In a society where three out of ten girls don't even know what menstruation is at the time of their first period, there is a crucial need for parents and teachers to start educating their daughters and/or students early. The main concerns against doing so are usually that it might be too soon, too awkward, or might give rise to too many questions, etc. Here's why these concerns can be solved easily with a little bit of effort, and why keeping your daughter informed pays off massively.
Period-talks make girls aware
Period talks are important instruments of learning about the reproductive system, puberty and the female body accurately, without your daughter having to rely on misrepresentations or other sources. Conversations about the anatomy, hormones, changes in the body and menstrual cycles help girls know themselves, their changing bodies, privacy, safety and reproduction well, and explore these concepts in ways that are mutually agreeable. When girls are more informed, they can make better choices and are responsible for themselves.
Girls can be better prepared for menarche
A clear whats-what of periods: what actually happens, what women go through, the discomforts and the viable solutions go a long way in making your daughter prepared for puberty and menstruation. Getting her first period when she knows nothing about it can be frightening, confusing or wildly unpleasant for your daughter. If you had a similar experience, remember how that felt or what it still triggers. Offering her basic understanding of what she can expect and when helps her stay confident and reduces the chances of her first period being a negative or an embarrassing experience. Moreover, she will know exactly what to do the day her periods arrive and can function independently.
Period-talks present a healthy way to perceive
Talking to your daughter about periods
in a spontaneous and positive manner will rub off the same attitudes on her. It empowers her to view her body, her sexuality and her cycles in healthy and powerful ways. A sub-conversation on body image can erase the possibility of low self-esteem or insecurities. It can convince her that periods are a natural process of growing up and all feelings of shame are misplaced. As a result, period talks make your daughter accept herself, sharpen her perception of the world, and leave her better equipped to handle changes coming her way.
They establish communication
It is important, especially during adolescence, for parents to be available for, and build an open and honest relationship with their children. Explaining and listening to your daughter can help her realize that she can talk about anything with you, without any restraints or fears. It creates trust and transparency. Your daughter will also feel better heard and supported when matters that might at first seem uncomfortable to talk about are adequately and appropriately discussed. This way, you will be the source of information she can trust the most and all myths and misconceptions can be discarded in straightforward ways. Period talks are sure ways of enabling your daughter step into adolescence fully supported, such that you both have an enriched learning experience.
The culture of shame and silence is the reason millions of girls know very little about their monthly cycles, are forced to hide their sanitary napkins, and cannot talk to anyone about their period troubles. Not talking about periods causes far too many and serious problems. Some girls are even convinced that they are dying of cancer when they first menstruate, while others have been told that pickles spoil when a menstruating woman touches them. By talking to your daughter openly about a taboo subject, you're also helping create a community where instead of having to hide an entire portion of their lives constantly, women and girls can celebrate the power of menstruation.
Illustrator: Bigyani Pragyan Kumari