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My daughter is a little over 9 and a half years old, and she recently got her first visit from Aunt Flow. To be completely honest, she took it a lot better than I did.
Just a bit of a side-note before I continue: to be respectful of my daughter’s privacy, I was sure to ask her beforehand if she was okay with me sharing our experience online. She gave me the green light and was even intrigued by the title of the post 😊
The Unexpected Day
I won’t go much in detail about the exact day Aunt Flow decided to grace my daughter with her presence, but I will say that it was recent and completely unexpected. I was prepared yet unprepared for my 9-year-old to come home from school to be met with the sight of red in her underwear.
In shock—once I ensured she didn’t somehow cut herself down there– we smiled at each other in disbelief. Her smile seemed to be filled with nervous excitement; mine was secretly filled with uneasiness and a hint of distraught.
That was the day my daughter became a young woman. It was also the day I was hit by reality.
Helping Her Ease into New
Since I consider our transition a smooth one, I want to share some of my personal advice with you in hopes that your transition will be the same. Whether your daughter has already begun her cycle or she’s showing the first signs of puberty, I believe knowledge is power and it’s good (for both you and your daughter) to be prepared.
Prepare Her Beforehand
When my daughter was in the 3rd grade, I bought her The Care & Keeping of You (The Body Book for Younger Girls). Of course I talked to her about the puberty changes that were bound to happen sooner than later, but I believe this book really helps put things in perspective for younger minds. My daughter read it at least 5 times so far and has shared it with a couple of her close friends at school. She’s even revisited the book since her cycle started. I don’t know about you, but that’s considered a good buy in my book (see what I did there!) 😉
Again, the book shouldn’t replace a one-on-one talk with your daughter about what’s going on in her body when Aunt Flow comes every month, but it is a great addition to the learning experience and will help her be aware and more knowledgeable. Now that her cycle has come, we will be buying the second edition body book for older girls which shares advice and goes more in depth for managing physical and emotional challenges.
Make Yourself Available
As I stated earlier, the day Aunt Flow became a part of our lives was completely unexpected, so please don’t fault me for being on the phone with a friend of mine when it happened. But as I look back on it, how awful would it have been if I just handed my daughter a pad nonchalantly (especially since she was already aware of what was most likely going on) and closed the bathroom door behind me while still on the phone? Harsh, right?
I’m not saying you would do this to your daughter or judging you if it’s what you actually did. However, I am suggesting that you be very mindful when your daughter’s first time presents itself. I’ve read too many stories from women my age whose mother didn’t give them the attention needed as they freaked out about not knowing what was happening to them. I didn’t want that to be the story for my daughter, and I don’t want it for yours either. Put that phone down, get off work early (if possible), send a trusted family member to be with your daughter if you can’t be there…do whatever possible to give her the attention she needs in one of the most vulnerable times of her life.
If you’re wondering how my daughter’s story went; I got my behind off the phone real quick (her words, not mine..smh) and tended to every need, question, and concern. I later asked her if she felt I prepared her enough for her “new”, and thankfully she said that I did my job well.
Give Her Support/ Make it A Special Moment
When I got my first cycle at the age of 10, I felt so alone. I was already a quiet kid, so not knowing if other girls in my class were experiencing the same thing as I was, was intimidating. It felt like this big secret I carried for 4 days every single month that I didn’t feel comfortable sharing with anyone. It was HARD!
After talking with my daughter, I found that things haven’t changed much since I was in school. There is only one other girl in her class– which happens to be her best friend (thank God!)– who has their cycle, too. Knowing she isn’t alone in her class makes me feel a bit better, but still doesn’t stop me from being her biggest support system.
Be there for your daughter. Let her know that she’s not alone, and you’re there to answer any questions she may have. Doing this will make a world of a difference– trust me! To help her feel even more supported– although this first visit is a big shock– make this moment special. Take her out for ice cream, get a pedicure together, or take her with you to buy her first pads; the day your daughter becomes a young woman should be one she will always remember.
Give Her Time to Adjust (Show Grace)
Your pre-teen won’t be used to wearing a pad (or tampon), or knowing when to change it right off the bat, so be sure to show her grace. If she needs your help often for the first few months, even if you have showed her what to do and how to do it time and time again, compassionately be there for her. The last thing any child would want is to feel like a burden when they are getting used to their “new”. This learning experience is a big change, but I guarantee she will adjust on her own timing. Your part is to always show love, patience, and grace.
The Two Things to Avoid
The day my daughter started her first menstrual cycle sent me in worry overload. I was sure to keep my poker face in the midst of helping her, but best believe it was only a front. I’m not over exaggerating when I say that I tossed and turned a lot that night. Each and every time I woke up, I was faced with the reality that chose to slap me in the face earlier.
Don’t let that be you.
The fact that your daughter is officially a young woman is scary, I know, but stressing yourself out the way I did isn’t helpful or beneficial. Try to remember that growing up and experiencing changes are a part of life, and at one point you had to face that change, too. Just as it took you time to get adjusted to your “new”, the same applies for both you and your daughter. Hold your head up, mama; you’re doing a great job.
2. She’s Not Too Young
I may be stepping on a few toes on this one, but I strongly believe it needs to be brought to light; especially since I’ve experienced it personally.
Don’t listen to the “She’s too young” naysayers!
As I stated before, my daughter will be 10 next April, so of course I got a couple of, “Really!? She’s too young!” responses as I shared the big news. Although I’m sure they meant no harm, I still found it a bit bothersome. Their reaction made me feel as though I did something wrong to the reason my daughter started her cycle sooner than others. Honestly, after self-reflection, I realized that that is far from the truth.
Every child is different and on their own biological clock when it comes to growing and developing.
Depending on your child’s age, you may get a couple of unwanted, not intended to harm responses, but don’t allow it to get you down or make you believe that you did something wrong (or in my case, fed your child improperly). It’s better to be mindful of when your daughter begins puberty; that is the tell tale sign of her first cycle .
And there you have it! I hope some of the tips help. In the meantime, how did you help you Preteen ease into her first cycle? Let us know in the comments below.