If you’re born without the Y chromosome, then there’s a moment in your life that is inevitable. We’ve all been there and most of us have some sort of horror story to share. For me, the day I started my period isn’t as traumatic as some of the stories I’ve heard. Nevertheless, the day we start our period is, more likely than not, a story we’ll never forget. So, in efforts to help you make your daughter’s story a non-traumatic one, here are my five tips to make her transition into womanhood easier.
There’s a saying I’ve heard many times relating to parenting…“The days are long, but the years are short.” This statement is so true. Before you know it, your sweet baby girl will be on the heels of her adolescence. With my oldest daughter who’s now 13, I started talking to her about what to expect around eight years old. Now listen mamas, I didn’t sit her down and try to have “the talk.” Instead, I purchased this book from American Girl called The Care and Keeping of You 1. The first edition is for younger girls (ages eight and up) and it is a perfect place to start introducing your daughter to her body, the changes to expect (including her period), and proper hygiene.
Reading one chapter at a time together yielded some of the most rewarding conversations. Our conversations also gave her a greater sense of comfort knowing that she could ask me anything. As she got a little older, we moved on to reading The Care and Keeping of You 2. This version revisits some of the topics from the first book. However, get yourself ready, Mama…this one gives more specific details with pictures. Although it’s done very age-appropriately, this mama was glad I skimmed ahead so I was ready for the questions.
Tip #2: Make a Period Kit
The most devastating part of so many of our stories is not being prepared with what we needed, when we needed it. There’s no way we can truly anticipate the exact moment and time that she will start her cycle. You can only hope that she’s at home with you and you’re right there to support and guide her. Unfortunately, more often than not, that’s not the case. So, I encourage you to make a period pouch containing some essential items. Doing this will give your daughter a sense of confidence and security in knowing that she’ll have everything she needs whenever “Aunt Flo” makes her first visit.
There are so many ideas for creating a period kit. You can do a quick search and you’ll find tons of variations. Most will have your basics: pads, cleansing wipes, a pair of undies, a baggie for soiled undies, and even a pair of black leggings. In addition to those basics, I think adding a little note from you perfects any combination you choose. The A Mighty Girl blog has some great ideas to get you started. Also, pay attention to the signs, Mama. Her body will give you clues that “Aunt Flo” is getting ready to make her debut. This article from Tampax “The Stages of Female Puberty…” is a great guide to help you keep up with each milestone.
Tip #3: Celebrate Her Special Day
This day is going to stay with her for the rest of her life. I personally believe it is so necessary to make it special. Now listen, I have seen my share of celebratory posts for young ladies coming into womanhood. However, they have not all been great. So please don’t be weird and get her a cake in the shape of a uterus with fallopian tubes and ovaries! Making this day special can be as simple as going to get a mani/pedi together and maybe some shopping, or you can make her day a little more special with a first period box. I gave my daughter one and she was beyond excited.
Now for all you creative ladies, I’m sure you can create quite a special box for your young lady yourself. But for this mama, my daughter started her cycle three weeks after I gave birth to my second daughter. Therefore, a pre-made box was the best option for me. I went with “My Dot Boxx” and it was just perfect. However, there are so many other really cool options. A couple of my honorable mentions are The Penny Pack and Ruby Love.
Tip #4: Empower Her
We all know that when you have what you need and know what to expect, you feel confident and empowered. It’s important that she feels like she’s in control. So, once she has her first period, here are a few things to help her on this new journey:
Period Calendar Apps
Tracking your cycle is so important. However, things can be a little wacky during the first months. Getting a period tracking app will help her (and you) keep track. Let me forewarn you, a lot of these apps have content and community conversations about sex, orgasms, and even masturbation. Therefore, doing your due diligence and researching an app to find one without inappropriate content is a must. Also keep in mind, no matter which app you choose, tracking sexual activity is almost always a feature. It took some effort for me to identify the ones I was most comfortable with my daughter using. These are two that I really like, and I love that we are both able to access her calendar:
- Period Tracker – Period Calendar
For IPhone Users
For Android Users
- Period Tracker By PinkBird
For IPhone Users
For Android Users
We’ve all had moments when our sanitary products failed us and stained our underwear or even worse leaked through onto our clothing. #InsertHorrorStoryHere. Period panties are a life-saver to say the least. There are many versions on the market—some are better than others and some are more expensive. Check out this article on Women’s Health to get all the details on the “11 Best Period Panties of 2020 That Are Both Leak-Proof and Absorbent.”
Tip #5: Prepare Her and Yourself
Although we don’t always like to admit it (especially when the opposite sex points it out to us), the mood swings we often experience during our cycle are real. When you couple that with a “tweenager,” watch out! There have been so many times I’ve checked her period calendar and my suspicions were confirmed. Making sure to have a conversation with my daughter during this time is important. Being conscious of her mood swings along with the reason behind them empowers her. I encourage her to do something that she loves and I give her space. As a young lady, it is imperative she learns how to control her emotions in a positive way sooner than later.
Unfortunately for my daughter, the mood swings were rough on both of us. Then came cramps that would make her very ill. This led to a miserable experience for her every month. In my search to make this time easier for my girl, I found to two products that have truly made her cycle more pleasant:
Bonus Tip: For Dads
Be Prepared Period is full of resources, and they wrote this article with you in mind: “Fathers – How Menstruation Can Affect Your Relationship With Your Daughter.”
I hope these tips will help you and your daughter on her journey to womanhood. Please come back and share with us how these tips have helped you!