A hint of fall is in the air accompanied by the rising tide of back-to-school activities. For each child, returning to school in the fall is a unique experience. Some children are excited, some are nervous and some are down right scared. For a number of middle school girls, there is also the anticipation, or perhaps uncertainty, around the onset of menses. Below is the second and final part of our open discussions about the onset of menstruation.
While a take-charge young woman, our daughter at first didn’t share much with her dad about getting her period. He sensitively let many months pass before one night looking her in the eye and letting her know that he cares, too, about her changes and her struggles. He said she had no need to hide from him, for instance, a bed sheet she may have stained, or the need for a dose of acetaminophen to relieve cramping.
He has since even taken her to the store specifically so she could buy bras. His initial opening dialogue with her has gone a long way toward letting her know that he’s another adult in the house who – despite his gender! – can love and care for both his daughters’ needs as they become young women.
Mark the Mark
Something else my youngest can look forward to – besides gaining a treasure trove of information in advance of the onset of menses – is a mother-daughter shopping outing.
When my older daughter started spotting, I knew it was the beginning of an exciting, sometimes difficult, sometimes shocking change. It needed to be acknowledged by something special. We went to the lingerie department, where I told her she could pick out whatever she wanted (within reason). Appropriate to her age, she selected a pair of very soft jammies. The purchase served as a physical “congratulations” to mark her first tentative step into womanhood.
She has long since outgrown this pair of period pajamas. They will not be handed down to her little sister; the younger daughter will get to pick out her own when it’s her turn.