Coming Of Age: How To Prepare For Your Girl’s First Period

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My daughter Ellah is 10, and has not started cycling.

It may be another couple of years for all I know, as I started at 12, but I am savoring the delicious process of gathering resources for her, which will be ready and waiting at the never-predicted moment of a girl’s first menstrual cycle.

I feel like a mama bird, gathering bits and pieces for my girl’s womanhood-nest. I’ve been looking for a while now, and the first thing that caught my attention was a mug with Red hearts on it. “Oh,” I thought to myself, “a special MoonTime cup!” I imagined how this could be my girl’s dedicated mug for comforting, soothing teas while she flows.

Next came a beautiful silver Goddess pendant adorned by a Red stone, on a snake-like silver chain. I wanted Ellah to have a piece of jewelery with a strong image of the Divine Feminine. The Red stone was important too… well, it’s the theme here, isn’t it?

A journal is a must, I felt. I am still looking for the right one, to which my heart will have a resounding “Yes” when I see it! A special pen may accompany it if I come across the perfect one, but if I don’t, any old pen will do!

A journal is a symbol of one’s own sanctuary of creativity. My intention here is to provide my daughter with a blank slate on which she can write, draw, doodle, or otherwise express herself during her menstrual flow, record her dreams, write stories, or whatever she is moved to create within the private realm of her own sanctuary.

I am planning on a big, beautiful candle (RED, of course) and some bath salts. I would like to convey to my girl the importance of self-nourishment and self care. The yummy-ness of taking time-out from everyday life and pampering herself while she flows. Perhaps a delightfully scented body lotion will be a great addition.

And now, to the heart of the matter: menstruation itself!

First and foremost I would like Ellah to have a set of wildly colored and imaginatively designed menstrual cloth pads. I have been using cloth for over 20 years, and would never go back to disposables. My primary reason is not wanting to “plug” the natural flow of my body. And the environmental aspect of this issue is as essential to me.

Disposable menstrual products are the #2 biggest clogger of landfills, following closely behind disposable baby diapers, which are the # 1 culprit. My daughter has been accompanying me as I feed our house and garden plants with the water in which my cloth pads soaked. Full of nutrients that will otherwise nourish a baby, menstrual blood is the inner lining of our wombs. Its capacity to nourish ALL life is miraculous, and my house and garden plants have never been happier than when I feed them this life-giving substance.

I’ve ordered a set of menstrual cloth pads for Ellah from a woman who creates wonderful designs with wild prints! When they arrived in the mail I grinned with delight: the fabrics were soft flannels, velvety to the touch. A couple of beautiful floral designs accompanied a few whimsical ones, behind which peeked a purple tiger-stripe pad, and the jewel in the crown were a couple of fabrics with affirmations such as “Lovely Me.” I just about melted when I saw this one!

The pads all came inside a storage bag printed with a Red image of the Virgin of Guadalupe surrounded by Red roses on the front, and interlacing Red hearts on the back. I couldn’t ask for more!

I’ve hidden all these beautiful “goodies” in the back of one of my drawers, and recently went hunting for a decorated box in which to place them all. I headed to a craft store but was met with a cheerful clerk who announced they only carry plain boxes, and if I wanted it to look beautiful, I’d have to decorate it myself!

I was delighted to find a plain cardboard container shaped like a treasure box, and the clerk directed me to the scrap-book isle where I found myself in a visual heaven. I was surrounded by every imaginable decorated paper, sparkles, 3D stickers, self-adhesive affirmations, ribbons, flowers, and what not. Knowing I will paint the box Red, I proceeded to choose a beautiful sheet of paper, drawn with roses and paisleys, some 3D stickers of butterflies (for transformation), moons and starts (for flowing with the moon and shining from within), Red sparkles (I’m a magpie wherever sparkles are concerned :-)) and some 3D affirmation stickers, the chief of which says: “Things I Love.”

I paid a fraction of what I would have paid for a commercially decorated box, and went home with my creative juices overflowing. I will now have to carve out some time for this yummy project when Ellah is not looking over my shoulder.

Once finished, this treasure box will be patiently waiting for the day my daughter crosses the threshold into womanhood. A part of me can’t wait. Another part wants it to be a long, long time still. I deeply cherish my girl’s childhood, and want to patiently and slowly savor her approaching womanhood.

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© 2011 DeAnna L’am, All Rights Reserved

8 Responses

  1. DeAnna, you are a source of inspiration! This is so considerate and warm, it made me smile all through the article!! Thanks you very much for sharing this with me on my page. I’ll be sharing it in next week’s Sunday Surf!
    You are a wonderful mother. Every growing woman should receive such care and consideration. Thank you for these great ideas

  2. What a wonderful thoughtful momma you are. My older girl is 7 and I have a few more years before I need to worry about her but I like some of your ideas and had been thinking along the same lines. I really like the storage box idea. And now I’m also thinking about for when she goes to camp, she will need something that she can carry her supplies in without getting in the way or it being too bulky….

  3. Reading this post made me feel suffocated. It seems that you are bringing in the sensual to the point of overindulgence. Celebrate her bleeding yes yes yes but this just seems way too much of a theatrical performance and more for you than for her. The love you feel for her, the nurturing and the support you give is so important but this is HER journey not yours. Step back and give her the space to embrace her coming into womanhood in her own way. 

    1. This is an interesting point, and one I am willing to ponder…
      The question of who is this for is, indeed, essential.
      Everything in my daughter’s resource box is just that: a resource, which is there for her to choose to use, or not.
      How would a girl, in a society that degrades menstruation, know what choices are available to her?
      What choices are there in a culture that fears and belittles menstruation, one that hardly celebrates it?
      I wonder whether presenting one with choices is suffocating? Perhaps…
      Overwhelming? maybe.
      Yet I wonder how one would feel faced with a lack of positive choices?
      I would be interested to hear how you would pursue your indication of: “Celebrate her bleeding yes…. and give her the space to embrace her coming into womanhood in her own way.” What would this look like for you?

      1. I have 3 daughters and my eldest is also 10. Because I work I wanted to make sure she felt safe if her first time happened while I was not there, so she is spared the embarrassment of having to go to her dad. So we talked a lot about it, I told her what to expect and I gave her some pads to have in her room if she needs them. We talked about her moodiness and how I went through puberty alone, and how she has me and is not alone although it might feel that way. Lots of cuddles and hugs, no pressure to be or to do anything. And when it comes, I will make her a cup of tea, put my arms around her and tell her she is a woman. Tell her we should celebrate, maybe with a cake, or a movie, a new hairstyle, a dress…. her choice. For me, it is enough that we can talk, that I support her and that she feels safe and respected by her mother. She has said she feels she can come to me about anything. I didn’t have that when I was growing up. 

  4. In response to many who asked for the resource I used for menstrual cloth pads:

    You can find many sites that offer cloth pads by googling menstrual Cloth Pads.
    I like to use Hag Rag because of the wonderful variety of fabrics and choices, from the beautiful to the whimsical, and everything in between
    This is the address:
    http://www.hagrag.com/
    Blessings on your journey!

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