mother daughter period puberty talk

Not too long ago, I mentioned to my husband that it is time to have the puberty talk with our eldest daughter. I kind of joked with him and asked if he would like to have the honour of performing this duty.  He just raised an eyebrow and said “rather you than me”.

The thing is I didn’t expect him to jump for joy when I made this gesture. Although there are many fathers who feel completely comfortable in having this conversation with their daughters; and I’m pretty sure that my husband would’ve done an excellent job at it by giving our daughter the basic information. But the thing is he has never in his life experienced ovulation, period pains, PMS or went through child birth. Outnumbered by females; I can’t help but feel sorry for the guy as the odds are against him. Soon he will have to deal with a house full of hormonal females. I can however say with certainty that as a father he will give our daughters all the support they need including purchasing sanitary pads or tampons.

Therefore as a mother; and the only person in our home of the same gender to that of our daughters; this should be my duty. As the older female who has gone through this experience; I want to be the person who teach my daughters about womanhood. I want to be the first point of resource on this topic and the powerful, positive influence. Not the school teacher, not the internet and definitely not misinformed peers.

Puberty is a time of lots of physical, sexual, social and psychological changes for a child.  Going from a child to an adolescent girl or boy. A time of confusion, raging hormones and emotional outbursts. Not all children go through puberty at the same time and everyone’s experience is different. With that in mind; perhaps I should’ve had this conversation earlier; granted that some girls get their period at the tender age of 8. However, thus far the only signs of puberty my daughter has experienced is developing breasts and growing taller.

My approach wasn’t to have a Life Science lecture with illustrations and medical terminology. But I wasn’t going to sweep things under the carpet either. Just a casual conversation whereby I share important information with her that my mother never shared with me.

From my own experience as a teenager in the late 80’s, early 90’s, the puberty talk went kind of like this “you need to start using sanitary pads, stay away from boys and don’t let them touch you”.  That’s pretty much all I got.  I was never fully explained why my body was going through all these changes. Shy, confused and clueless, I somehow successfully navigated my way through the puberty journey.

So there we were last Saturday, just my eldest daughter and I having the all-important talk. At first I could see she felt a bit awkward. To be honest; I was terrified too.  I explained to her that everyone goes through puberty and it shouldn’t be something to feel embarrassed or ashamed about. That’s when I noticed she started to relax which made me relax and the flow of conversation was easier.

This was our female bonding session.  Questions were asked, with the odd giggle here and there. For my daughter’s sake; I had to keep a level of maturity. Although there were times I wanted to laugh.  I knew I had to create a comfortable atmosphere and a safe space so that she can trust me. This was important to continue having this open flow of communication between us for years to come.

I spoke about how puberty starts – a small gland in the brain releasing two hormones named the follicle stimulating and the luteinising hormones. How her body has changed (breast development and growth spurt) and will continue to change during this phase. Other changes include hair growth on the legs, under the arm pits, genital area and a change in body shape. The importance of practicing good personal hygiene and the regular use of antiperspirant deodorant as sweat glands develop under the armpits which can cause body odour. To continue to follow a healthy balanced diet and to exercise regularly. Facial cleansing as her skin might become oily which can cause acne.

I then moved onto the menstrual cycle which is normally 28 days. Part of this cycle is ovulation. Making her understand that girls are born with two ovaries which contain thousands of eggs.  I spoke about how the aforementioned hormones travel through the bloodstream to the ovaries. Sending a message to the ovaries to start producing two other hormones namely estrogen and progesteron. The process of ovulation then starts; releasing a mature egg that travels though one of the fallopian tubes. Not all girls and women can feel when they ovulate. But symptoms that she might experience will be bloating, a white discharge, cramps on her side and back ache.

Out of everything that I explained to my daughter before; what followed was the most important part of the entire conversation. I explained to her that the lining of the uterus, which is made up of blood and tissue, thickens as the egg sits in the fallopian tube waiting to be fertilized. Educating her that during unprotected sexual intercourse between a female and male; the male’s sperm travels towards the matured egg. If the sperm cells penetrate the egg; that is when fertilization takes place. Once conception occurs; the cells turn into an embryo which moves towards the uterus for implantation. This is the start of pregnancy. Teenage girls who are sexually active with boys can fall pregnant as soon as they start ovulating. However sexual intercourse should always be consensual and happen between adults who love each other.

So with the most difficult part of the conversation out of the way – I proceeded and spoke about PMS (post menstrual syndrome) and the menstruation period. Explaining that PMS symptoms happen a week before the menstruation period. This include food cravings, moodiness, fatigue, tender breasts, stomach cramps and lower back pain. When the matured egg is not fertilized, the body sheds of the thick lining. The shedding is the lining comes in the form of blood which flows out through the vagina. This process can last up to 7 days every month. We spoke about sanitary products and touched on hygiene again.

I don’t want my daughter to have a negative viewpoint about puberty and her menstrual cycle. This is definitely not a curse and an illness. I want her to love and embrace her body. It is the most amazing part of becoming a woman. As women our bodies are powerful and an instrument that is capable of many wonderful things including carrying and birthing a child.

Now that I had this very important talk with my eldest daughter; I am ready to have the same talk with my youngest.  You would’ve noticed that I did not talk to her about boys and her first crush. This topic of discussion I’m leaving in the capable hands of my husband. On our parenting journey, we share responsibilities and he plays an active role in raising and educating our daughters. I have no doubt that it will be a very interesting talk.

So, have you had the puberty talk with your child? How did it go? Please share your experience in the comment box.

 


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27 comments on “The Puberty Talk: Things I’m sharing with my daughter that my mother never told me”

  1. That sounded amazing and your daughter must feel reassured that she can talk to you. I know when I had chats about similar things with both my daughter and my son, I did it over a few sessions so that they could digest what was being said and think of questions. Good job and good luck! #globalblogging

    • Sophie, it was such a weight off my shoulders after talking to her. I want my daughters to know that they don’t have to feel ashamed to come and talk to me about anything that they are not sure about. I have spoken to her before about body changes and we went to buy training bras. So that part was easy as I just recapped but I’m glad I had the full talk with her. Of course, she will still have many other questions as time goes by and I’m here to answer all of it. Thanks #globalblogging

    • Thanks Jean – as parents we are trying our best and yes there are days when we slip up big time but we need to give our kids that assurance that we will support them through this journey #globalblogging

  2. It’s so awesome that you gave your daughter info on what her body goes through when she has her period, leading into how it lends to reproduction – a nice way of tying the pieces together and not having the “sex talk”. You seem to have found a great balance between the biology, the reality, and the miracle of our internal workings as a woman!! 🙂 🙂

    • Thanks Ferowza – as per my Facebook response – we keep an open mind to these things and want both our daughters to have an open communication about these kind of issues.

  3. I’m very much of the ‘as it comes up’ and try not to bring any of my baggage to the table. Just facts and open answers, and nothing off limits (which kills me sometimes). But def no shame or embarassemnt – just normalise it all. And I do think the same puberty talk should also be with the sons so they get that menstration is just part of life and nothing to keep ‘secret’ and private etc….

    • I agree boys should definitely be made aware of how the menstrual cycle works – there are still too much stigma attached to it. They need to realise it is not a dreaded disease.

  4. Our daughter has naturally gravitated to her Mum about the practicalities of bodily changes, periods and so forth, but she is in no way inhibited about discussing the broader issues around puberty, and dealing with her feelings. So far, so good! #DreamTeam

    • Generally daughters go to their moms first – I’m hoping for an easy journey as well but can’t guarantee as PMS has not hit us yet #dreamteam

  5. I found out about puberty at school because my mum thought “they’d do a better job at explaining it” I was horrified as all my friends seemed to have had a heads up from their Mums so I will definitely be talking about it with mine before the school do and this gives me a great framework.

    • That’s exactly why I decided to have the talk with my daughter before she gets minimal information from school and are even more confused when receiving this information from her friends. I want both my daughters to have that open communication channel with both their father and I. Back when I was a teenager I was raised with a conservative background and these kind of topics were taboo but how I wished I had this kind of guidance when I was young.

  6. I think I only remember a conversation with the eldest, but that was too long ago to remember. The rest learned from one another. Any conversations we have have never been awkward. Like you it was very basic between my Mum and me.

    • I think it becomes easier when there are other siblings involved. Like you had the talk with the eldest and they then explain to those who follow – but still knowing that there is that open line of communication between parent and child.

  7. As someone who had this chat with my own daughter a couple of years ago, you did it really well and concisely. I think I handled my situation pretty well too. I got much the same as you when I was my daughter’s age x #GlobalBlogging

  8. I have started discussing puberty with my eldest daughter. I think I may have to be a bit more thorough after reading this, so thank you for giving me the heads up to cover it all with as much detai l as possible #stayclassymama

  9. The talks are so important. I remember a friend’s teen got her period and thought she was dying. Didn’t tell her mom for 3 months! Only told her when she realized it kept happening. That’s a hard thing to deal with on your own when you’re so young. Glad you’re talking with your daughters! #GlobalBlogging

  10. I wish I had this when I was younger, my mum didn’t really give me any information and when I started my period she gave me a sanitary towel which is the kind you use once you’ve just had a baby…. not for a 14 year old! My sister was more useful and at 6 years older, she was confident enough to know how to give me the information I needed. Your girls are lucky to have such a wonderful mummy =]Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week.

  11. Well done for tackling the puberty talk. I don’t remember either of my parents doing the same, although I remember there was a book. Whilst my girls are younger than yours, we do talk a little about periods. I just want everything to be as normalised as possible so they feel no shame or worry about their feelings or talking to us. Thanks for linking up #twinklytuesday

  12. sounds like you covered all the important topics and now she can come to you to ask questions more freely. I have had the talks, well I guess more several talks with my girls, but more so far with the eldest. I wanted to make them feel comfortable to always be able to talk to me openly. #StayClassyMama

  13. I have been planning to talk about puberty with my older two as I want them to have the correct information and not be confused or confronted by ‘facts’. Thanks for linking up with #stayclassymama

  14. It wasn’t until I read this post that I realised that this talk may be closer for us than I had thought, and I’m so glad you’ve shared with us the things that you talked about. It sounds like you have given a good overall picture and, I’m sure, reassured your daughter. #blogcrush

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