolbag in case the boys(primary school) got hold of them .Secondary school wasn't a problem it was girls only .
Just two weeks ago among the home schooling instructions was sex education for my daughters 9 year old .My daughter has a great relationship with her children so it wasn't a problem ,wee miss's dad thought she probably knew it all anyway and asked her .She told him she "knew everything" Mum decided to give her the talk anyway .It turned out she didn't know much and was horrified by it ,she 's quite a character and phoned me to tell me how traumatised she is by it all and how disgusting it is and how she will never do THAT ,ans granny I really need some chocolate to get over

Sparklefizz Tue 16-Jun-20 11:57:11

sodapop ^Same here Evie64 no bathing or hair washing, my mother was a strict disciplinarian so no disobeying her.
I was told not to mention my period to any men including my father, I wasn't given any information either, just that I would be 'poorly' once a month. I remember the awful pink belt and huge pads which had to be wrapped in newspaper and burned.^

Did we share the same mother??

Jane43 Tue 16-Jun-20 12:07:03

I was lucky, my Mum encouraged me to have a bath at that time to be more hygienic. Yes I remember the horrible sanitary belts and the way the towels used to chafe when we had hockey every Friday afternoon. There were old wives’ tales though, the strangest I heard from a classmate was that if you touched raw meat at that time of the month the meat went rotten. I told my mother and she laughed and said it was a load of rubbish.

mumofmadboys Tue 16-Jun-20 12:07:26

Those belts and STs were gross. I soon found you could buy stick on pads. So much better but my mum refused to buy such expensive ones and I remember buying my own!!!

annsixty Tue 16-Jun-20 12:18:14

Just a slight digression but on the same subject, did/does anyone ever use a moon/lily cup?
They sound quite gross to me and seem very difficult to get used to.
I should say this is not something I would be considering, that ship sailed long ago.

henetha Tue 16-Jun-20 12:36:25

I was told absolutely nothing about periods, so to wake up with blood one morning was a huge shock. When I told my mother she simply cut up an old sheet into strips and told me to tie bias binding around my waist and tie each end of the strips to that. She told me I must never discuss the 'curse' with anyone. And never to wash my hair, or bath, or ride my bike during it.
The strips would be put to soak in an enamel bucket with a lid and then I had to wash them for re-use. I continued to use torn up sheets for almost two years until I eventually confided in an older friend and she used to buy Dr.White's for me until I plucked up the courage to buy them for myself.

sodapop Tue 16-Jun-20 12:46:11

Oh henetha that must have been awful for you. I'm 74 but pads were available when I was a teen. Your friend was kind.

sodapop Tue 16-Jun-20 12:48:55

My mother was older than average Sparklefizz and very old fashioned, sounds like your Mum was too.

henetha Tue 16-Jun-20 12:53:34

Thank sodapop. Yes, I had a very 'interesting ' childhood' one way and another. I'm 82, and my goodness how times have changed . I could write a book!