The Pre-Period Talk: An interview with my daughter
The time is getting close. I personally didn't get my first period until I was 13 and in the 7th grade. My daughter is currently 12 yrs old and in the 6th grade. We know that her first cycle could literally come at any time. We've talked briefly about menstruation off and on over the last year or two and now that things are about to go from just talking to actually happening I decided to interview her and see just what she and her friends know about the topic.
My questions and her responses are below. It turns out that she and girls her age are pretty confident in their ability to handle their periods but they appear to still be lacking some very basic facts.
Do you know what causes menstruation and where the blood comes from?
Um, kind of but not really.
I went on to explain that each month a woman's body prepares itself for pregnancy by creating an environment in the uterus that will receive a fertilized egg. When a woman fails to become pregnant her body sheds the lining of the uterus and begins the preparatory cycle all over again.
Do you know how often you'll get your period and how long it can last each time?
She wasn't really sure and she didn't think her friends knew either. I explained that menstruation can last 4-7 days once a month, stops during pregnancy, and resumes monthly until menopause.
How do you think parents can best help their daughters prepare for their periods?
Mostly by just explaining to them what to expect when it happens and what to do. I also think it's a good idea for their parents to provide them with the supplies a little early just in case it happens at school or somewhere where their parents aren't there to help them.
In addition to some light-day disposable pads for her backpack, I also plan to educate and provide her with reusable menstrual options like cloth pads and menstrual cups. Lunapads was kind enough to send her some Lunapanties and cloth pads for her starter “stash”! Use code CDGEEK for 10% off at Lunapads.com
Do you think it's better for a mom or dad to talk with their daughter about what to expect or give her a book or information and let her learn about it on her own?
I think it's better for a mom to talk to her daughter about what to expect because you know, they've had their period before and I think it would seem easier and less embarrassing to talk to someone who, like I said, has gone through it before and and has the information a young girl needs when it actually does happen.
Do girls you know talk about having their periods and/or are they excited about getting theirs?
Um, some people I know do talk about having their period and don't really think about what it actually is. They just think that because they are going to or already have their period that they are mature and are adults as soon as it happens. Yes, most of the people I know are excited to get their period even though I think it's going to be totally different than how they think it will be.
Upon further questioning her, she told me that girls know that it means they can get pregnant but that's not really what they're excited about. (THANK GOD!!!) They're looking forward to hormonal changes that might lead them to develop breasts and/or curvier figures. She said that in school that's sort of how you can tell who already has their period.
What worries you most about getting your period the first time?
What worries me most is just where I'm going to be when it happens. If I'm at school or on a field trip or just somewhere when I can't get to my parents or to my supplies in my backpack right away.
Do you have a plan for what you might do if you had your period at school for the first time?
I do have a plan kind of, it would most likely be to go to the bathroom with one of the pads I have in my backback, follow my mom's advice and then tell my teacher that I have to go to the clinic. I'd call my mom and then talk to her about it.
What types of products do you hope to use when you get your period?
Um, well when I first get my period I would most likely start out with just the regular pads and then as I get older I think I would try new things that my mom gave me.
What are your thoughts on reusable/washable menstrual products like menstrual cups and cloth pads?
I think they're a good idea as far as saving money and knowing that they're made of better and safer materials however I do know that some girls would just prefer store bought products because throwing them away might seem easier and less embarrassing.
Is there a certain type of product that scares or intimidates you more than another? Which ones and why?
No I don't think there are any products that's scares or intimidates me as far as I know.
Are you looking forward to it or hope that it doesn't happen for a long time?
Um,……..I'm not really looking forward to it but I don't not want it to happen for a long time either. I guess I just won't really know until it happens and I see how it is.
You have a friend who only has a father and brother at home. What advice would you give to a dad in a similar situation?
Yes I do, and what I would tell the dad is to just don't pressure her to talk about it. Do some studying and help her out with the information and supplies as much as you can or have your daughter talk to a friend's mom or someone she might feel more comfortable talking about it with.
It turns out that pre-teens actually already know a lot about getting their periods and they even talk about it with each other. My daughter shows her disposable and reusable pads and supplies to her friends when they come over and she keeps a supply in her backpack so she'll have them when the time comes. I believe that giving them the chance to tell you what they already know before having “the talk” will make the discussion that follows much easier on the both of you.
I'm curious, have you had a pre-period talk yet with your daughter? Did you find that they knew more or less than you expected?
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I'm Julie, a former cloth diaper retailer who discovered a passion for the industry. Now, instead of selling cloth diapers, I advocate them and promote small businesses I love who sell and manufacture them.
I'm the wife of a fireman and mother of three. I have a daughter and identical twin sons.