*Note upfront: This blog is written with full consent of my sources of inspiration.
In the past 10 years I have come to realise that talking about menstruation (with basically anyone) has many advantages and is great fun as well. Recently at home, with a newbie menstruator around, we have had the most interesting and hilarious chats, resulting in lots of laughter and mutual learning. And on Menstrual Health Day today, I thought let’s share some of this, and some tips about talking with kids about periods!
It’s great to share and to show that it is possible and fun to talk about menstruation! I also like to be an inspiration to all the other parents I have met during the many project visits, trainings, and workshops I have participated in, where we have discussed SRHR and menstruation, in particular. Often, even other SRHR professionals – parents, doctors, and gynaecologists – ask me: “HOW? How do I talk about all this with my child?”
With this in mind, please enjoy reading a few of my families most preciously documented menstrual talks and scroll down further for a list of tips.
Mom: Is it nearly over?
Mom: Okay…have you already installed a menstruation app?
Teen: Are you serious? I mean… it has literally been 3 days! 3 days that my vagiga bleeds. Should I already know my cycle? My moon phase? Girl…ehhh Woman…calm down!
Mom: Do you know what menstruation is?
Kid: Yes, that’s when blood comes from the poeni
Mom: Right. And this gets to happen to whom exactly?
Mom: All women?
Kid: Well…not if they have changed into men of course! 🤓
Mom: Did it work out with the tampon?
Teen: Guess so…
Mom: Wow that is great! So you don’t feel it sit?
Mom: Cool! Well done! What would be your tips to friends?
Teen: Well…a little exploration with a mirror to start with. And if you think it won’t fit, stop thinking. Just…shove-it-in!
Mom: Why do we bleed?
Kid: It is for a nest of the egg when you get pregnant…but if there is no egg…well…where can the blood go? Nah…it leaves the poeni! 🤓
Mom: You really know a lot about it 😉
Mom: Did you get the tampon out?
Teen: I want to wait until 6 hours.
Mom: Why? You swam the whole afternoon. The thing must be soaked.
Teen: Mom, trust me on this! I don’t want to risk getting a carpet burn.
Mom: A WHAT burn? 😳
Teen: In my coochienana. By removing the tampon too early…
Kid: How is it called?
Mom: What do you mean?
Kid: Such things for the blood..?
Mom: You mean a pad?
Kid: Yes that but the other small one you have? I know what it is, but not how it is called? HELP ME OUT HERE!
Mom: Calm down…You mean a cup?
Kid: YES that thing! 😮💨
Teen: That is huge!!!
Mom: There are mini cups as well, I’ll ask my friend.
Mom: It is not much bigger than a tampon and it’s soft, bendable material.
Teen: Cups are to hold drinks. Period!
Talking about Menstruation Tips:
With this in mind and by fostering openness and curiosity about menstruation and periods, when a child has or is about to have their first period, there is no need for THE conversation. It’s good to remember that it is not going to be awkward, but fun, and you will continue laughing and learning together. With this, a solid base for more advanced CSE talks is created, in case those talks have not already naturally started!
Disclaimer: This information is based on personal experience. Dorine is not a medical doctor or a paediatrician, but a public health expert, parent, and Coordinator of Share-Net International.