Is Your Daughter Prepared For Her First Period?
I remember as a kid in school the famous ‘ghost stories’ that circulated. Spots of blood on the floor of the girl’s lavatory once in a while gave wings to horror imaginations of seven-year-olds. The whispering of a ghost lurking in the shadows spewing blood on toilet floors was a scary prospect. Looking back, there was, of course, a perfectly scientific explanation to it.
Menstruation or commonly called periods are an inevitable part of every girl’s life. Only if at seven someone told us that the blood spots were from no ghost! They were a monthly biological reality of our bodies and that very soon we too would be turning into the blood oozing fairies, not ‘ghosts’. Because ghosts, if there are any, prefer sucking the elixir of life, unlike periods, that are a sign of preparing the body to give birth.
For The Uninitiated, Here’s Why Women Bleed
At puberty, the ovaries begin to release the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help build the lining of the uterus which is made ready for a fertilized egg. If there is no fertilized egg, the lining breaks and bleeds out in the form of a period. It takes usually around a month for the uterus lining to build and break up, causing periods to be repeated every once a month.
Most girls get their first period between the ages of 10 to 15 which brings us to the big question. How to talk to young girls about their first period? How to prepare them and make them comfortable with their body changes?
The founder of SHEROES, Sairee Chahal, as you know loves interacting with the mahilayein of our community. In one of her posts hashtagged #PeriodTalk, Sairee asked all the community mommies ‘what is a good way to prepare young girls for first time periods?’ and you opened up wonderfully. Sharing tips to kick out the awkwardness when talking about the big P.
Begin The Conversation
Talking about periods has been considered a taboo in many societies. This is strange considering that an average woman spends almost an eighth of her life menstruating.
However, it is most important to talk to your daughter or young girls about their first period. This helps to break the ice at the very beginning, making it clear that talking and being aware of one’s body is imperative knowledge. It also helps pave the way for seamless conversations about other future aspects of a woman’s life, such as intercourse, pregnancies, and contraception.
As a mother, it is important to begin this conversation. Your daughter needs your advice and experience to handle and step into a crucial stage of her life.
Unsurprisingly, talking to a teenaged daughter about this subject may be a tad bit too late. This is because, with the vast resources of information already available, your daughter has probably figured out quite a bit. The key is, whether she has understood the biology of her body correctly or if she has read up authentic information.
That is why you need to begin this conversation much earlier. At around the age of eight or nine, introduce the idea in subtle ways to your daughter so she gets a gist of what to expect of her body. The last thing you want is your daughter to totally panic on the sight of blood on her underwear.
How To Introduce And Sustain Talks About Periods?
Luckily, there are many ways in which you can bring up the menstruation talk to the forefront. You do not need to make your nine-year-old sit and ready her for a long class on the biology of her body.
Instead use subtle ways to begin the conversation, such as watching ads or shopping for pads. Make the discussion open and seamless for her to be able to question back her doubts.
Begin by asking her if she knows what the pads are for or if she has heard about periods from her friends. Chances are that your daughter may have already got the hints but is quite not able to put the pieces together.
Some Pointers To Keep In Mind While Having The Period Talk With Your Daughter:
#1. Do Not Be Uncomfortable
Do not be vague or shy about the subject. State the facts as clearly as possible and talk about it in a matter of fact way. Make her get the idea that it is a perfectly natural phenomenon and there is no need to be ashamed or worried.
#2. Be Positive, Yet Reasonable
Prepare her for the changes in her body. Let her know that menstruating can be uncomfortable; there might be cramps and moodiness. But these changes occur for only a few days and pass over soon. Be encouraging and positive ensuring your daughter that it is alright to take time to come to terms with it, but eventually she will be able to get a grip on it.
#3. Share Your Own Experiences
This will give your daughter an honest understanding of what to expect and how to deal with it.
#4. Answer Her Questions
It is natural that your daughter will be curious to know more. Read and brush up your own knowledge to be in a position to answer her queries. Direct her to useful videos or books to make things clearer for her.
#5. Do Not Treat The Period Talk As A One-time Conversation
You have to reinforce and keep bringing up the talk over the course of time. Since periods are going to be a part of your daughter’s life for more than her 25 years, it is best to let the conversation around and about it be seamless and easy going. Your daughter should be able to talk to you about it at any time without having to feel awkward.
The period talk is but a stepping stone to many such conversations in the future. Your daughter needs to get the confidence from you that she can talk to you about absolutely anything.
Talking about periods can, in fact, be a great way to cement the bonds of a mother-daughter relation.
Here's How To Prepone Or Postpone Your Periods
What To Do When Your Daughter Gets Her First Period?
The first period can be both exciting and frightening. For girls who are familiar with the process or have friends who have already begun their menstruation cycle, getting the first period can be quite thrilling. It means joining the club finally! On the other hand, if your daughter gets her periods sooner than her friends or if she is not prepared for it at all, the outcome can be different.
Young girls on getting their first period may be scared and ashamed. They might feel a whirlwind of emotions and extreme outbursts, such as moodiness or crying for no reason. They might quite literally be on the edge trying to grapple with the new body changes. As a mother, first, you need to understand the swell of emotions your daughter is feeling and give her support and time to get over them.
The first period also often brings forth a barrage of insecurities and questions. Talking and knowing about periods is quite different from actually getting them. Common concerns, such as how long will the period last or will others know I have a period, are often on the mind of girls.
Below are some practical conversations that will help mothers answer their daughter’s common period queries.
What Should I Do When I Have My First Period?
Be happy about entering a new phase of your life. Stock up the pads and get used to and adjust with this new development. It might be uncomfortable wearing the pads initially but slowly you will manage. You may feel odd or a bit awkward, give it some time and sure enough you will be alright soon.
How Long Will My Period Last?
Usually, a period stops by the fifth or sixth day. However, it may vary from girl to girl. You will understand your cycle after a few months and will know what to expect.
Will Anyone Know That I Am On My Period?
Not unless you specifically tell someone. There is no telling if someone is having a period or not. Yes, there might be mood changes and slight irritation, but these are common emotions that we all go through even otherwise.
Also, during the early periods, there might be chances of staining. This is not uncommon or embarrassing since you are still learning to adjust with pads or understanding your blood flow.
How Do I Prepare When I Am On A Period?
A pad usually lasts for 2-4 hours. If you are out, make sure to carry an extra pad with you. You can change anytime you feel uncomfortable.
What Do I Do If I Stain Myself?
Excuse yourself and head for the washroom. Carry an extra change of underwear and pads during the initial period days. Change yourself and wash up the stained portion.
It might make you feel like running away or hiding your face, however, do none of these. Do not be embarrassed and move on.
Will My Periods Come Once Every Month?
Usually, a period would come once a month, though the time span may vary initially. It may take around 2 years for the menstruation cycle to become regular. Each girl has different biology and some girls may have an irregular cycle. In that case, do consult a gynaecologist.
I Am Losing So Much Blood And My Stomach Aches
Though it may seem a lot, the blood loss is harmless. Most of it is the uterus lining and clots are also commonly seen. For cramps and aches, try using hot water bags or visit the doctor for safe painkillers. Again hopefully over time, you will be able to manage the pain and cramp.
Can I Swim, Run And Play Games?
Yes, of course. Using tampons and pads you can carry on with your daily routine even when you are on your periods. Again, each body differs from the other and you will definitely be able to find the right balance in yours.
Periods are important to discuss with your daughter because she needs to be informed and prepared. At the same time, soothing and being there for her emotionally during her first periods helps her to cross over the anxiety and questions with ease and love.
Young teenage girls are mulling over various changes and periods are one of the most drastic changes that take over. Talking about it makes it less complicated for sure.
What is your take on this topic?
How did you talk to your daughter about her first period?
Tell us in the comments below and kickstart conversations in our community that matter to you and women at large.
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S*****Nice article, useful for all mommies, thanks
S*****Very useful information given. Thanks ma'am.
G*****Shared very important and useful information. In general, people try to avoid these type of topics to discuss but they are very important . Thank you for sharing the information.
M*****Such a fabulous, mindful guide.
S*****Well written and description
D*****Very nice write up and explained clearly.. it will be helpful for all mother's can define to their daughter's.. thanks a lot for sharing us..
S*****So well written and described here ...periods are painful but do beautifies the womanhood....and our youngbirds should know this ....thank you for sharing this...
M*****Very helpful information explained in simple way .👍
N*****Wonderful comprehensive article. Thank you.
S*****Thank you Soo much such a good information mam