It’s true: Getting your first period is a big deal! However, waiting around for it to actually happen can bring about all kinds of different emotions. You might be nervous one minute, curious the next, confused another time, embarrassed, or even excited — all of which are completely normal feelings.

When we caught up with Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, she told us that when she was growing up, she couldn’t stop thinking about when she might get hers. “It was always on my mind,” she opens up to J-14. “I always wondered when it was actually going to happen to me because all of my friends ended up getting their period before I did.”

For Aly, not being able to experience that with her besties made her feel a little left out. “I remember being happy for them, but thinking that I couldn’t wait until I got mine too … I was just so excited to get my period!” she admits. “It’s kind of funny looking back now, but I couldn’t wait to get it. I just thought it’d be the coolest thing.”

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Then, one morning at school, Aly says it finally happened — she got her period! “It was 9:35 in the
morning during my freshman year of high school, and I went to the bathroom and realized my period had started!” she recalls. “I was 14 at the time and I remember sitting in my history class that day and just being so excited about it! It’s definitely something I’ll never forget.”

Aly says she was so happy that she finally had her period that she couldn’t wait to tell her friends all about it. “I told one of my best friends about it right away!” she says. “I just couldn’t keep it to myself. It was something I was so proud of.” However, even though Aly was completely open to sharing her experience with her friends and thrilled about getting her period when she was younger, she knows that that’s not the case for every girl. “I wish more girls looked forward to getting their period like I did,” she tells J-14. “But everyone is different.”

So if you’re feeling worried about getting your period, Aly wants you to know that it’ll all be OK — and there’s nothing you should be scared of. “Everyone goes through moments when they feel awkward or insecure about their body, but it’s exciting to grow up and to become more like a woman,” she explains. “I think it’s important to embrace the changes you go through and to not be afraid to talk about them with your friends or family because every girl experiences their period at one point or another — it’s a totally natural thing! It’s something that should be celebrated and something you should look forward to when you’re growing up.”

Interview and story by Morgan McMurrin. "Aly Raisman confesses: 'I couldn't wait to get my period!'" originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of J-14.

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