I remember waiting for the day my first period would come. I wondered where I would be when it came and I worried that I might be in school or even worse, at a swim meet. I worried that I’d be wearing white pants and I was scared that everyone would know! The truth is…… I worried about a lot of things when it came to my first period and I had tons of questions.
Girls today still worry. In fact, worrying about a first period is very normal. What concerns me is that a young girl’s experience with her first period is shaped by how well-informed she is about menstruation – making it really important to learn as much as she can. I am a strong advocate of parents talking to their kids about the changes that happen during puberty – to daughters as well as sons.
I saw a study the other day that said less than 19% of adolescents feel they have someone to talk to about personal issues such as these. This troubles me. Now I know that some kids get “health education” starting in 5th grade, but in my opinion, the information they get in these classes is too little and much too late! Kids need to know about puberty and sexuality way before 5th grade. I talked to my kids about puberty, development, and sexuality issues as soon as they were old enough to listen. I wanted them to hear it from me and I wanted them to always know they could come to me with questions.
Those of us with kids know that somewhere around middle school we begin to lose them. Friends become very important and are usually their main sources for information. Before this time, however, they want and need to hear it from the people they trust the most- their parents.
I wrote THE DAY AUNT FLO COMES TO VISIT: AN HONEST CONVERSATION ABOUT GETTING YOUR PERIOD both for young girls and their parents. I wanted a book that parents and daughters could read together. The book is straightforward and honest and answers the most common questions that girls have about getting their periods – such as when will it come?, who should I tell?, what should I do?, can I still swim?, and pads or tampons? The book is designed to help girls understand more about the biology of menstruation, along with the common emotional and psychological reactions. I explore why and how periods happen and what they feel like and share personal stories from girls who have already had their first period. In these stories, readers learn what these girls thought about, worried about, and where they were when their first period came. Some of these girls had positive experiences and some had negative experiences. Some felt excited and some felt scared. The common thread in all of their stories is a wish that they would have been more prepared and knew more about what to expect. In fact, that is what inspired me to write this book. My goal in writing this book and talking to girls about menstruation is to help them become more knowledgable and, in turn, more confident about becoming a woman.
When my daughter got her first period I threw a party complete with a red “period” cake, ice cream, and presents. I wanted her to know how excited we were. I also wanted her to see that getting your first period isn’t something to be embarassed about – it’s something to celebrate! Now we talk about periods and girl stuff all the time. She knows that I’m here for her. And if I don’t have the answers to her questions, she knows I’ll help her find them. I’d much rather have her asking me then relying on her friends, who might not give her reliable information.
If you are interested in the book, go to www.bestdaymedia.com for ordering information. If you have comments or questions, I’d love to hear them!