I was an early starter – a nine year old, when my periods started. I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I just remember sitting on the loo, my mum knocking on the door and telling me “your period has started” and handing me a brick-like pad to put into my pants.
I had no idea what it all meant. It wasn’t confusing or scary, it was more a “what are you on about?!?” sort of thing.
My mum never had the chat with me beforehand. I’m not sure why. I know she was an early starter too – maybe having two children and being a stay at home mum meant she forgot. In my quest to keep doing everything differently to the way my mum did it, I’ve started talking to H about periods. Nothing too scary, just explaining that there’s those few times of the month when mummy likes to go to the toilet and not be disturbed, and that’s usually then. She gets that, and she found the idea of having periods a bit weird.
It started well.
“Have any of your friends mentioned periods yet?” I asked. Bear in mind, she’s six, but I know two of them have been told, plus another friend has been told how babies are made. This has not yet filtered to H.
“You mean like Jurassic?” she replied, before then going into what Jurassic periods are. Now, I get some heavy ones at the best of times, but never jurassic.
So I had to explain it wasn’t that kind of period, but a different one. She hung her head, whimpered and said “I’m SO embarrassed” and stomped off upstairs to her bedroom, slamming the door behind her. That went well.
As she’s still so young I tend to give her a few minutes then follow her up, and talk in a calm voice to get her talking about things, as she doesn’t understand this anger that has entered her life recently. At all.
I explained it all. She shrugged, “Well. Yeah. Okay.” and we left it at that. She didn’t have questions, and to be honest I’m not sure what any of my answers would be. I did say to her “but we’ll come to how babies are made at some point in the future” as I know she’s nowhere near ready for it, and thinks they just grow in your tummy. She hasn’t spent a lot of time thinking about how the baby gets into the tummy, that’ll come.
Last year we bought H a Lammily doll. She’s played with, alongside the Lottie dolls, a more grown up one. One of her friends saw it and said “oh, this doll has boobies” – to which I thought “but surely you have a Sindy or Barbie or even Monster High doll?!” in my head. The people behind Lammily have come up with a Period Party, basically, celebrating the start of periods. I get it. I want H to feel it’s normal. I don’t want her sitting on the loo and me running in with a pile of pads, having to explain it all (badly). I want her to know it’s something that will come, nothing to be scared of, and that almost all girls go through it.
This is why I think the Period Party kit is brilliant – a pair of pants for the Lammily doll, as well as some reusable sticky liners. Periods should be normal, and I’m glad this exists. If my girl ends up being as young as me when it happens (and my mum was even younger), then I want it to be normal for her. The only problem is the shipping costs as much as buying it – so I’m holding off for now. But I’m glad someone somewhere is visiting the world of periods.
I just hope she’s a bit older than me when the time comes.