A friend of mine told me her story of starting her mensuration early. Living in a small conservative town, she didn’t have access to much information on what was happening and why. All of her worlds answers before had been provided on the pretext of God; what’s bad in the eyes of god gets punished what’s good gets rewarded. A typical child’s world full of blacks and whites. When she started menstruating she filtered this experience with the same view. Her parents tried to explain what it was and what she had to do and expect now that it started, the part where it is natural, and a part of a girl’s life did not stick. So great was her belief that god is punishing her for something, she spent the next two years hiding her periods like a trained Russian spy. Although this story is narrated now with a lot of disbelief at the ridiculousness. But it is also indicative of the extreme shame and secrecy in which we double and triple wrap this topic.
The way we talk to our sons and daughter, about these traditionally uncomfortable topics, will set the way they then see themselves and the people around them. A child as we can see has a very simplistic innocent view of life. They will believe everything you tell them as truth. I say this not to deter or create unnecessary pressure on how you decide to handle the topic, but just to encourage you to think about what you will say beforehand.
Its best to have the conversation before your daughter gets her period than after. More often than not I have heard girls telling me they got to know what periods are after they had had their first period, and not before so its best to prepare them than inform them later.
So, what questions do you need to address some are as follows-
During puberty you child will go through many changes but the most significant one is going to be her first period. Periods are part of the menstrual cycle, which affects hormone levels in the ovaries and the uterus.
Th scientific definition of a menstrual cycle is “Every month, the lining of your uterus (womb) gets thicker with tissue and your ovaries release an egg (called an ovum). If a sperm fertilizes the egg, the tissue stays where it is to help with pregnancy. But if the egg isn’t fertilized, your body sheds the tissue through the vagina. That tissue is the blood you see and this monthly process is called menstruation.”
In a simpler language after your ovaries release the egg and it isn’t fertilized, your uterus is going to shed the egg which will lead to you bleeding out of your vagina. From the jargon heavy text above its hard to give a clear picture of what will happen that’s why its important to be direct and put it out there that blood will flow but it will be completely normal and your body will be fine.
Most girls get their period between the age of 11-14 but it can also start as early as 8 years old or late as 16 years old. If the periods don’t start still 16 years of age it’s a good idea to consult a gynaecologist now.
The average time to bleed is between four or five days, but your period could last from three to eight days. Again, everyone’s different. So, don’t be worried if the days vary in the start. Your period is part of your menstrual cycle so it comes once every 28 days and in the start its bound to be irregular so don’t worry about the 28 day rule.
No, a woman stops having her period usually between the ages of 45 and 51 when she starts menopause.
Periods itself don’t hurt, but some girls get cramps or other symptoms during their periods that may be painful. This is typically due to the hormones your body releases during menstruation, some amount of cramps are completely normal and it won’t stop you from going out and having a completely ordinary day.
Definitely YES! There are a lot of taboos and rumours around this that you should not bathe during your periods and you don’t need to listen to age old superstitions. It’s important to keep yourself fresh and clean regardless whether you are on your period or not.
NO. Your period can’t’ stop you from going out and doing anything you want. You can go to school, go to your friend’s house, play sports (Yes, even swimming) and believe it or not a prayer place too.
Depending on your activity you have to choose your Intimate hygiene product. Think of it like this during winters you aren’t going to be wearing half shirts outside? The same way according to your activity you choose the product.
This is a question that’s bound to rise up whether it happens during that conversation or a later one so explains that boys change in different ways during puberty, like the deepening of their voices and the growth of facial hair. For a girl getting her period means she can have a baby the power to create life. Periods occur in girls just because a girl has a uterus something boys don’t have.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) includes physical and emotional changes like mood swings, irritability, tension, bloating, and breast tenderness) that can occur during the time right before some girls get their periods. But girls usually don’t develop symptoms associated with PMS until several years after menstruation starts — if ever.
It is important to be frank, and comfortable while talking about periods, to not hesitate while using words like, blood, pads, changing body everything. Show her what a pad is, how to put it on her underwear, discuss period hygiene. But to do it in a way that your daughter will understand and not be horrified is the trick. You being the parent know your child the best, how sensitive, frank, introverted or extroverted they are, my advice is to keep having these conversations with your child early on, your daughter will then be used to it. Once you have built this foundation of conversation and understanding, you will find it relatively easy to talk about body and mind changing issues, like periods, puberty and sexual health.
I myself relied on science and can only tell you to not do that, my conversation was so jargon heavy I think by the end I managed to confuse myself as well. I wish you the best, and encourage you to share your experiences in talking to your daughter or if someone talked to you in a way that it helped please share that as well, so we can all learn and grow together.