If your gorgeous daughter or any young woman you know is about to get her period or has already started, this article is for you!
Menarche is the time when a young women first begins to bleed. This is a profound time in a girls life which for centuries, was celebrated and honored, and in some families, is still done today.
In todays fast paced consumerism society a lot of us have forgotten the importance of celebrating a females changing body as she blossoms into womanhood.
It is important for your daughter to have easy access to information about the changes that are taking place in her body during this important time in her life so that she can feel educated and empowered about what is taking place inside of her.
Well-rounded education on menarche and puberty is likely to boost a girl's self esteem, helping her have a positive body image and respect for herself and others.
The best way to help prepare your daughter with the changes she will be experiencing and maybe already is, is to have several open discussions with her. Opening up the space with comfortable communication will help your daughter feel comfortable with herself and safe talking with you. This helps set up and maintain a strong foundation of trust and support for your relationship which will benefit you both for a lifetime!
If your daughter is close to getting her period, talk about some of the nitty gritty details; about the physical changes her body will be going through such as sprouting underarm and pubic hair, swelling breasts that may feel sore from time to time, growing hips, body odor and acne.
Talk to her about the importance of self care with her daily self hygiene routine. Let her know about her brain and hormonal changes that are taking place during puberty. You can look up on youtube a helpful video with good information on what is happening and watch it together.
Gently let her know that all of these changes, emotional, physical and mental, are normal and that whatever she is feeling is perfectly ok. If she is needing further support, seek out an appropriate therapist or doctor.
Let her know that you are here for her to talk to about anything. If she comes to you with any questions that you're unsure of, let her know you don't know, do some research and get back to her on the topic.
Share with her the story of when you started your menstrual cycle and the changes you remember going through, and remember, a sense of humor really helps! Contemplate on how you may have wanted your experience to be different.
Ask your daughter how she would like to celebrate her menarche. Be it having a special meal together with family and friends or just the two of you, baking her a red chocolate velvet cake, wearing all red, giving her a foot bath with rose petals and essential oils, getting her a massage, flowers, a special gift, a book on the menstrual cycle.. something simple and genuine, acknowledging her rite of passage from girl to young woman.. It is important for this threshold in her life to be recognized, no matter how 'big' or 'small' her menarche celebration may be.
Share some practical tips. Get her different menstrual products so she has choices such as cotton and cloth pads, tampons, and the menstrual cup. Let her know that she does not have to wear a tampon if she does not want to. Also let her know that if she chooses to wear tampons how to insert them and that she needs to replace them frequently to avoid Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
Ask her what she would like to do if she gets her period at school. Is there a person, preferably a female teacher or counselor that she can go to if she wants? Will she have menstrual products in her locker or handbag? Will she keep an extra pair of underwear and pants with her? Will you or someone else be able to pick her up if she wants to come home?
Prepare a menstrual care basket with her, including different menstrual products which she prefers to use, a small carry purse, perhaps a special piece of jewelry for her to wear when she is bleeding, a book on menstruation and maybe some relaxing essential oils such as lavender, clary sage, rose or geranium.
Let her know that you are genuinely happy for her. Gently welcome her into this new stage in her life of becoming a young woman, getting to experience the common thread amongst all woman who are able to carry the miracle of life inside their wombs. Let her know that you love and respect her for who she is and that you are always here for her.
And remember...you are doing a great job!