The First Period - Mothering An Adolescent
Created by Divya Marwaha Updated on May 30, 2021
"Look Mom, it has happened!" That was the moment of truth, the moment when I realized that educating my daughter about menstruation well in advance had made the big difference between "What has happened?" to "It has happened".
As soon as my daughter turned 10, I was apprehensive about her starting her periods because I had known mothers of girls as young as 9 years sharing about their daughters having started menstruating. Early onset of puberty has become a common occurrence these days, and this is probably triggered by the changing lifestyle, obesity and overactive hormones in teenagers due to premature exposure to media like television and internet. Researchers have established that girls, and for that matter even boys, have been experiencing puberty earlier over the last few decades. According to experts, girls who begin puberty earlier are exposed to a higher risk of low self-esteem, lower academic performance and emotional turmoil including depression.
It took me a year of contemplation to figure out whether it was right to talk to my child about menstruation. However, when she turned 11, I decided to take the initiative. I talked to her about the physical changes she was going through and also the ones she was likely to go through in the near future. About six months later, when it actually happened for the first time, the information that I had shared with her helped both of us.
Adolescence – A Testing Time For Both, The Parents And The Child
This first step into puberty is a whole new world for both, the child and the mother. A mother has to hold her daughter’s hand, support her and guide her through this transition from a girl to a young lady.
- This is probably the most challenging phase of being the mother of a daughter and patience is the key to sail through it smoothly
- Time and again, I have to remind myself that she is no longer the little girl she used to be, now she is an individual with a personality of her own, struggling to climb that crucial step between childhood and adolescence
- She will need my wholehearted support and I shall need to make sure that I am always there for her
Helping Your Daughter Cope
I still remember those days when I was going through all this myself, how I used to feel and behave. Recalling my own experience helps me avoid making judgments on my child.
- During this time, the child goes through hormonal changes which often lead to symptoms such as laziness, irritability, headaches, body ache, and nausea
- The mistake that I made in the beginning was to consider them as excuses. As I talked to mothers in my peer group I realized that these are completely natural and I needed to be more understanding of her varying moods
- We, as mothers need to patiently listen to our children and help them interpret these signals. The child also needs to be educated about the importance of physical hygiene, handling of sanitary pads and pre-menstrual symptoms
Be There For Your Child
Having a friendly conversation with my daughter was really helpful. Initially the child may feel shy discussing the topic, however, hearing that periods are not an illness or a problem, and that she is a normal young woman, reassures the child and can work wonders for her confidence.
Once she is comfortable, she will find it easier to talk to her friends and probably be more relaxed when she learns that even they are sailing the same boat.
Some Handy Tips
Lots of love and patience and a little care can help a mother ease the pain and problems that her daughter might face during her first period. Here are some handy tips that might be of help:
- You can help your daughter in maintaining a record / calendar of her menstrual cycle so that she is not caught unawares, though it might not be regular for the first year or so
- In case she feels cramps or menstrual pain, you may give her a mild pain killer. A back massage or a hot-water bottle may also do the trick. In case the pain is unbearable, she may need to see a doctor, who can prescribe an appropriate medication
- Her diet needs special attention. Spicy and oily foods, excessive salt and sugar may be avoided. A nutritious and balanced diet is important to help her body cope with the physical changes
- Raw papaya helps ease menstrual pain while, bananas are good to tackle cramps
- Warm beverages are preferable over cold drinks. Herbal tea made with ginger or lemon grass can be helpful. You may also encourage her to drink lots of water
Mothering a daughter is an extraordinary experience. Helping her through this difficult phase and seeing her grow to a lovely person is special. Once a daughter is grown up, both the mother and the daughter can look back and cherish these days as the time when the lifelong bond between them was strengthened even further.
Did you find this blog useful? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!
| Jun 23, 2015
Very good article . Though my daughter is just 7 will be useful in future. as bhava was asking my son is 12 I have told him issues like how women need caring during those times and how he should treat his class mates(girls) since they will have mood swings. i think as far as boys are concerned father should share his thoughts regarding this. if some one has still more good idea pls share .....
| Feb 04, 2016
Am going to talk to her this day itself,as she has completed her 10 years today,was worried and to tell you the truth very apprehensive How to talk these things with her. Now I have some confidence,going to see other sites for puberty chart like something that can be helpful too. thank you ma'am,this was a much needed subject and you have put it amazingly. Thanx.