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As I get older I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have a mother who is open and honest with me and my siblings. Going to my first smear test as someone who has not had sex, did make me extremely nervous and slightly nauseous.
From a young age I remember my mum encouraging both me and my sister to know and understand our bodies. There was awkward conversations about masturbation and knowing how it all works downstairs and what it looks like. Now that I am older and the one embarrassing my mum with my own tales, I get why she said what she said. Having an understanding of your body allows you to really be in tune with yourself, if something feels off, you’ll know about it. It’s important to know when things aren’t normal for you.
Although I was nervous and uncomfortable about the thought of being naked from the waist down in front of a stranger, I was pretty glad it was a black woman, even though I think she could of been a tad more gentle with me. I was very aware of the fact that she’s seen it all before. I wasn’t really worried about what she thought of what it looked like, I understand that it’s a privilege to be in a position where I am comfortable with the way my body looks, not all of the time but I think I can be when I need to be. I can’t tell anybody else how to feel or what they should be worried about, all I can say is it’s okay to be nervous and it’s okay to feel unsure about what your vulva looks like.
Everything you need to know about your first smear test
A smear test checks the health of your cervix. It is an important test as it can that help to prevent cervical cancer.
All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 will receive a letter encouraging you to book an appointment for your smear test. Your first smear test is typically a few months before your 25th Birthday, then you will have a smear test every 3 years.
The procedure is over in a matter of seconds, the nurse will collect a small sample of cells from your cervix. The sample will then be tested for any changes to the cells – You will get your results posted to you within 2 weeks.
If any abnormal changes are found the early screening allows for close monitoring and treatment, to minimise the chances of it turning into cervical cancer.
I tried to mentally prepare myself for the pending awkwardness. Having a stranger in such close proximity to your goodies can be daunting and intimidating. I reminded myself that whoever it is it has seen it all before.
Setting the appointment was simple, I was a little taken back when I called up to rearrange my appointment, as I had missed my first one. They only went and told me they had a slot for me that same day, which didn’t give me much time to prepare myself, but I said yes before I gave myself too much time to make up an excuse.
Before I was asked to remove the bottom half of my clothes, I was asked if I knew why I am having a smear test, plus a few questions regarding my last period.
I had this plan that I would distract myself with my phone, but of cause I left my phone in my coat pocket which was on the other side of the room, so that plan failed. I thought I could do the whole mind over matter thing, but when it came down to the procedure it was uncomfortable and slightly painful, which meant she did have to stop and start again.
The nurse did talk me through what she was doing, making sure I was aware of what was happening and what I would be feeling.
I was told it was a quick procedure and you guys weren’t lying. It would of been quicker if I hadn’t tensed up, but overall it was over quickly, if I was to count to ten I would of only made it to 5 before she said “that’s it, I’m done“.
Once it was all over I was told when I would expect to hear about my results.
A few things I was aware of afterwards was the feeling of being very aware of what had just happened downstairs. I felt a little nauseous afterwards so I would advise eating something before. Also it did mess with my ph balance for the first day, after that it was fine, I put it down to it possibly being a reaction to the lubricant they used.
Women are avoiding smear tests because they’re worried their vaginas aren’t normal – Cosmopolitan
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women do not recognise the term ‘cervical screening’ – Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust
Smear tests: Everything you need to know about cervical cancer screening – The Independent