young worried girl talking on phone about her intimacy secret

#EpicParentingFail: How Not to Handle Your Daughter’s First Period

My first test as the mother of a “mature” young woman was a complete, total, and epic failure. I thought I’d prepared both of us for when “it” arrived. I made sure she knew what to expect, had supplies, knew what to do with said supplies.

But when she repeatedly called me after the first day of school and asked what time I’d be home, I eventually got snippy on the phone and said, “THE SAME TIME I TOLD YOU THE LAST THREE TIMES YOU CALLED!” I was super annoyed and it showed.

Then I walked in the door, saw her face, the different outfit than she left in…and instantly it clicked.

She got her period.

Her first one and I yelled at her on the phone. Just when she needed her mama most. I wanted to curl into a ball and cry. I couldn’t believe I’d let her down.

Fortunately, that was years ago and she’s forgiven me and we now laugh about the exchange.

But it begs the question—how do prepare your daughter for her entry into ‘womanhood’? How do you prepare yourself? Is there a right way, a wrong way, even one way to prepare everyone involved?

I’ll venture to say yelling at your child on the phone isn’t the best way to handle it.

Get the right supplies
We started on the right track a few years before by talking openly about growing up and the impending changes coming. I choose a book for us to read together, bought some supplies to open and see, and we chatted. I told her if she had any questions she could always talk to me or another trusted adult. Additionally, we are fortunate to be close with our family physician. My daughter trusts her and is comfortable asking any and all questions to her doctor.

Have someone who can answer questions
As I’m a fairly blunt (read : EXTREMELY BLUNT) individual my doctor knows I didn’t know how to properly use a tampon until I was 30. THIRTY. THIRTY YEARS OLD. She is aware of body image issues I have and my desire to NOT pass those issues onto my children. My doctor knows I want to ensure my girls don’t have the same lack of knowledge I did. She will answer questions I pose, questions my girls ask, and even prompt me if there’s something we’re missing. I realize not everyone has this amazing resource but if you have access to someone like this and it’s appropriate—ASK THEM!

Have references available
When it came to choosing a book I wanted to open our “body talk” with, I choose one that reflected our family views and my personal take on things. While this was a great book for us, some of my more conservative friends made different choices. We each made the perfect choice for our personal situation. Again—there isn’t one right way to do this…

As my younger girls mature, I feel confident they will have a better grasp on the birds, bees, and the physical changes their bodies will experience than I did growing up. I know I’ll be more prepared the second and third time as a mom to a maturing young woman. My hope for all my daughters is that they appreciate their bodies and the amazing things a woman’s body is capable of.

There isn’t a right way or wrong way to prepare yourself or your daughter for her entrance into womanhood. The only possible way to do it wrong is to not do anything at all. If you’re not comfortable talking about things, (figure out why!) find someone who can help you. When we prepare our children to face what life is giving them, we prepare them to conquer the world.

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