Explaining about menstruation should start early , though most girls start their menstruate cycle around the age of 12 but it is possible for periods to start at an early age of eight also. As we all know that talking about menstruation is an uncomfortable subject, it becomes more embarrassing when it has to be explained to preteen girls as they are very shy.This article would describe how a mother can approach this ticklish topic and prepare her preteen daughter for her first period.
1. Initiate talks early and often
Be open and honest in answering the questions raised by your daughter regarding menstruation. Depending on her age, offer details regarding it. Let your daughter set her own pace regarding this discussion. If she does not approach to you with questions about menstruation initiate talks yourself.
Discuss various aspects and issues related to this phenomenon like , overcoming the fear of unknown, personal hygiene etc. Divide the discussion in short conversations and not a complete discussion on all the aspects at one go. Keep in mind that your daughter should get good and authentic information about menstruation and other changes that are associated with puberty. So instead of her getting all rubbish and nonsense information from other resource, pitch in and provide the right informational at the right time.
2. How to initiate talking?
In order to start the topic and introduce the phenomenon, you can ask her knowledge about menstruation. From what she knows clarify any misinformation which she has gained and encourage her to ask any questions she has in her mind.
If your daughter is receiving some sex education or health classes at school, you can time your conversation around that time . A good idea can be timing the discussion before the routine checkup appointment with the doctor. You can let your daughter know that the doctor might ask whether her periods have started and then you can ask whether she knows about menstruation or not.
Girls may prefer knowing about menstruation from some female member of the family. Single fathers may ask some female relative to talk to their daughter on this topic.
3. Practical advice preferred
Apart from gaining knowledge about the biological implication of periods, girls will have more practical questions like … when will it happen , how will it happen , how will it feel like and what she will have to do at that time. The following answers to frequently asked questions might help you while explaining about menstruation to your daughter.
a. What menstruation is?
Menstruation is a biological phenomenon which implies that the body of a girl is competent of becoming pregnant. Every month an egg is released by one of the ovaries – called ovulation. If this happens and egg is not fertilized, then the lining of the uterus is shed through the vagina. This is called period.
b. Will it hurt?
Girls have cramps during period in the lower abdomen. These cramps are achy, dull or intense, depending from person to person.
c. When does it happen?
It is not possible to predict when periods will start. Generally after 2 months when girl’s breasts begin to develop periods can start. A thin white vaginal discharge might appear in girls about a year before the periods begin.
d. What will I have to do?
Give details about how to use tampons and sanitary pads. Girls usually start with pads but it is fine to use tampons also. Don’t forget to tell your daughter that it takes practice in getting used to these. Store your daughter’s bathroom and keep different types of sanitary products, so that she can try them and find what best works for her.
e. What will happen if I’m at school?
Persuade and encourage your daughter to carry in her bag few pads or tampons for emergency use if it happens in the school. Tell your daughter that she can also contact the school nurse, as she also has supplies of these.
f. Will it be apparent to people that I have my period?
Promise and reassure your daughter that no one will come to know that she has periods as pads and tampons are not visible through clothing.
g. What if blood leaks?
Give some practical suggestions to your daughter for covering and concealing the stain till she changes clothes, for instance, a sweat shirt can be tied around the waist.
4. Everyone’s different
It is important to explain to your daughter that she should not worry if she gets her periods before or after her friends. Also, tell that the duration of periods also varies and can range from two days to a week.
Irregular periods are common in the first one to two years. When the cycle settles, explain to your daughter how she can track them on a calendar, so that the time can be predicted by her.
5. Arrange for medical checkup for your daughter
If her cramps are not relieved by normal medication, if they extend more than seven days, if blood flow is more than usual, if she is not able to participate in school activities due to painful or heavy periods.