EXPERIENCING MENSTRUATION AS A CHILD & AS A MOTHER
No one ever talked about it, as if it is a curse. What will I do when it happens to me? Who will explain to me what to do? Why do we even have it? What does it mean to have a period? These were my thoughts before I had my first period. I felt lost and embarrassed.
No one mentioned it at home because it was dirty and shameful. My mom was embraced to talk about intimate body parts, or anything related to it. There was no way to talk about it with my dad. This was clearly not his responsibility, and it was a shame to approach him in such matters. So, not having adults to guide me, I turned to my sister, who is only a year older than me.
The first time I went to the bathroom and saw bleeding from my vagina I panicked. I called my sister, who came over right away to help. She explained to me that this is ok, helped me clean up, brought pads, and explained how to use them. I was shocked and a little scared of this huge moment that symbolized the end of childhood and becoming a woman. I could not comprehend what it all meant at the time and discovered it through conversations with my friends and my sister.
When I became a mother, I vowed to talk with my daughters about everything, that there would be no shame and no ignorance. As parents, it is our duty to pass on knowledge to our children, and guide and support them, so that they will not be in the dark like I was as a child.
When my daughters grew up, I was open and honest about their maturation. We agreed to share, ask questions, and trust each other with any topic including their physiological development. We talked about the menstrual cycle, what to expect and do when the first period happens, and how to take care of their body every month in terms of hygiene. We also talked about the meaning of having a period and discussed ovulation, intimate relationship with a partner when the time comes, and everything they needed to know.
I felt an amazing partnership with my daughters, who were confident and open, and asked questions with great interest and openness. I am proud of them for knowing how to come and ask when needed help and for the path I have chosen to go through with them. My difficult experience helped me to approach menstruation better with my children.