Posted on Categories:Periods, Puberty, Rites Of Passage

My daughter just got her period? Now what?

We can never really know when our daughter will start her period.  Sometimes it can take us completely by surprise, and even when we are prepared, there can be questions of what to do next.
Working through each of these will help ensure she has everything she needs to know covered off for the first little while, and remember to keep the conversation going.  Don’t stop once she’s started, there will still be plenty of questions and uncertainty.
EXPLAIN THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE

Ensure she knows what is actually happening and that her period is not just a random bleed each month.It is actually SO much more than thatYou can use the following video to help explain the menstrual cycle.

Ensure to use correct terminology for her anatomy.  We all know where our lungs, heart and brains are and what they do.The same should apply for our ovaries, uterus and cervix.

KNOW WHAT IS NORMAL

The first few years of her period can be a little different to what we have come to know is normal and regular.Tracking her cycle is a very important part of knowing her body and finding what is normal for her.

Four things that are normal (anything outside of this is considered abnormal)

1 – Cycle length of 21 – 45 days.It can take two years for it to become a regular 26-32 cycle, and fluctuations are normal
2 – Bleeding for between 3-6 days
3 – Blood loss of between 30-80ml over the course of her period
4 – Colour can change between red and brown, and is often brown to start with.
Bonus 5 – Pain is common, but is not normal.Anything outside of these should be closely monitored.Our periods are very good at giving us clues of our overall health.

 

PREPARE WITH PRODUCTS

The options we have available now are so fantastic!

– Biodegradable and organic disposable pads
– Reusable pads
– Period underwear and swimwear
– Biodegradable and organic disposable tampons
– Menstrual cups and discs

Spend some time looking at all of the options and seeing what your daughter is the most comfortable with.There is no right or wrong here, it really is personal preference.  Practice with them to ensure she knows how they work and signs of when to change.

ADDRESS THE PHASES

Having a menstrual cycle means we are cyclical beings and it’s normal for us to feel differently, behave differently, create differently and even eat differently in each different phase of our cycle.

Just like the seasons, we move through four different phases
– Menstrual phase/Inner Winter
– Follicular phase/Inner Spring
– Ovulation phase/Inner Summer
– Luteal phase/Inner Autumn

This is where cycle tracking comes in and can help guide us to better work with our own seasons.

SHARE STORIES & HONOUR HER

It can feel lonely as a teen or tween going through these changes.Help her feel less alone by sharing your own first period stories.If you have other special women in her life, ask them to share their stories as well.Talk about what life was like for you at that time.

Acknowledging this rite of passage is important and will help her know of the special place she holds in her family and her wider community.Do this in a way that honours who she is.Some girls are happy for others to know and a celebration to be had, other girls would prefer a quiet, more intimate acknowledgement.

My in person and online workshops go into each of these much deeper, and both mother and daughter come away with a newly formed bond.
Posted on Categories:Periods, Puberty

Dealing with Excess Oestrogen

Why do we need to know about excess oestrogen and what can we do about it?

 

Before we look at excess oestrogen, let’s have an overview of what oestrogen is.  We have three kinds of oestrogen, each made in different parts of the body, some are made in the fat cells and adrenal glands, but the most, during our menstruating years are made in the ovaries.  This one is called estradiol.  This is the queen of all estrogen’s.  It’s our happy hormone.  It stimulates mood and libido as it boosts serotonin (which promotes feelings of well being and happiness) and dopamine (which is associated with motivation and pleasure). Estrogen also makes us care for others, and if you notice in your own cycle when it’s easier to care for others, and when you find yourself less tolerable, it could well be due to the rise and fall of estrogen.

 

It also has many other benefits for bones, muscles, brain, heart health, sleep and metabolism.  It also enhances sensitivity to insulin, so helps prevent insulin resistance, which is linked to PCOS.

 

Estrodial is a growth hormone, so as long as its there it’s helping all of the beneficial things grow and be supported.  One of it’s main job is to also grow the uterine lining to prepare for a baby.  The more estrodial you have, the thicker your uterine lining will be and the heavier your period will be.

 

On a quick side tangent, if you take the hormonal birth control pill, your ovaries are not making estrogen, as your hormones are essentially shut down.  So along with this you are not getting all of the wonderful benefits of estrogen on the things above, which may impact your long term health.  Something that we do not get told and is important to consider.

 

Back to estrogen.  During certain times in our menstruating years, it is normal for the balance of estrogen and progesterone to be out.  This is in the first few years of having our cycle, and during perimenopause, which could be up to 10 years before our periods eventually stop.  The reason for this imbalance is that we are not ovulating each cycle, and therefore not producing progesterone.  Progesterone is another essential hormone that is only released once the follicles have released the egg.  While progesterones main job is to hold and nourish a pregnancy, it also has a pivotal role in counter balancing estrogen.  It helps thin the lining of the uterus, while estrogen thickens it, it helps prevent breast cancer, while estrogen can promote it, it helps boost hormone thyroid while estrogen suppresses it.

 

The menstrual cycle has been considered the 5th vital sign, and you can see why when getting the balance right or wrong can have real health implications.

 

So how can we tell when the balance is out?  Excess oestrogen has many symptoms.  These include:  

  • Heavy periods
  • Breast tenderness
  • Cysts
  • PMS
  • Painful periods
  • Endo
  • Fibroids
  • Menstrual migraines
  • Mood swings and irratibilaty
  • Moodiness and meltdowns
  • Depression
  • Weepiness
  • Mid cycle pain
  • Brain fog
  • Weight gain around middle
  • Bloating, puffiness or water retention
  • Abnormal smears

 

Remember, it’s the balance of estrogen and progesterone that we want to work out.

 

Some reasons why this might be occurring

  • Anovulatory cycles (common in teen years and perimenopause)
  • PCOS
  • Poor estrogen detoxification
  • Poor diet
  • Gut issues, like constipation
  • Stress, higher levels or cortisol which competes with progesterone
  • Birth control pill
  • Environmental toxins, which are all around us.  Particularly BPA’s

 

Another thing to consider with our teens is that our hormone receptors are very new to the sudden influx of hormones and therefore very sensitive to them.  Until they get used to the new hormonal flow this can have an impact on how they feel emotionally.  Everything is that little bit extra heightened.

 

There are ways we can address this imbalance, but it’s important to know that all of the symptoms above are not normal and can be addressed for better overall wellbeing.  Important to also know that if you are experiencing these things, and have not received the help you need, find another doctor or practitioner who is specialised.  As we head into peri, these things can worsen with more hormonal fluctuations, and despite what we’ve been told, we don’t have to put up with it.

 

Address excess oestrogen through:

  • Supporting liver detoxification and gut health.  We want to make things as easy as possible to move through us
  • Make sure youre getting enough dietary fibre so we can eliminate through the bowels
  • Drink plenty of filtered water, again, helping it eliminate through wee
  • Make sure you get enough sleep
  • Sweat – move your body in a way that sweats
  • Eating brocolli, cauli and cabbage helps binds to excess estrogen
  • Eating a carrot a day helps live detox
  • Track your cycle, notice where and when you experience the symptoms
  • Loose excess weight
  • Seek assistance from a qualified hormonal specialist
  • Look at Vit D, magnesium, selenium and Vit C and B levels, 

 

If your daughter has had her period for a couple of years, and she is still experiencing and of these symptoms, or if any of these is causing her to miss school or be in lots of pain, please don’t wait to have her assessed by a specialist.  An integrative practitioner is best.  Someone who will look at her diet, lifestyle, health history and overall health to get a full picture and find the cause, rather than treating the symptoms.

 

Posted on Categories:Puberty, Rites Of Passage

Signs your daughter is grieving her life before her period

It is very normal to feel a sense of loss and mourning with any big life changes we have.

Think about your own life experiences when you’ve felt that sense of loss and grief.  Moving into motherhood is often a time women feel that sense of loss from their carefree childless selves, as do many women as they cross into menopause – grieving their more youthful selves.

Many of our girls will have that same sense of loss with their first periods.  This could come at different times:

  • The first time they really learn about periods and what their bodies do
  • When they get their first period
  • A few months into their periods and navigating all that it brings.

The sense of loss, grief and mourning can show up in a number of different ways, so it’s important to know what to look out for in order to support your daughter through it.

Here are some signs that your daughter is grieving her life before her period.

A feeling of loss

Loss of the person she was before
Loss of how simple and free things were before
Uncertain of where she stands with people, including family members, and society

Denial

She may refuse to talk to you about her period and not tell you when it’s started. She may try to hide her underwear or products.

“No, nothing is happening”

Isolation

She may feel isolated and like nobody knows what she is going through. She might want to be alone a lot more.

“Nobody understands, they’re not me!”

Anger

She may feel like being a girl is the worst thing, and having to deal with periods is just not fair. This may also show up as resentment or bitterness.

“I hate being a girl”

Depression/Anxiety

She may wonder how she will get through this, with a lot of “what if” questions. Particularly with going back to school and being at school.

“I feel overwhelmed, how will I get through school like this?

 

We can support our daughters by allowing her to feel exactly what she is feeling.  She is going through the natural process of loss and that is okay.  Allow her that space to feel loss, to grieve and to mourn, while also showing her the wonderful side of the phase she is now stepping in to.  It’s also okay to feel this loss at the same time she feels joy and excitement for her new phase of life.

This process may take some time or may be over quickly, and it will be an important part of her own transition.  How you guide her through this will also play a part in how she sees herself as a woman.  By modelling to her the wonderful parts of being a woman, continuing to hold space for her and normalising conversations, without pushing, she will come through feeling supported.

 

Posted on Categories:Periods, Puberty

13 ways to celebrate your daughters first period

celebrate her first period
We celebrate so many of the important milestones in our children’s lives, but celebrating her first period (menarche) has been one rite of passage that’s been left off that list.
It’s time to bring the celebration back. During your conversations about periods you could talk about ways in which you could celebrate, and get some ideas from her. The important thing is to make it appropriate for your daughter. Some may not want a big fuss, while others may feel like having something more celebratory.
It’s also important to note that while the celebration or acknowledgement on the day is not the be all and end all.  To really honour your daughters cycle, and have her know this is a beautiful part of being a woman, it’s important to have many conversations as you’re noticing her develop and many supportive conversations during the first few years of her cycle.
If you’d like a few ideas of how to celebrate her first period, here are 13 suggestions: (13 for the average number of cycles we have each year)

13 ways to celebrate your daughters first period

  • A bath run and a foot massage.
  • A cuddle on the couch and watch a movie
  • A mother/daughter date to a special café for lunch.
  • A family dinner together
  • Baking a favourite cake
  • A special get together with aunties, grandmothers and other special ladies who may offer words of loving encouragement. Like a little blessing way ceremony.
  • Get your nails done together.
  • Book a night away and spend a whole day and night in each others company
  • Have a day off to do something nice together
  • A special piece of jewellery
  • Redesign her bedroom to make it more appropriate for her age.
  • Give her a box filled with special items that she can take out each time she bleeds to honour herself. Could include heat pack, special tea or hot chocolate, dark chocolate, special period underwear, pampering body product, red nail polish, non toxic, essential oils, crystal, special journal, bath salts, special book, a special item of jewellery, and a special note from you.
  • Have ongoing positive conversations

If your daughter has already started her period, it’s not too late.  You can always jump in now with a celebration.  Perhaps next time she gets her period you can carve out some time together to try some of the above things.  She may not seem very receptive at the time, but when important rites of passage are supported positively, the impact it has on her outlook of her own body is also positive.
If you want help with preparing her for her first period, seek out a workshop in your area with myself or some of my facilitators, or look into my online workshop Happy Flow.
Posted on Categories:Periods, Puberty

9 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOUR DAUGHTER HATES HER PERIOD

Even if we’ve given our girls the best preparation for when their period comes, the transition to having periods is a big one, especially for those a bit younger or neurodiverse. There can still be anxiety, doubt, embarrassment, even humiliation. Providing ongoing support at this time will not only help your daughter learn more about her own body, it will also give her an empowered view on what it is to be a woman in our society.

The way we are with our girls for their first period and the time around that, sets the scene for how she values herself as a woman. Keeping the support going will help her love, trust and understand her body. We used to retreat into a red tent or moon lodge each time we bled, and there was much to look forward to as we shared stories, rested and honoured one another. We can bring elements of that back in modern ways by approaching our periods a little differently than we have in more recent times. Here are 9 things we can do when your daughter hates her period.

 

1. GIVE HER SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO

Who doesn’t love being treated every so often, and what better time to teach your daughter how to love and honour her body than when she is bleeding. A constant reminder that she comes from love and beauty and her body is a form of love and beauty.

Look into what her love language is and each time she gets her period, remind her of her beauty with something that she loves.
– Quality Time – Carve out some time where you share some stories or watch a show together
– Physical Touch – Offer her back tickle, foot massage, or look into a beautiful Arvigo massage
– Words of Affirmation – Write a beautiful note
– Acts of Service – Help her do her chores for her for a day or two
– Receiving Gifts – You can never go past flowers or chocolate

The Period Subscription box would be the perfect idea

 

2. ROSES

Speaking of receiving gifts and never going past flowers or chocolate, there really is something in a simple red rose when we bleed. Not only will receiving the gift make her feel good, each time she sees it she will be reminded of why she was given it, and relate the beauty of the rose to her own body.

Teen moods may not always appreciate in the moment, but subliminally they will come to learn that their menstrual cycle and their bleed can be honoured.

 

3. HAVE EVERYTHING ACCESSIBLE

Ensure she always has her period products at the ready. Be that at home or in her bag for school or sleepovers.  Keep an eye on her products for when they run out, and have a system in place where she feels comfortable letting you know if she is running low.
Don’t always assume she will tell you. She may be navigating her own embarrassment or doubt, and wondering whether she has been using too much or too little.
Also let her know that leaks happen and are okay. Show her what to do with anything she has leaked on. Again, you might want to set up a system for her to let you know in a way that works for you both.

 

4. NOURISH HER BODY

Offer her things that support her body. This could be in the way of food, movement or other things. Ask her what she feels her body needs, so she can be familiar to listening to her bodies needs.

Some examples are:
– Warm teas and soups
– Hot chocolate or cacao
– Dark chocolate
– Omega 3’s like avocado or oily fish
– Warm compresses on the womb for cramps
– Restful yoga poses like child’s pose or legs up the wall
– Extra rest. Start teaching her she does not have to push through

 

5. TRACK WITH HER

Tracking her cycle is important for a number of reasons.  Tracking can:
– Highlight if there are any irregularities and things that need to be looked into
– Help determine when their next period will come, by tracking her cervical fluid
– Empower her to know her own body

Teach her how to track using an app or a journal, but also keep a note of things yourself, so you can help with her awareness.

Tracking involves noting the following:
– Period days
– Cervical Fluid days
– Physical changes like pimples, cramps, spotting
– Emotional changes like social, tired, irritable, excited
– Mental changes like anxiety or low mood
– Other things, like vivid dreams

 

6. LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Whether you still have your period or not, honour your body they way you want your daughter to honour hers. This may not come naturally when we’ve been living in a society that still has so much taboo around periods and we’ve been made to feel like we have to push through, bear pain and just get on with it.
Start to honour your own body by taking rest, asking for more help during times when you feel overwhelmed or tired, listening to your body and giving it what it needs, tracking your own cycle and understanding your own body.
Even if we are not bleeding anymore, we are still cyclical. You can use the moon to help guide your rythyms.  Plus, as a bonus, the more you do now to honour and work with your cycles, the easier you will move through peri-menopause.

 

7. MIND YOUR LANGUAGE

Among others, your daughter will pick up from you how periods are perceived within society. Even if you are not speaking directly to her, she will notice any positive or negative speak.  So many of use have experienced unpleasant or painful periods, shame or a very embarrassing start to your menstrual cycle. We know we want a different story for our daughters, and we all hope there is no suffering.
Be aware of where you might be running autopilot language about periods, as they can be very easily influenced.

 

8. MANAGE IRREGULARITIES

Don’t dismiss pain or heavy periods as normal, these are signs something is not right and we shouldn’t be suffering through our cycles.  Painful and heavy periods and long or short cycles are common but they are not normal.
Ensure that your daughter knows what is and isn’t normal for her, so you can both get any support you need for her when she needs it. This is where tracking is important, including keeping a note of her nutritional intake.
Keep in mind a normal cycle when they first start their period and for the first few years is anywhere from 21-45 days.

 

9. KEEP TALKING AND LEARNING

Our menstrual cycle is not a set and forget.  It really is a monthly report card of our health, which, when we practice learning, we become empowered about our own body.  Each period shows us how our health has been the month before, from a nutritional, physical and mental viewpoint.

The way we are with our girls for their first period and the time around that, sets the scene for how she values herself as a woman. Keeping the support going will help her love, trust and understand her body.

For more support, take a look at my Period Subscription box for teens  

Posted on Categories:Periods, Puberty

TEENS AND HEAVY PERIODS

Heavy periods are quite a common part of girls periods in the first few years.   Many mothers think that this will be ongoing, but for the most part it is temporary. There is a valid reason for this, and also a way we can help our girls through this stage.

When we first get our period it can take a few years for the brain and the ovaries to develop the pathways to communicate. Many of the cycles in the first few years are anovulatory (meaning we don’t ovulate). Because we are not ovulating, we are not producing progesterone. One of progesterones job is to thin the lining of the uterus. Without progesterone, estrogen continues to thicken the lining, resulting in heavy periods. The same thing happens as we near menopause and we again are not ovulating every cycle.

It’s important to note what constitutes a heavy period.

There are things we can do to help with the heavy periods until cycles become regular ovulatory cycles.
1 – Eat cruciferous vegetables (these pick up excess estrogens and move them through the body)
2 – Avoiding sugar, dairy and processed foods. These make the liver work harder and means oestrogen is not being detoxed as it should
3 – Drinking filtered water. Tap water contains xenoestrogens which mimic our own body’s oestrogen, increasing oestrogen even more
4 – Make sure they are not constipated, daily bowel motions eliminate excess estrogen
Get into the habit of cycle tracking. That way, if things aren’t as they should be for more than a few cycles, and you’ve supported her body with the things above, you can go to a practitioner fully armed with these vital signs to see if there is anything else at play.  She can do that either in an app, like Clue, Flo or in the health function if she has an apple product, or just good old pen and paper.
Important things to note include:
– Number of days she is bleeding
– How many times she changes a period product each day, and what the period product is
– Changes in period colour
– Any pain and how that was managed.
For heavier periods, she may be more comfortable using period underwear, or possibly even menstrual cups.  These products hold more blood than disposable pads or tampons, so she will not need to change them as much.
Suggested brands include:

Our body is always talking to us, and our period does a great job of telling us what is up. If things don’t seem right, never leave it too long before seeking help from a practitioner specialising in womens hormones.

Posted on Categories:Periods, Puberty, Rites Of Passage, Uncategorized

WHY WE NEED TO HAVE MORE THAN 1 PERIOD TALK

period talk

A little heart to heart mumma’s about why we can’t be doing our girls a disservice and only having one period talk, or leaving it up to school, or worse, her friends.

Do you know just how much how cycle changes, or how we look at our cycle differently in the 40ish years we have periods? A lot!!

I can’t say this enough, we need to be taking more notice, and having more conversations. I will say this over and over, but I wish I knew more about my cycle when it first started, not learned it all as it’s on its way out.

If our girls wanted to dance, practice art of play a sport, we wouldn’t be done in one session would we?  No, as they develop more skills, they progress to another level. Our cycle is much the same, progressing through new levels depending on our age, lifestyle and health.

Here’s 8 “levels” our cycle goes through and why we need to be having more than one period talk.

MENARCHE AND TEEN YEARS

At the onset of her first period (Menarche), it can take a few years until her brain and hormones are communicating at the mature level to bring regular cycles.So while we talk about a normal cycle being 26-32 days, this may not occur until her mid-late teens.

Until then her cycle may look like:

– A cycle of 21-45 days
– Heavier periods, caused by the ovaries not yet ovulating and no progesterone being produced.
– Mid cycle spotting
– Mood swings

TRYING NOT TO CONCEIVE

Once we become sexually active there is a time when we are actively trying not to conceive.  This is a VERY important time to know our cycle intricately.  Firstly understanding that we cannot get pregnant on any day of our cycle, but also understanding when we, personally, are most fertile.  We may choose to use a form of contraceptive at this time, and again, it’s important to know how these may affect our cycle and our bodies in the short, mid and long term.

CYCLE ABNORMALITIES

– There are many times when abnormalities occur within our cycle.Often these go undetected or undiagnosed because we’ve been told many of these symptoms are normal, or that it is in our head.The fact that endometriosis takes on average 7 years to diagnose is far too long.It is not normal to experience painful or heavy periods, or cycles longer than 33 days on a regular occurrence.The more conversations we have around this, the more help we can get for those who suffer through these.

Some cycle abnormalities include:
– Endometriosis
– PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome)
– PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder)
– Amenorrhoea
– MRKH (Mayer–Rokitansky–Küster–Hauser syndrome)

TYRING TO CONCEIVE

As with when we are trying not to conceive, preparing for conception is a crucial time in paying attention to our cycle.Not only for the conception itself, but to also prime the body in the best possible way to be carrying a baby for the following months.  Knowing our bodies most fertile times through the signs of ovulation by assessing cervical fluid, basal body temperature and other signs personal to you, will help prepare for conception. Working with the four seasons of the cycle, including resting while bleeding, will also help prime your body for pregnancy.


POSTPARTUM CYCLE

After having a baby it can take a little while for our cycles to return to normal.Firstly it may not return for several months depending on how long you are breastfeeding for, and secondly, when it does return it likely won’t be the same cycle you were experiencing before conception, for a few cycles at least.

The first few postpartum cycles can:
– Have increased cramping
– Be heavier
– Be longer or shorter in length to previous cycles
– Be more irregular (especially whilst breastfeeding)

If you’re a tampon user, things may feel a little different for a while too.

HYSTERECTOMY

The removal of the uterus, or any parts of the sexual organs can also play a big part in our cycles.  If ovaries remain, the normal cycling will remain, without the period occurring.This means that the four phases of the cycle, and the mental, emotional and energetic transitions throughout these phases will still be experienced.  Symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause will also still be experienced if the ovaries remain.During this time it is imperative that physical health remains a priority.

PERIMENOPAUSE

Anywhere from the age of 35 we can start to transition into the years of perimenopause, also sometimes termed second puberty.  Perimenopause can last from 7-10 years and goes through 4 different phases:
– Regular periods with some signs of change, including shorter cycles or heavier periods
– Irregular periods, cycles vary more than 7 days
– Skipped periods, cycles are longer than 60 days
– Last period

During this time our hormones are fluctuating wildly. It’s common to see many symptoms caused by these changes, including hot flashes, weight gain, mood swings.

MENOPAUSE

Menopause is the phase that begins one year after your last period.  The average age of menopause is 50, but it can occur between 44 and 56.  Progesterone is no longer made and oestrogen is at an all time low.

I love how Masie Hill puts it in her book Period Power

“Oestregen makes us care about others, so when it starts to wane, our tolerance for putting up with people and their bullshit goes with it, and you could find yourself acknowledging all the times that you cared for others instead of yourself and feel bitter and resentful of how your own needs have been abandoned and ignored.”

The more we talk about periods, the more we work with our own bodies to acknowledge their power and the more we learn to care for ourselves based around our cycles, the less likely we are to feel bitter and resentful once it comes to an end.

If you’re ready for more open conversations with your daughter, find out about upcoming workshops in your area here.

Posted on Categories:Periods, Puberty, Uncategorized

IS THIS MY PERIOD AGAIN OR AM I SPOTTING?

Spotting or period

When our girls first get their period, it’s not unusual for them to experience spotting in between periods. This can cause confusion and they think their period has returned so soon.

During the teen years, it’s normal for a girls cycle to range from 21 to 45 days. If there is any bleeding less than that time, or lighter bleeding during that time, they could be spotting, rather than a period. It’s important to note that spotting is not considered your period and that we teach them the difference. When they are tracking their period, spotting should not be counted as the beginning of menstruation.

Let’s look at why spotting might be occuring, and then how to “spot” the difference.

For the first few years of menstruation our brains are still working out how to communicate with our ovaries. Because of this we may ovulate in only 50% of these cycles. As ovulation is the point in our cycle where we make progesterone, if we are not ovulating, we are not making progesterone. Progesterone keeps your uterine lining intact until your period comes. If your progesterone levels are too low, you might start to spot after ovulation, or around that time if your body has not yet started ovulating each cycle. This can also be the reason why we experience spotting in the few days leading up to our period.

So, how do we know if we have our period or we are spotting? We can determine the difference by looking at the following

Flow

  • Period: A normal period will have between 30-80ml of blood. Using 3-6 pads per day
  • Spotting: Much less flow with only minimal absorption required, perhaps only one pad or panty liner

Duration

  • Period: Flow lasts for 3-7 days
  • Spotting: May occur for only 1-2 days and not be heavy

Pattern

  • Period: Will come in a cycle between 21-45 days in the first few years of her period.  As it becomes more regular will be a cycle from 24-32 days
  • Spotting: No pattern, can appear at any stage, but typically may come around ovulation or premenstrually

Colour

  • Period: Usually bright or dark red
  • Spotting: Can be light pink, dark brown or red

Symptoms

  • Period: Often accompanied with the onset of common symptoms such as cramps, tender breasts or food cravings
  • Spotting: Generally no other symptoms

If you’re daughter seems to be getting her period more often than normal, it could be that she is in fact spotting. Using these notes you can help her recognise the difference.

To prepare your daughter for any instances of spotting, it is always a good idea to have her prepared with products.  I recommend having a period pack with her at all times.  I have some ideas for you here:  HOW TO CREATE A FIRST PERIOD PACK FOR YOUR CHILD

Some of my favourite sustainable products to have on hand include:

Tsuno Pads and panty liners

Modibodi period underwear

 

Posted on Categories:Periods, Puberty, Rites Of Passage

HOW TO HONOUR YOUR DAUGHTERS FIRST PERIOD

Honour your daughters first period

 

Honouring your daughters first period and beyond is not only a one time event.

Think about any event that caused your body to go through big changes. Having a baby would be one such time. There were many conversations, a lot of preparation, celebration, most likely tears or anxiousness, and then many more conversations. At times you might have felt alone, like you were the only one going through what you were going through, because nobody had told you what you were going through was normal.

Our girls are going through these same big things at the time around their first period. By honouring it with many conversations, preparedness and a sense of normality will help honour this time and just how wonderful her body is.

Here are some ways in which you can honour your daughters first period.

Normalise Conversations

– Talk about your own cycle.If you still get a period tell her when you are bleeding and how that affects you.Whether you get a period or not, you can talk to her about your energetic cycles.
– Be factual about anatomy and use correct terms. Ovaries, uterus, cervix, vagina and vulva
– Ask her what she knows about periods
– Share your first period story with her
– Talk about the energetic and mood ebbs and flows of the cycle
– Remind her that this is shared by every woman and is a sign of health
– Think about the conversations you would have liked to have prior to your first period

Prepare with products

-Talk her through the range of products she has available to her.  Include pads, period underwear, tampons and menstrual cups.
– Buy a few sample packs and take a look at how each of them work (See my IGTV for more info on period underwear and Menstrual cups)
– Let her make the decision of what she wants to use first and give them a trial run
– Have the products all ready to go, in a place where she can find them

Celebrate your daughters first period

-Acknowledging this Rite of Passage is just as important as any other.  But doing it in a way that also honours your own daughters personality is important.
– Talk to your daughter about how this is a special time and you would like to do something that honours her.  Ask her how she would like to celebrate.
– Some suggestions include:
– A pamper day, also a great time to talk about slowing down and taking care of our body
– A bedroom refresh
– A special piece of jewellery
– A circle ceremony with aunties and other special women
– Special time with just the two of you

Help her track

– Honouring her cycle includes helping her navigate through the days, especially in the beginning.  When her period arrives teach her how to track her entire cycle, using either an app (girls tend to like Clue or Flo) or a diary.  This will help her get to know her own body’s rhythms and what is normal for her.  The more she gets to know her own body, the more she can come to trust and love it.

Important things to track include:
– Bleeding days (how heavy or light)
– Spotting days
– Mood changes
– Skin
– Cramping
– Energy changes

Continual Conversation

– Even though many conversations have been had, it’s still so very new.  As a result, it’s a little bit scary.  Periods can be missed, can be heavier one month or can come while at camp.  Honouring her cycle means always being there to ask and answer questions and to check in on her.

– Does she know how often to change products?
– Does she know what to do if she needs to change at school?
– Is she aware of where to find her period products?
– Does she know what to do if she has a leak on her clothes or sheets?
– Is she ready to start considering other products?
– Does she know she is not alone?

You can open the conversation around your daughters first period, as well as keep the conversation going, through a Positive Period Workshop.

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Posted on Categories:Periods, Puberty

HOW TO CREATE A FIRST PERIOD PACK

How to create a first period pack for your child

Being prepared for your daughters first period with a first period pack will help her feel more at ease, as well as ensure we are not caught out when it does arrive.  The average age of a first period in western culture is 12, however some girls start their period as young as eight, so it’s best to be prepared at any age.

 

 

So how do we put together a first period pack?

  1. Start with a pouch to keep all of her essential items when she’s at school, sports, activities or sleep overs.  A waterproof case is a good option.  It can be as simple as a pencil case, it may be conspicuous, but it could also be a little bit special. These waterproof pouches are the perfect size, and with many design options, you can find the perfect one for your daughter.  SEE MORE DESIGNS HERE

2.  Add some pads.  Pads are most likely the first option to be used.  Think sustainable and organic if possible.  Sometimes these options may not be available in stores, but there are many great options available online.  Often these come as a subscription service, so you place the order once and they are delivered to your door monthly or quarterly, no need to get caught out again.  Remember when you get them to show her how to use them.  Open the product, show her how to stick them to her knickers, how often she might need to change, and then how to dispose of them.

Some of my favourite disposable brands are:

Resuable brands:

3.  A spare pair of knickers.  These can be normal underwear, or period underwear which she can either use additionally to pads, or on their own.  Take a look at

4. An essential oil roller.  For those days when cramps are hitting and she needs a bit of ease.  Something containing Clary Sage is perfect to help relax the cramping of the uterus.  Roll oil direclty over the uterus, or onto pulse points.

Mama Flow from Wilde Blends is a beautiful oil that helps support, soothe and provide temporary relief for cramps, hormones, nausea, emotional mood swings and stress which are sometimes associated with period cycles in women.

Remember that painful periods are common, but they are not normal.  If pain cannot be managed through simple techniques, and are stopping you practicing normal daily activities, this could be a sign that there is something not quite right and advice from a GP should be sought.

5. A non-toxic deodorant.  If she is nearing to start her period, chances are that she is also starting to sweat a bit more, and therefore possibly smell.  Look for a deodorant that does not contain aluminium or other toxins that could disrupt her hormones.  Thankfully now there are some wonderful options for all natural deodorants.  Sometimes it may take some trial and error as to what works for you, but its worth it.

Some wonderful natural options include:

6.  Other smaller items could include:

  • Some chocolate or mints
  • Hair ties
  • Wipes
  • Disposable bag if disposal of used product is not available straight away,
  • A small favourite crystal, especially if she is prone to anxiety or worrying.  Take a look at blue lace agate if that is the case.

You can do this together.  Find a bit of time together this weekend to sit down together and create a little pack all ready to go for when her first period does arrive.

You can find ready made period packs to purchase here

I’d love to see what you come up with.  Tag me on instagram @beyondthecusp to show me your Period Prep packs.