When you think about your first period, what words and emotions come to mind? Fear? Embarrassment? Shame?
These are common responses I hear from women when discussing the topic of menstruation. However, these are hardly the thoughts and feelings a loving mother wants to pass on to her daughter.
One of the best parts of my job is nurturing connections between mothers and daughters, supporting them to discuss an experience they share, but don’t always know how to talk about: becoming a woman.
Talking about puberty and menstruation needs to be more than practical advice provided by school and pointed out on the way to an activity or between household tasks .
Rather, this important rite of passage is something that needs to be celebrated and spoken about openly both before and after your daughter begins her menstrual cycle.
Here’s why it’s important to celebrate your daughter’s first period:
1. They make girls proud to reach this stage: A girl’s menarche (first menstruation) is a milestone that needs to be celebrated so that she, and generations to come, are proud of reaching it. Schools provide information for children, but it’s her parents, older family friends and the community who have a lasting influence on how a girl feels about her body.
2. They create a solid sense of self: Celebrating womanhood creates a sense of positive self-esteem in young girls and inspires a sense of independence. Such celebrations build a sense of self-worth that will be critical during adolescent years. Actually, they will be useful all through adult life!
3. They help remove stigma: Imagine a world where there is no embarrassment about having your period. Coming of Age Celebrations allow girls to feel excited and empowered about this significant milestone, instead of anxious or ashamed.
4. They create a ritual: Coming of Age Celebrations give young people a ritual to be anticipated that prepares them with practical knowledge as well as giving them a sense of pride; reassurance; self-acceptance; awareness of their needs and the courage to speak out about those needs.
5. They prepare your child: To celebrate the beginning of womanhood not only provides relief for girls, it also prepares them. Girls who are unprepared for or have a negative attitude towards menstruation often develop a negative approach to their body and menstrual cycle. A positive understanding and acceptance of menstruation is crucial for a young woman’s body image, relationships and future life choices outcomes..
For more information on how to discuss menstruation with your daughter, visit www.stepintowomanhood.com