The day I started my menstrual period, I thought I was dying. Although I lived with my parents, and two older sisters, no one had prepared me for the changes my body was going through and certainly not what a period was, and what I was suppose to do with it. I was so unprepared for that change that my emotions took a huge hit that day! I guess parenting tips were just something that people didn’t share back then.
How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Period
I will never forget that day when my period started, and the events surrounding it.
Our family was preparing to go to a birthday party for a neighbor, and we still had our evening things to do for dinner before going. I hadn’t felt very good in my stomach that day, but didn’t say anything because I thought that my mom wouldn’t let me go to the party.
About an hour before dinner, I went to the bathroom and instantly, I thought I was going to die because I had never heard of anyone bleeding like this. I knew that I was sick, and that I needed to tell my mom.
Crying hysterically, I told my mom, expecting some kind of commotion to save my life.
Instead, she hands me the largest bandaid that I have ever seen and told me to put it on. That is it… a bandaid! As well as where to find more of them, and how I needed to change them often.
Like all bandaids I have ever seen, I applied the sticky part to my skin, and went to my bed to cry because even my own mother wasn’t bothered that I was dying.
Listening to my mother, I went to change the bandaid often to only find that the bleeding was getting worse and how horrible it hurt to remove those bandaids!
My sister finally found me, on my death bed, crying that no one loved me and wondering if they would even notice when I died or if the party would go on as normal.
As all big sisters do, she explained to me that I wasn’t dying but that I started my period. She continued to say that I will have this happen every month, and it isn’t anything to be afraid of.
When I finally calmed down, I asked her why the bandaids had to hurt so much and if there was a way to make it easier to change.
She laughed so hard when I told her how I had applied these ‘bandaids’ and further educated me on the proper applying and name of the feminine pads.
When we went to the party that evening, I thought everyone knew. I felt so awkward that I just wanted to go home.
As I share my story with other women with daughters, I do it to help them understand what it is like for a naive girl to find out about this on her own, and how traumatic it really can be to them.
It doesn’t have to be, with just a few things in place.
Knowledge Is Power
Change can be a scary thing. It is the unknown that often gets most of us. In all of my own life experiences, the more I know about something new, the easier it was for me to go through.
From child birth, dental procedures, surgeries, seizures caused by fevers and more were all made less stressful because I was given knowledge to know how to handle this new experience.
There is a calm that comes with knowledge.
Share With Excitement
My daughter was well prepared for the day she started her period because I didn’t want her to go through what I did. I decided that I wanted her to be excited about the day her body started its path to womanhood.
She knew what feminine pads were, and how to use them.
We made plans that the day it happened, we would go out on a mother/daughter date to celebrate the start of her womanhood. It seemed like the perfect way to build excitement around what could be an emotional day for a girl.
Eliminate All Myths
Girls and their imaginations can come up with all kinds of myths and believe them.
Things like believing that everyone will know the moment they start because they now have a different look. That isn’t true, so be sure to let them know that people don’t know when someone has their period unless they tell people.
In addition to thinking that they look different, they may think that people will think differently about them. Ensure your daughter that no one will ever think differently of a person because of a natural change that all women experience.
Explain the Limitations
Having your daughter understand that with a period there may be limitations to what is normal for her.
This may include bleeding heavier when running or being active. Let her know that during that time, she may want to try a heavier absorbent feminine pad, verses a regular one that would be just fine any other time.
Swimming may not be an option, unless you feel comfortable sharing tampons knowledge with her.
You may also want to explain how a period could also cause mood swings and possibly even stomach cramps. Always provide a solution for your daughter to reassure her that there are options to any of the limitations she may experience.
Teach Her How to Track Her Period
Not all girls understand how important it is to track the start of each period. Some girls experience lapses in their period and they become irregular.
The more she understand how important this is for many health reasons, the more of a habit it will become.
Start this Talk Early
Don’t wait until your daughter is in her teens, because many girls today are starting at 9 and 10 years old.
Start discussing the changes as soon as you are ready, but especially when your daughter is approaching 9 year old, because the last thing you desire is for her to think she is dying. Trust me on that one!