As the hormones kick in, girls show the first signs of puberty with the appearance of pubic and underarm hair, and swelling around the nipples as breasts “bud”. Over the next few years, breasts go from fleshy aand shapeless to firm and full. Girls retain more body fat than boys as female hips, thighs and buttocks round out. Ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the uterus have been growing all along internally and invisibly. The milestone is menstruation.
Unlike the last generation, many mothers today have gone out of their way to prepare their daughters for menstuation, to defuse some of the anxieties they remember. Despite this enlightened approach many are surprised when girls seem just as uncomfortable as ever.
The mother of an almost twelve-year-old testified her daughter was the child exclaimed with irritation. Then despair took over as she nixed swimming plans and attending a sleep-over party. Her reaction climaxed with , “I dont’t want to grow up. I wish I could be like that child vampire in Interview with the vampire”
Her mother confided. “I had prepared my daughter for this so why was she so unprepared emotionally? I didn’t want her menstrual memories to be like mine, mired in confusion and shame. What I recall is the Kotex arriving in huge cardboard boxes, whisked away like contraband, hidden in a closet. The coming-of-are milestone was a secret, a nuisance, a curse. I wanted my daughter to celebrate becoming a women.”
As this mother learned much to her dismay, putting a positive spin on menstruation is not an easy assignment. Despite the fact what the details of the feminine cycle have been explained patiently and precisely by parents, and reiterated in health-class curriculum, many girls are still plagued with a range of responses from uneasiness to down-right disqust.
Parents of girls need to distinguish between what they can and cannot do to ease this transition into womanhood. A can-do strategy provide hygiene guidelines. Reduce the inconvenience and insecurity with premenstrual planning.