How to help your daughter with her first period: Creating positive first period experiences.
We could spend a lot of time in this blog post lamenting about the many many poor first period stories that echo across the web, but let's keep this corner free of those hurtful experiences and focus on the positive and building better.
Welcome to a journey of growth and understanding, as we embrace one of life's significant milestones: a first period.
This post is dedicated great parents who wish to transform this experience into a positive and celebrated rite of passage. There are some suggestions for ways to provide support, knowledge, and a touch of celebration to help your young person and those around them navigate this transition with confidence and care.
From preparing the right supplies to sharing global cultural practices, we are here to guide you through creating a memorable and empowering first period experience.
A great opener: highlight how different cultures celebrate this rite of passage:
perhaps spend some time reading up or researching together how other cultures embrase this lfe stage and celebrate it if you feel yours doesn't do it justice!
Mention how these traditions emphasise the positivity and significance of menstruation. Here are some examples:
India: Ritu Kala Samskara Ceremony
- Background: In many parts of India, the first menstruation of a girl is celebrated as "Ritu Kala Samskara" or "Ritusuddhi." This ceremony is rooted in Hindu traditions and is considered a rite of passage marking a transition into adulthood
- Celebration Details: The young person is dressed in fine clothes and jewelry, and rituals are performed by a priest or elder family members. They are often given gifts and blessings from relatives and friends. The celebration can be quite elaborate, depending on the region and family traditions.
- Cultural Significance: This ceremony is seen as an auspicious occasion, celebrating fertility. It's a way to educate the young person about their new responsibilities and the changes they will experience.
Japan: Seijin no Hi (Coming of Age Day)
- Background: While not specifically for menstruation, "Seijin no Hi" is a national holiday in Japan, celebrated on the second Monday of January. It recognizes young people who have reached the age of majority (20 years old), marking their transition into adulthood.
- Celebration Details: Young women often wear a traditional dress known as "furisode," a style of kimono for unmarried women. Ceremonies are held at local and prefectural offices, followed by parties with family and friends.
- Cultural Significance: The day serves as a reminder for the new adults about their responsibilities. It's a way to celebrate their journey into adulthood, encompassing all the transitions they undergo, including those like menstruation which symbolize maturity.
3. Sri Lanka: Puberty Ceremony
- Background: In Sri Lanka, the first menstruatio is marked with a puberty ceremony, reflecting the country's rich cultural heritage. It's known locally as "Sadangu" in Tamil communities.
- Celebration Details:During their first menstruation, the young person spends timeat home, attended by a few older women who teach them about adulthood. After this period of isolation, a grand celebration is held. The young person wears traditional attire and is presented to guests as an adult.
- Cultural Significance: This ceremony marks the transition from childhood to adulthood. It is an important social event, signifying eligibility for marriage and celebrating fertility.
Each of these ceremonies reflects the cultural importance placed on a the transition into adulthood, highlighting the diverse ways this milestone is acknowledged and celebrated around the world.
What can we learn from these cultural differences to offer a better experience to our young people?
1) Emotional and Educational Support
- Have open, honest conversations about what menstruation is and what to expect.
- Provide books or resources tailored to her age group for better understanding.
- Provide assurance of your availability for any questions or concerns
2) Marking the Occasion
- Plan a small celebration or a special day out to acknowledge this milestone.
- Consider gifting a piece of jewelry or a keepsake to remember the day.
- Create a tradition, like a special meal or activity, to celebrate this time each month.
3) Preparing the Right Supplies,
- Assemble a 'First Period Kit' containing sanitary pads, tissues, hand sanitiser and a small discreet bag for carrying these items. We suggest avoiding tampons the the first few times around.
- Add comforting items like a Hug Wearable Heatpack, some lovely socks and face masks. Snacks and soothing teas like ginger are always welcome!
- Consider preparing all this in a 'gifty' format such as lovely box given in advance and anticipation
That's a wrap on our little journey through the world of first periods!
Isn’t it amazing how different cultures celebrate this big step? It's so much more than just a biological change—it's about growing up, getting stronger, and stepping into womanhood. We'd love to hear from you too!
Share your traditions, your stories, or just how you felt during this time. Let’s keep the conversation going and spread some love and positivity about this special time in a girl's life. Together, we can make sure that starting a menstrual cycle is something to be celebrated and talked about openly.
Can't wait to hear your stories, how did this happen in your family? How would you like it to happen for future generations?