Are you keen to support and simplify menstruation conversations with your daughter? Beatrice Thorne of Eve Wellness shares some tips to navigate this powerful stage in puberty – and make it a positive experience.
Like most women, I learned about periods the hard way. On my own, in silence, and mortified with it always seeming to turn up at the most inopportune times.
We hardly talked about periods at home, and at school, the only lessons that were taught about hormones were based solely on how not to get pregnant.
Any mention of menstruation, both at home and school, was shrouded in euphemisms like time of the month, Aunt Flo, and that horror of horrors - shark week. God forbid using the correct word.
Unfortunately, these euphemisms and a sore lack of education have perpetuated a stigma around women’s health and menstrual cycles which has led to many women suffering debilitating symptoms in silence.
As women, we have a wonderful opportunity to ensure the next generation grows up feeling empowered and knowledgeable about their bodies, cycles, and hormones.
Your daughter might have been taught the basics at school but, there’s probably still a sense of mystique or taboo. Don’t whisper, and don’t exclude the men and boys in her life, although she may prefer discretion. Keep reinforcing the fact that it’s normal.
Create a period-positive household by using the correct words and let her know that no topic is off-limits.
Use empowering language with your pre-teen, and encourage them to see their cycle as a positive event. Our cycles allow us to connect with our bodies each and every month, and your daughter’s cycle will be with her as she adventures into the world, travels, falls in love, grows her career, and realises her potential.
If your period hasn’t been a positive experience in your life, this could also be an opportunity to learn about your own body and hormones. Do it together.
Rites of passage and coming of age ceremonies and celebrations are practiced in many traditional cultures around the world. Treating menstruation in this way can be incredibly empowering and turns the event into a positive occasion, rather than something to be feared.
Mark the occasion by treating your daughter to something special. Create a spa evening, by running them a bath with oils. Light candles, and have lovely lotions to add to the special treat. Create a care package complete with a personal note, pads or period undies, their favourite treats, and something cosy like socks or pajamas, and a wheat bag for any cramps.
If you aren’t confident about the ins and outs of the female cycle yourself, embark on a learning journey together with your daughter. She will appreciate you being by her side as she navigates this brave new world, and you may find it to be a wonderful bonding experience.
Our cycles consist of four key phases: the bleed, follicular, ovulation, and luteal. These phases are the key to our power as women. We shine in different ways at different times of the month.
- In the bleed phase, your daughter may need a bit more of your gentle or nurturing attention. She may be less energised during this time and more introverted in her behaviour.
- In the follicular phase her energy will pick up and she’ll feel more outgoing, adventurous, and positive. Ready to take on the world!
- The ovulation phase is the only time of your daughter’s cycle that she’ll be at risk of pregnancy. During this time she may notice feeling more confident and lively.
- The luteal phase can be a quieter, more inward-focused time. Premenstrual signs may start to pop up, and your daughter is more likely to catch a cold or any bugs going around.
Emotional and Physical Support
In the first few years after a girl gets her period, the body works hard figuring out how to navigate the hormonal cycle. It’s normal for periods to be irregular during these learning years and for young women to experience premenstrual moodiness, cramping, and other PMS symptoms.
But generally speaking, period cramps should not hold her back from living her life. Your teen shouldn’t need to double up on period products to prevent leakage, and shouldn’t need to change products during the night.
If your teen is experiencing severe pain or heavy bleeding or needing to take sick days from school, consult a doctor.
For more resources around hormones and cycles, the Eve Wellness blog has a plethora of educational content and hormonal supplements for mothers and daughters alike.
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