Mamí, me platicas de mi cuerpo que esta cambiando? Mom, would you talk to me about my changing body?
It is normal for a young girl to have tons of questions about their menstrual cycle, or period as it is commonly known. Girls between the ages of eleven and fourteen have experienced this changing event in their lives.
Periods often range from three to seven days. A girl’s period varies especially if it begins in its primary stages. This is called irregular periods. Irregular periods last for one to three years.
Most girls will find that their mothers teach them all about this day before it actually occurs. For some young ladies, this moment never comes. Young girls concerned over what to prepare themselves with prior to the “coming day” are often told a year or two before to take a sweater, just in case. The sweater is often used to wrap around a girl’s waist due to staining the seat of her pants.
Some girls, like Noemi Escalante, 25, never got the opportunity to prepare themselves for the moment when they make the shocking discovery that they have stained themselves. This can lead to embarrassment and a horrifying realization that she’s lost her child-like sense of self for what may seem like forever. Escalante explains, “My mother did not have that talk with me until I came home with my skirt stained.”
“I don’t believe it was about religious reasons, that wouldn’t make sense…but it could explain why she never talked to me about getting a bra. Maybe she was uncomfortable about talking about [a woman’s changing body].”
Escalante says, “I had my period at an early age, 9, which could explain why I didn’t have the confidence to ask about it.”
Noemi’s grandmother also never spoke to her mother about the menstrual cycle or how her changing body was just another natural occurrence during a girl’s lifetime. According to Women’s Health, a menstrual cycle is a natural occurrence in a changing girl’s body. A period prepares the body for pregnancy every month. It also regulates body hormones that keep the body healthy.
Most girls become timid when approaching this topic with an older female. A girl should never be afraid to ask questions.
In reference to her mother’s reaction on the big day Escalante says, “It looked like she felt sorry for me, but then she took me to go buy pads. I was mad that she didn’t tell me about it. I wouldn’t have gone through the embarrassment of people noticing my stained skirt. Boys would’ve laughed at me especially since I was in 6th grade when it happened.”
Escalante says, “It is important for a mother to tell her child about her period so that the daughter is alert. Also, there’s a sense of trust in the relationship.”
She adds, “Me and my mother do not have a [close] relationship. I don’t feel like I could trust her completely. One time I overheard her talking to my friend, telling her that we had the talk, when I knew that we didn’t. I don’t hate her or anything, but I was embarrassed.”
Now, Escalante would give younger girls advice of her own. She says, “A girl should wear black, but it’s normal for women to bleed.”
A senior at Houston Community College, who chose to be anonymous, says, “Initially, I had no idea of what was going on. I was scared.”
She also says that her mother didn’t warn her about her body’s changes, she admits, “ I thought I was bleeding internally.”
This senior says, “My mother told me that I was a woman now, but I felt like I didn’t know what a woman was.”
“Still,” she says, “I do not hold any [resentment] towards my mother. She lived in different times than I did. She told my father of the situation making me feel like we were truly disconnected. I was angry and awkward [about the situation].”
These days though, she says, “I have two sons now, but if I ever have a girl, I would make her feel like her situation is really important. To other girls experiencing the same, you are not alone. It doesn’t change who you are. Find someone willing to answer all your questions.”
Escalante adds, “Having a friend may ease the anxiety about a girl’s changing body. I asked a friend to let me borrow her sweater when I found out I [was] stained. I am grateful she was there.”
For some girls, menstruation comes with painful cramps or bloating in the lower area of your abdomen. This is due to the ovaries opening and releasing the unfertilized eggs out of your body. If you get your period there is a potential to become pregnant.
Want to know a secret, girls? Exercise often helps ease severe cramp pains!
For additional answers to questions on menstruation ask your primary health care practitioner or a trusted adult! She or he could provide you with the best medications or advice to ease pain.