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A mother’s matter of fact approach to menstruation resulted in a daughter seeing periods as something positive and stains as normal. An empowering period story!
The time comes in every girl’s life when her mother introduces her to the concept of puberty and menstruation. I was no different but perhaps, the way it was introduced to me was very different…and in retrospect, very inspiring.
So, I was this 11 something girl, happy and oblivious to the concept as most of us are. Plus, in our times, the exposure was so limited that I still believed that breasts were the only difference between a boy and a girl! Having an elder sister meant that there were no boys around us and hence no ‘boy talk’ really existed in the house. It was just us…a bunch of three girls (includes my mother).
As we sat down for this discussion, my mother explained the concept (very non-scientifically, I would say). So, I was told that there would be five special days in a month, where there would be a discharge from my private areas and that I would need to wear a sanitary napkin when it happened.
Notice the word ‘discharge’ and not blood! Using the term ‘bleeding’ would probably have really scared me as a little girl but because since my mom said ‘discharge’, I prayed to God everyday that it happened to me soon.
My sister pitched in with her expert ‘experienced’ advice (as she had received the same story) and mentioned that it is totally cool and that life does not change in any way. My mother also told me that it is an important part of growing up, and that it is indicative of becoming ‘mature’. In short, they liberated me from the stigma and shame associated with periods by being upfront and talking to me of periods as something very normal.
A responsible, studious and ‘wanting-to-be-mature’ girl like me waited for the D-day. And voila!It arrived! An excited me went and told my mother about it and since I had received only positive ideas, I never really felt it as a burden. Today, easy starters kits exist that make the talk even more fun.
Obviously, it took some time to get used to wearing a sanitary napkin, avoiding leakages and maintaining hygiene, but I learnt it with much interest since I knew that this was going to be a regular part of mylife from now on.
The new friend was also the main ‘topic for discussion’ in school but no matter how much theother girls complained about it, my first impressions about menstruation had been positive and they remained so. Some yoga asanas during period days to avoid cramps helped and so the pain aspect was also taken care of.
Then, the day of the stain appeared. We all dreaded having to wear the white uniform or the sports uniform in school while menstruating. As I was still learning the trick of avoiding leakages and there were no period panties at the time, this was bound to happen. As is the common practice in school, you tell your best friend to watch out for stains on your skirt!
One day, as I got up, my friend pulled me down and said that my skirt was stained. Well…embarrassed for sure, but not too hassled, we thought that hiding it by tying a pullover around the skirt was the best thing to do. Soon though, the class came to know about it and there were hushed whispers while I was walking around. The good part about it is that while everyone talks about it, no one really comes up to you and points it out, and so, confrontation is avoided!
Many of you at this moment would be thinking about your time in school when this happened to you too. I have been one of those very few lucky girls who have never really thought of periods as an encumbrance. As you grow older and get used to it, the process does become a part of everyone’s life. But, it is our young ones to whom we need to talk to about periods in the right way.
Be matter of fact; tell your daughter the reason for menstruation, and what she can expect during her periods. You could even introduce period panties to her to make it hassle-free for her. Today, brands like the Adira period panty which are 100% leak proof, help make period time worry free as they liberate us from the worry of stains at an inopportune time.
Anxiety about stains can really spoil your day and as all of us know that sanitary napkins are never assuredly stain free, good quality period panties that don’t irritate the skin really help.
Menstruation is a ‘normal’ fact of life, and so are stains. While we don’t need to feel ashamed of them, a stained outfit is nonetheless uncomfortable and cramps your style. This is probably the only aspect of my period education that I would have liked to change – the opportunity to be stain free.
Here’s to a liberated period!
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Top image via Shutterstock
Ruchi Verma Rajan is a woman on a mission of self-discovery.
An avid reader
Ruchi! Very well written, you have given me a way to go about it with my daughter when the time comes!
Thanks Vibha.. truly honored by such comments
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