It’s not every day that your daughter gets her first period. When I think about my period, well it’s a funny story.
I was staining underwear after underwear and couldn’t understand what was going on and why each one of them was turning brown. By that point in my life, I already knew about menstruation – all the technical stuff, the biology of it. I knew that it was when blood comes out of your vagina every month, breaking down your uterine lining. You know, the basics. However, my mother missed a little detail about the different colours of menstrual blood, brown being one of them. I had always imagined that my period blood would look like the blood that would come out of my knees every time I would scrape them.
I remember complaining to my mother about how somebody was painting my underwear brown – there was obviously no other explanation! She smiled, sat me down on the edge of my bed and went to bring me a pad. She then showed me how to put it on my underwear, told me about how often I should change and answered all my absurd questions that followed.
However, as I mentioned, I was equipped with a fair amount of information before I got my first period. The only reason that was possible was that there was always open communication at home and the freedom to ask questions about anything without any awkwardness.
So here’s my bit of advice, allow your children to ask questions, in fact, encourage it! Insist on open communication and advocate openness and honesty in discussions. Communication makes things exponentially easier for all involved and will be a great help in terms of mental, physical, emotional and sexual health.
Garner an environment in your house where your child isn’t shy, scared or embarrassed to ask you anything and be open to discussing it. After all, it’s our bodies and it’s natural!
1. Create an atmosphere where communication is always encouraged.
2. Keep your children informed, tell them what will happen to their bodies and assure them that you’re there to explain anything that they may not understand at first.
3. Always be open to questions and discussions.