Friday, April 12, 2013

How To handle Your Daughter's First Period

Out of the blue my husband asked how women handle their first periods. I was surprised he asked since our daughter is barely 2 years old, but I guess it's something every parent of a female should be prepared for.

The onset of a girls period is actually quite awkward. I still clearly remember how mine started around the age of 10 and how shocked my mother was because apparently her's didn't start till she was 16. The long talk about "Don't let any male 'touch' you" etc.  I know someone who remembers her Mum saying " No let man 'meet' you since you don dey see your time."
My sisters and I gave it so many names; Aunty flow, Mr. John (the pads are called Mr. John bread) or simply "P".

Most girls start between the ages of 11 and 15. Mothers of today have it really easy because there is so much information out there for you and your daughter. YouTube has videos and there are lots of other educational material. They are taught about it in Biology class etc but when it really happens it can be quite a surprise for mother and child. The more information that you share with your daughter about periods and PMS symptoms, the more comfortable and prepared she will feel as her body grows and changes. Be there and hold her hand during this special time.

It's important to make it clear that menses are not an excuse to lay around moping/complaining. If she has cramps, she should take some paracetamol and get on with life. Mild exercise does a lot more to relieve cramping than "resting".  Menstruation isn't a sickness. It doesn't get better with rest but rest can help if the fluctuating hormones make her nauseated.

I think the first visit of 'Aunty flow' is a great time to further bond with your daughter, stay home with her, watch movies, have some ice cream and  pizza. Just help her feel and understand that her body is doing exactly what it should and she is no longer a girl but a young lady. Give her a little sex education too while you are at it. Ask her what she already knows about it, answer any questions she has.
The introduction to pads and tampons should be thorough and she should be made to understand there is nothing embarrassing about it. I think Kotex is really good they are colorful and she won't feel so embarrassed about carrying them around at school. You can get her a small hand held bag so she can store them in there along with some Always wet wipes -they make you feel fresh and clean when you are out and can't wash.

All girls are fine once they have had a couple, and once they realise that their friends are going to start soon (or already have started), it becomes normal.

Ijeoma Dibor

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