Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Our Tween's First Period / Menstrual Cycle

2020 sure started off with a big bang!! Lil Pumpkin got her first period on Fri 3 Jan 2020.

To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive about writing on this topic, as it still is somewhat a taboo topic in our society even in these modern times. There's still a stigma around having your menstruation as it is perceived as unclean and embarrassing, and is not often talked about in public {especially Asian societies?} or even in private among family or friends.

However, it is a milestone for Lil Pumpkin to have her first period, and truth be told, it is a milestone for our whole family! Just like her first time crawling, her first time standing on her own, her first time walking, her first time eating solid food, her first time sleeping through the night... I am very proud and happy of my little girl for hitting this milestone. If I'm not afraid to write those down on my blog so that I don't forget the details, why should I about this?

Don't worry, I won't go into any gory details but just mainly what's been happening and how we've been feeling the past few days when Lil Pumpkin got her first period last week. 

Having our period is a natural process for a woman, and signifies her coming-of-age. There's really nothing to be embarrassed about, and indeed, that is something that I've been emphasizing to Lil Pumpkin too. There's no need for her to feel scared or ashamed about having her period. It is normal. 

Of course, I've been emphasizing that to her not just because it's how I feel about it, but also because I recognise that because she has it now when most of her friends haven't yet, and because she has contact with young boys who may not understand what it's like for a girl to have her period, Lil Pumpkin may get teased or made to feel uncomfortable. 

She needs to have that inner strength and knowledge to not be affected by the unnecessary teasing she might encounter due to her menstruation.

We have actually been preparing her for a while for her first period and puberty by talking to her about it, getting her to read The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls {might do a review of that later} and this year, I even prepared a "period kit" with a small pouch filled with sanitary pads, clean undies and a small plastic bag {to put her dirty undies in} for her to bring to school.

Usually girls get their first period when they are 10 - 12 years old. I got mine when I was about 12 if I remember correctly. I was expecting Lil Pumpkin's first period to come maybe at the end of this year, or even next... but not so soon as last Friday! Lil Pumpkin was surprised too.

Nevertheless, she's been experiencing puberty and a growth spurt the past year so we really shouldn't be that startled.

It started with some blotchy spots and discharge on her undies which she didn't think to tell us, then she felt like she had a stomachache so told the boy, who asked me to check on her.

Thankfully, I was home sick from work and was able to be there for her that day. Poor dear must have been kind of confused about what's happening! I checked her undies and saw the spots and discharge so deduced that she was having her first period.

When her flow started, it was pretty heavy and she had to change her pads even more often than I usually do. There were a few mishaps, but I taught her how to deal accordingly if it happened at home/ school etc. and she's learning fine. She was apologetic but I told her there's nothing to be sorry about. Just remember to pass us the dirty laundry to wash asap before it stains (๑•́ω•̀๑)

As of today, which is Day 6, she is still bleeding... but I think it should end today or tomorrow. I read that the first period often is very heavy and painful. Ovulation helps make a “normal” period. Unfortunately, many girls do not ovulate in the beginning, resulting in heavy bleeding.

Luckily for Lil Pumpkin, she does not have much period pains {like me}. She says that she has cramping, but it is not debilitating pain {although I did warn her that some girls experience that} and she still seems as active as before. No change in appetite or behaviour too. 

I'm glad that her first period came on a Friday at home, so that she had time to adapt and deal with the change over the weekend while I was home with her too. An important milestone like this really calls for patience, time and care from parents. 

The past few years we've been kind of "cruising" as parents. Lil Pumpkin is an easy-going child and relatively independent. We don't really need to worry about her daily life or make considerable efforts in taking care of her outside our usual family routine. We had everything down to a pat.

Suddenly since she got her period, it feels like she's a baby all over again whereby we have to teach her new skills on how to use new items, how to take care of her developing body, how to vocalise and deal with all these new emotions and thoughts that she might be having etc.

And yet suddenly since she got her period, it feels like the teenage years are nearer than we thought and as parents we are unlocking a whole new level! We are navigating new, murky waters and need to have new skills on how to support her new growing mind and body, hormones, need for privacy, possible defiance as she tries to define her own identity and... boys???!

Yikes. God give us the strength and wisdom to deal with this new season in our lives.

My darling daughter is no baby no more, but I know that she will always be my baby girl

P.S. I need to give a shout out to the boy who has been nothing but a supportive dad to Lil Pumpkin when she got her first period. He didn't shun the topic, make light of the situation or caused her to feel embarrassed. He helped to clean up her mess and mishaps, gave her tips on how to take care of herself and eat well, and was very reassuring, as he always is. Thank you, Poogeo.

Any tips on handling a tween / teenage daughter?
Do you remember how your first period went?


An Apel a Day said...

I think it's great you wrote about it. I grew up with all sisters. Guess what? I talk about getting it once a month to my boys. I'm pretty open in my discussion because someday they'll have girlfriends, a wife, friends that will need empathy when they get it.

Indah Nuria Savitri said...

Happy new year, Ai! It's been quite some times I haven't been visiting here.. My daughter is still 9 y.o and I guess I should be ready for this as well. I remember my first when I was on the first year of Junior High. It was not that terrifying any more after i talked to my mom how to handle it. not that easy to get used to it though..

Theresa Mahoney said...

I love, love, love that you didn't make a big fuss over it and the boy even helped her see that it is natural and normal. When Allison first got hers, she didn't want to tell me face to face, so she took a photo of her undies and sent me a text message LOL. We've always been pretty open about body talk though, so it wasn't a big deal when either of our girls started. (I cried and was horrified when I got mine at 13). We also read The Care and Keeping of You. Great book for preteen girls!