When I was 7 years old, I was the quiet one. I used to hang out with my friends and cousins, and I would always be the reliable “gatekeeper” of the stories and secrets that they would tell me.
That year was a close relative’s wedding. All the guests were super excited. The chuppah was amazing, and then my mother pulled me to the side. She said, go into that room and stay there with the kallah and chatan, hang out with them for a bit, and don’t tell anybody.
I felt like a VIP. The kallah and chatan invited me to their special room? I was floored! There were crowds of people by the door who were joyfully singing and dancing, and the chattan and kalla gracefully entered the yichud room. I ran in just before the doors were closing, and I remember people trying to hold me back, saying “don’t go in!!”. But I did! And in the room, I snacked, joked with my family member and her new husband, hung out with the newlyweds. . And I never told a soul – as my mom had requested.
Fast forward to high school. We were learning about yichud and shmirat negiah, and our teacher told us a bit about the yichud room. My heart dropped to my toes. My special “VIP” session with the chatan and kallah was not what I thought it was. I was the shomeret. AKA the third wheel in the room. I became red in the face from the realization, and ended up sharing my experience with the class.
When it was my turn to get married, having a chuppat niddah experience was my biggest fear. I tried birth control, I got off birth control, I got back on it, I went to three OBGYN appointments, I took pills to push off my period, etc… But no matter what I did, I had an underlying feeling that I would also be having a chuppat niddah.
My wedding was scheduled for a Monday. My period came on Shabbat day. I remember it like it happened yesterday. We were eating Shabbat lunch at a good friend’s house, and I felt it. I ran downstairs and burst into tears. My mother was amazing, and on motzei Shabbat, when I was supposed to go to the mikveh, we took a detour to our Rabbi’s house. Underwear in tow.
The Rabbi was amazing and so, so sensitive. He turned around, so it would be less awkward, and took a quick peek at the “evidence”, turned back to me, and told me I was good to go. No chuppat niddah.
I was floored. And relieved. I had been so sure the answer would be the one I didn’t want.
As a kallah, your first niddah and mikveh experience sticks with you. And I was honored to have an amazing support system.