When her 11-year-old daughter got her period for the first time this past January, Jade Powell leapt into mom mode. She offered supplies, and words of support. And a couple of days later, she started planning a period party — one that's now going viral on TikTok.
The married Arizona mother of four tells Yahoo Life that she felt the urge to host a celebration in honor of daughter Akemi's menstrual milestone after recalling comedian Bert Kreischer's stand-up bit about his daughter throwing her own first period party, complete with a red velvet cake and two unsuspecting boys among the invited guests.
Held back in February, Akemi's coming-of-age celebration didn't include any boys, but only, Powell notes, because the preteen doesn't count any among her inner circle of friends. But the family did invite over a handful of other girls to enjoy on-theme treats — a droplet of blood fashioned out of cupcakes and red frosting, a crimson-hued chocolate fondue fountain — and tie-dye T-shirts featuring "grl pwr" logos designed by Powell, who has her own Etsy shop. Guests went home with mini period kits, while Akemi was gifted an assortment of feminine hygiene products, pimple cover-up patches, the book Celebrate Your Body and a heating pad to help ease menstrual cramps. But beyond that, the food and a generous sprinkling of handmade blood droplet and uterus confetti, the gathering — branded as a "first moon party" — didn't fixate on the topic of periods.
"I never talked to anybody about anything," Powell says. "That's not really what the party was about; it was just about having fun and celebrating being a girl."
It wasn't until the end of April that Powell got around to posting footage of the period party on TikTok. She and Akemi are still stunned that the first TikTok — soundtracked by Kreischer's comedy routine — has racked up nearly 10 million views, and a flood of (mostly supportive) comments.
"It's crazy," she says of going viral. "I think about 80, 85% of the people are positive about it. People are like, 'Oh, man, that's such a great idea, I want to do that,' or they say that I'm an awesome mom for doing it. And then the rest are like, 'Ew, that's gross, why would you do that?' — that kind of thing. I just ignore those."
Since having the party, Akemi says she's been approached by other friends for advice when they get their own periods. It's a role the fifth-grader seems to take pride in. Though she says she "expected" to get her period one day, she hadn't yet received any sex education through school, and hadn't discussed much about puberty with her mom prior to going through it herself.
"Honestly, I thought I had another year or two," Powell says of discussing periods with Akemi, who is the oldest of her four kids. That first period has paved the way for more candid conversations, something that Powell hopes will be more affirming than her own experience, which basically amounted to raiding her older sisters' bathroom cupboard and figuring things out on her own.
"I definitely did not go to my mom; I don't think I ever told my mom," she says, adding that she's trying to be "a lot more open" with her own kids in hopes of removing the stigma and fear surrounding this important rite of passage.
"If my generation doesn't start [destigmatizing periods], then it's never going to start," she says. "If I start with her, then [Akemi] can do it with her children, with her little sisters and her friends, and then there won't be the kids who are scared and not know what to do. I remember being in a bathroom and not having any supplies, [thinking], What do I do? And I was scared to talk to my friends about it. I would take my shirt and tie it around my waist, afraid that something was going to come through. And I don't want her or her friends to experience that. "
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