Mom Pleads With Parents to Tell Girls About Their Periods Sooner
A mom took to Reddit to lament how her eldest daughter's first period went down.
No matter how stressful those early days with a baby might be, it's a period of time that lots of parents long for when their little ones enter their tweens and hormones begin to run rampant. Although we tend to think of girls' Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret moment occurring at 12 or 13—and that's still the median age, according to ACOG—plenty of girls their first period earlier. For that reason, parents might be want to be thinking about talking to their daughters about what to expect earlier. A mom is imploring other parents to consider this after her 10-year-old was caught off-guard by her first period.
Writing under the handle teachmephotography, the mom shared that "kids in the know about their growing bodies" may be "extremely obvious," but she feels she "waited too long" to talk to her daughter who turns 11 in September.
"I thought I had time," she wrote. "Even just a little. Her cousin, who is only 3 months older, just started. So I knew it was very imminent. But still, I thought I had time. I mean, I started at like 12 or 13."
She had been contemplating how to talk to her girl about it for weeks. "I grew up in a home where 'taboo' things weren't openly discussed," she explained. "Not because my parents were neglectful, I just don't think they wanted to talk about the uncomfortable stuff. Then at 14, my dad died unexpectedly and I was left with a mother who was so broken because of his death, that I didn't have ANY parents left. I got pregnant with this daughter at 16."
The mom shared that her daughter's period "STARTED WHILE WE WERE AT THE DAMN POOL." She continued, "My poor baby girl started in one of the hardest ways. In a bathing suit surrounded by friends. She went on to stay the night with a friend, not saying anything to me. She said she was scared to at first. She bled all night at her friends house."
She was upset that her daughter's friend's mom learned about it before she did. "She washed her bathing suit for her," the frustrated mother shared. "Her friend said she thinks she knows what's going on. They knew before me. The next day I picked her up, and as soon as we got home she told me that blood was coming out of her. And my heart sunk. My fear came true. I waited too long to discuss this with her, and what I wanted to prevent happened. She was terrified in her own mind for at least 24 hours because she didn't know what was happening and I failed to prepare her. When I first started telling her everything was okay, she was crying in my arms. Tears of relief, I think. I hope."
Feelings of guilt wracked the original poster (OP)'s heart, as she felt like she "failed" her daughter. "Guilt because she was too scared to tell me when she first noticed," she explained. "Guilt that she suffered it at a friend's house.
- RELATED: How to Talk to Kids About Puberty
OP also admitted that she's "dealing with whatever emotions that come with my baby growing up." She explained, " ... My kids are amazing and I can't wait to give them the tools for being an adult that I never had. But this whole period thing has thrown me for a loop and now I'm feeling very sad that it has happened already."
She's already vowed to tell her younger daughter sooner, concluding with a PSA for other parents: "Tell your daughters, much sooner rather than later, they will have a period so they don't get traumatized when it actually starts."
The post quickly went viral, wracking up 1.3K upvotes and 445 comments.
Redditor FamousCow pointed out that schools often take the reins on puberty talk, writing, "Not that it's an excuse to not talk to your kids about this, but I'm surprised that she hasn't gotten any of this in school yet. 4th grade is when we got separated into boys and girls and got the 'this is what puberty is' talk, precisely because 10-ish is when a lot of girls get their first periods."
TheNoteTaker supported and added to OP's message, writing, "Hiding it from your kids because of their age just reinforces the idea that it's such an embarrassing and terrible occurrence that children should be kept safe from even knowing it exists. Talk about it in an age appropriate way when it comes up in casual conversation, don't set your kid up for feeling scared of their own body one day. There's certainly going to be a time where they see an ad, a movie, see tampons at the store or at a friend's house or wherever where a casual mention can go so much further than treating the subject like a scary monster, lurking about, looking for new victims."
Some moms shared the special way their own moms marked the occasion for them. "My mom took me out for a special day when I first started my period," wrote YellowBeepMoo. "I got my nails done (first time) and we had lunch. Just us. It was really special. Maybe you could do this with your daughter." HappyCharacter3 shared, "My mom did the same thing—we went out to a restaurant and celebrated me becoming a woman. I plan to do the same thing with my daughter."
ZippytheBee shared what it might look like for kids as young as 5 to have awareness around menstruation, writing, "Yeeessss. My kids are 5(F) and 2(M). They both know about my period, because how could they not when they follow me EVERYWHERE? My son even calls tampons 'pampons.' This is a normal part of life and shouldn't be stuffed in a closet until puberty is near."
With hope, OP's story and the ensuing dialogue will only serve to empower other parents to talk to their kiddos sooner rather than later. After all, when it comes to children's "growing bodies," straightforward information and loving support can go a long way to eradicating unnecessary secrecy and shame.