The Period Talk
Just the other day, my 8 years old daughter saw a sanitary napkin advertisement on tv and she asked me some very pertinent questions on it – what are periods? Why is it blue in color? Why do I use pads, which she has seen in the closet? I decided to take the questions head on and not to hide or misguide her. My girl is growing up and she has the right to get all her questions answered.
I started by saying that periods or menstruation is a natural phenomenon that every girl gets when she reaches attains puberty. Blood comes out from the uterus and it is not blue in colour as shown in the tv commercial. I also told her that since I too menstruate, she must have seen the packet.
My aunt heard our conversation and later she advised me that I should have also told her that menstrual blood is unhealthy and that she should refrain from certain activities when she starts her periods! While I did not feel the necessity to burden my daughter’s young mind with unnecessary stuff, I also started wondering about the myths that still prevail in our society.
Myths v/s Facts
Even the 21st century is not spared from the tentacles of menstrual myths. It is about time we do a quick fact check, so that our daughters are well informed and use their own judgement.
Myth: You are impure
Fact: Menstruation symbolizes a lady’s biological cycle. How can the blood be impure if it is required for the well-being of the foetus? The assumption that menstrual blood may have come from age old beliefs and customs. It may also have stemmed as the blood comes out from the vagina and people feel uncomfortable talking about it.
Myth: Talking about menstruation will scare the child
Fact: On the contrary, a girl is mostly confused and clueless as suddenly her body changes. This is the time when she needs proper guidance and attention.
Myth: Do not exercise
Fact: Doctors always advise to go for brisk walk or do light exercise. This will promote good sleep and prevent period cramps too.
Myth: Avoid cooking as the food will get contaminated
Fact: While it is a good idea to get a break from cooking, but a menstruating lady does not contaminate food!
As a mother, I will always be there to support her when she attains puberty. I shall take care of the following when she gets her first period:
Make her aware about the ‘beauty’ of it – Menstruation is still a taboo topic. So, I shall teach her to live with her head held high always. No one has the right to discriminate her just because of her gender. The first period talk may create a picture of do’s and don’ts in her young mind and hence it is important what I say and how I say. For example, my daughter will always know that menstruation is a normal cycle of life as opposed to the popular belief that is a ‘ladies’ monthly problem.’ It becomes a problem if it does not happen regularly or if proper hygiene is not maintained.
Consult a doctor – A doctor can help her understand her body better and take necessary precautions or medications if needed.
Social approach – I shall share with her about how society feels towards menstruation even today. This is not to scare her but to keep her informed. I will only preach what I strongly believe in. I do not believe that a woman become impure during those four days and so should not touch pickles or pray to God. After all, love and respect originate from the mind and soul.
Times are changing fast and it is upon us to accept the realities of life. There is no point talking in hushed voice about menstruation, rather accept it and move on. Once a fair understanding finds a place in our minds, our social scenario will change too. We need both men and women to support the cause and believe in it.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi
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