Did you know 28 May is Menstrual Hygiene Day? Here’s why it’s so important to talk to your daughter about her period — and why it’s worth including dads and brothers in the convo, too!
As a parent, we’re all fairly aware of the different growing up stages our kids will face (after all, we all went through them, too, once upon a time). First there’s teething and sleeping (oh please let them sleep!); then there’s the first day of preschool, with their first backpack, which leads to new friends and becoming little adults. And then in no time at all there are suddenly hormones flying around everywhere and the household can become a hotbed of emotions and unpredictable behaviour.
One physical symptom is that your daughter will get her period most likely between the ages of 11-13 years old*. This can be a really traumatic experience if you’ve not had the chats at home or prepared her – and those around her – to understand what’s going on. To know that it’s 100% normal and there is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about.
1 in 4 girls say they don’t know what to do when they get their period.
Recent research shows that 1 in 15 girls are embarrassed to talk about their periods to their parents and/or feel a huge amount of stigma around their periods. In focus groups of young girls conducted by PlanInternational UK, they found the language these girls used was overwhelmingly negative. A whopping 14% of girls didn’t even know what was happening to them when they got their period.These are alarming statistics and it is us, the parents, who have the ability to change it.
“I feel like you get one of two educations [about periods] – either it scares you or it’s not a big deal.”
— Katie, 17
Considering a woman will have her period for around 40 years of her life, wouldn’t you want to change that experience for your child and turn having her period into a completely shame-free, positive experience?
To help you help your daughter (as well as the rest of the family!) when she’s going through this massive change, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite resources to help you and the family free up the conversation around periods. It’s about time women no longer have to find it traumatic or shameful and instead it will be no big deal.
Also, it’s important to remember that periods aren’t just for women and girls. In our gender flowing societies we need to start including men and boys in this conversation too, so don’t forget to include the siblings and dad!
This book is a great resource full of practical advice, a clear message of “your body is your body” and full of real questions such as “Will putting a tampon in my body hurt?” or “Can I lose my virginity by using tampons?”.
This company (full disclosure: I’m the founder!) is Asia’s first organic cotton subscription service of tampons and pads and launched this year. We aim to educate, empower and inspire customers through a positive and healthy message, plus lots of educational blog posts. ilo products are non toxic, 100% organic cotton and biodegradable — plus the company donates a percentage of profits to help fight period poverty.
And why is organic and non toxic so important when it comes to menstrual products? Research has shown a link between mainstream products with infertility and endometriosis. So if you eat organic and are concerned with chemicals and toxicity, you should really start thinking about menstrual products as well…
Enter promo code SASSYXILO to take 15% off a one-year subscription plan for pads or tampons! Click here for more deets.
Another wonderful book talking about periods, and it’s fully inclusive! This book is so fun and full of great illustrations, plus it really gets the conversation flowing with its funny lines and characters. I highly recommend supporting this amazing lady and her endeavour to create “the most inclusive period book ever”!
If you want to take you or your daughter’s period journey into the 100% environmentally friendly space, I highly recommend the Hello Cup. Made in New Zealand by a nurse and her partner, this cup is the softest, most comfortable I’ve come across. It comes in a variety of sizes depending on where you are in your journey (young, pre- babies, post babies), and you’ll only have to purchase three in your lifetime (it will last around 8-10 years depending on how well you look after it!).
I love the new designs – like polka dots and stripes! – that ModiBodi have brought out for teens. My only complaint is I wish they came in adult sizes. Period pants have really taken off in the last couple of years; with the need to look after our planet, this is a simple and effective way to do so. You just put on your period panties instead of normal underwear and they can even be worn when you don’t have your period.
Lead image courtesy of Getty