We were a farm family and I had seen baby animals conceived and birthed. I knew our dog had to wear special panties now and then, but my Mom had never sat me down and explained exactly what I should expect for myself. (We did not have the informational class at school until about six months later either.) So I told my friends and we got out the set of World Book Encyclopedias and looked up “period”…and found nothing. We talked about it and figured out it was actually called “menstruation” and read all about what to expect in a very factual way that left us with more questions than answers. I remember being DEVASTATED that this would happen every month until we were old and gray. I thought my life was basically over.
Over the next six-seven years I also remember more than once finding leaks at school and smuggling my purse into the bathroom to change pads or tampons. Or that feeling in the middle of class that my period was starting and I was not quite prepared, and had 30 minutes more before class was over. And there was that one time I asked the pregnant girl in my senior class if she would go ask our gym teacher for a tampon, because I was too embarrassed to do it myself. She did, by the way…ha ha…I’m sure my experience was pretty normal as far as young girls and periods go.
Fast forward to now, and I’m the Mom. And I know all about periods and being prepared for them and exactly how my body will act on Day 1, 3, 5 etc. After having two babies and many miscarriages, periods don’t embarrass me in the least anymore.
Now here I am with an 11-year-old daughter.
Her friends and cousins are starting to get periods. I know it’s coming and I don’t want her to have the same experience I had. I want her to be prepared. To be fair, there were five of us kids and my Mom was definitely not raised in a house with good communication skills. I don’t blame her for not talking to me about it, it was just not something she really knew to do. But my daughter and me, we are buddies. We fight, she gets in trouble for back talking me, gets grounded etc., but she will always find her way into my room and tell me she’s sorry. We don’t always understand each other 100%, but it’s just us two girls and we support each other. And now I will support her in the next stage of her life to the best of my ability. That means arming her with the understanding and the tools to fight the bloody battle that’s coming (pun intended).
I purchased a period book for her. The explanations and pictures seem to make a lot more sense than for me to just sit and lecture her. There are many great books out there from which to choose. She came to me with questions after that, already less embarrassed to talk about it.
I also found a very basic period tracker app for her phone. Her period may not be very predictable for the first two-three years, but I still think this might give her a heads up and feel a little more in control.
Now that she knows what to expect, I wanted her to have the tools to be prepared for the Red Siege. I did a lot of research and decided that “period panties” would be a good investment. I say investment because those suckers aren’t cheap. But, I would 100% spend money to save my daughter the embarrassment of leaky red pants at school, wouldn’t you? I found the top few brands to be: Yoyi Fashion, Intimate Portal, Modibodi, Thinx and Dear Kate, but there are lots from which to choose. These undies allow my daughter to wear them every day like her regular panties and be prepared for the Crimson Tide to come rolling in in the middle of History class (with a male teacher!).
I chose to make up a “period kit” for her to keep in her backpack, purse, room etc., so she will be prepared when Red Day comes. The kit is in a small zippered makeup bag, because these are inexpensive and a good size. (You can also buy these as pre-made kits for $10-40 each, but I wanted ours to be all natural. Reproductive harm is a scary subject!)
Here’s what’s in her kit:
- Extra pair of period panties
- Organic menstrual pads
- Organic feminine wipes (read the ingredients because these are tricky)
- Her favorite lip balm (to make her feel girly when she’s not feeling her best)
- A note from Mom to the teacher explaining that she was late to class due to dealing with her period and asking the teacher to be discreet for her (just in case)
- A “wet bag” to hold soiled panties (PUL lined to hold moisture in)
- A diaper trash bag to hold/hide pads in case there’s not a trash can available in the stall
And now we wait. She’s prepared. I’m prepared…well, as prepared as a Mom can be when her once-tiny 5-lb. baby girl is about to become a woman. Having her Aunt Flo’s visit all planned out means I feel much more at ease with this change in our lives. I’m not sure she knows to appreciate all this preparation yet, but any day now, I think she will.