For many mothers our first period is a distant memory. Twenty or thirty years may have passed since our fertility began. We should keep in mind that something now so familiar to us, is something totally new and uncharted (no pun intended) for our daughters. Let’s help prepare them for their first period before it happens, if at all possible. Doing so will make the experience less scary or shocking than it may be otherwise, and will open up lines of communication regarding health, fertility, and reproduction.
So what should we make sure our daughter know before their first period arrives?
That it is coming
While we can’t tell our daughters exactly when their first period will arrive, we can give them a heads up. We can share signs that they may experience like breast tenderness, pubic and underarm hair growth, cervical mucus, widening hips. Share with your daughter what age you were when you began menstruation - it is likely that her timing will be similar.
That it is normal
It is normal and healthy to have a regular period or menses, and is a sign that all is well with her reproductive system.
What it will be like and how long it will last
Share with your daughter that sometimes it takes a while for cycles to normalize, but that she should expect a flow of about 3-7 days. It may begin heavy and get progressively lighter, or it may start out light and get heavier and then get lighter again. An extremely heavy flow (requiring a change of hygiene product more than every 1 -2 hours) is not normal. Some slight discomfort may be normal, but severe pain that impacts her ability to function, is not.
That you can help answers questions
By simply starting a dialogue you are signaling to your daughter that you want to help guide her through puberty, and beyond. You will likely also want to explicitly tell her that you want her to come to you when she has questions, and that you are happy to help.
By doing the above you give your daughter a safe space to find answers to her questions. While Google and all it offers has revolutionized how we look for and find information, there are some topics that are better not searched for on the internet, especially when our children are relatively young and may not be able to avoid topics and images that are meant for older audiences. Let her know that she can always come to you for answers, and if needed, you can find them together.
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