Brunella Bibbo is a company director based in West Chiltington, U.K. Originally from Fano, Italy, Bruny contributed to our Periods Around the World series, where we’re aiming to demystify periods everywhere.
How old were you when you first got your period and what was that experience like?
I was nearly 14 years old. I was at school and waited until school got out and my friend went to a shop to buy me some sanitary towels. I used to carry them with me, just in case, but that day for some reason I didn’t have them with me. I was very excited as nearly all my friends had theirs. I was ready.
In your community, is there much weight given to a girl getting her period? Any rituals or traditions?
I don’t think there are any rituals in Italy. When I was young though I remember not being allowed to help with making passata or sorting the meat when we used to kill our pig once a year. It was a common belief, especially in Southern Italy, that food would go off very quickly. So, since we killed the pig once a year and it had to last for the year, women on their period couldn’t handle it because it had to last.
Do you remember the first product(s) you used to manage your period?
Yes they were very thick sanitary napkins. Thank God these days the products are very slim! It felt like you had a pillow down there!
How has your experience with your period changed over time?
It hasn’t changed much, hormones always surprise me though…every time!
Have you tried or do you use different products to manage your period now?
I have used tampax in the past and I still do when I am on holiday but not very often as I had once a really uncomfortable episode of cramps due to using them while I was doing some swimming…apparently my doctor at the time told me that few girls experienced it.
Do you have any special rituals, like a hot bath, using essential oils, or eating certain foods during the week you’re menstruating, that help you manage your period?
I try to eat dry apricots and to drink iron water to help me with iron. I feel really hungry few days before and I go with it. I also go for a walk if I feel cramps coming..it really helps.
Do you have any advice for a girl who has just gotten her period?
Yes walk, as much as you can…good for the mind and for the cramps. Also enjoy it as it is a sign of being healthy and hopefully one day able to bear children.