Dealing with Family Problems

Hispanic girk looking sadFamilies are those whom we can rely on for support, for love and those whom we have a special bond with, but we don’t always choose to embrace our feelings towards one another.

According to Psychology Today, it is common to have family problems, especially when living with several teenagers at home with their parents. Some of these issues include alcoholism, abuse, feelings of guilt, depression, financial, and anger towards family members.

The Better Health Channel shares three tips on how to overcome these common problems that can be sometimes be too hard to deal with.

1. Communication
Even though it is a cliché when someone says “Communication is key,”  it is true. “A lot of the times, unwanted problems arise because we don’t talk to each other enough. If we could communicate more with one another, we wouldn’t have to deal with the extra stress of unnecessary problems,” says Bianca, 24. Talking might sometimes be difficult, especially when it is something that is bothering you, but even a small amount of communication goes a long way. Keep in mind that the idea is to resolve the conflict, not win the argument.

2. Listen
Try to stay calm by putting your emotions aside and don’t interrupt the other person while they are speaking. Sometimes we are too stubborn to realize that we are letting our pride get in the way of fixing our problems. Understanding what they are saying by asking questions through an open and honest discussion will be beneficial in the long run.

3. Seek Help
If it is a more serious problem where communication is not possible, seek professional help. “When I was going through some intense family problems, I didn’t know what to do. I decided to go to my school counselor and talk about it, it took a lot for me to go, but I couldn’t deal with it alone. And now I can talk to my family about it and things are slowly getting better,” says Mary, 19.

Whether it’s talking with your family or with a counselor, you are not alone. You don’t have to deal with your family problems by yourself. Millions of people are dealing with the same things you are. Communication is key, listen to your heart, and seek for what you need.

“My family and I don’t have a good communication environment. My parents are old school and they think their way is the right way. And there’s no way of  telling them otherwise. I was so fed up and tired with everything that I decided to take it into my own hands. I made my parents listen to me. I made them see how much stress and pain they were putting me through. And that was the smartest thing I could’ve done,” says 22 year-old Clarissa.

Even when you think it’s inevitable, something can be done about it. You just have to speak up, let your voice be heard. Clarissa adds, “I have never been this happy with my life, taking a stand for myself  was the scariest and the best thing I’ve done in my life.”

Girl Talk: Tips to De-Stress

In order to fight stress, first you have to know what it is. Stress is a a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, may it be at work, school, bullying or even family. Stress can result in insomnia, extreme fatigue, headaches, tense muscles and an upset stomach among others. I bet you’ve felt this way before, maybe you were nervous about a presentation in school or an interview for a job or internship. Now the first thing to do is to find what’s causing you to feel this way and how to deal with it. Follow these steps to de-stess.

  1. Start a journal: Find a little notebook or diary as your stress outlet. Besides writing the highlights of your day, write about the things that are making you feel stressed.

  2. Find a special place: Search for a place where you feel relaxed and comfortable to be yourself. It can be your room, backyard or the coffee shop down the street. Go there anytime you feel like being alone and disconnecting of the world.

  3. Find a hobby: Hobbies can be a great distraction. Just try not to spend so much time at it. Remember responsibilities are always first. Try drawing, painting or playing a musical instrument.

  4. Make a calendar: If you’re stressed because of the amount of assignments or activities during your week, then write them in order of priority,. Write deadlines and dates to start working on them if they will take more than a day to do. Mark them as you finish each one of them. This way you’ll see what you’ve accomplished and feel more motivated to do the rest.

  5. Exercise regularly: Not only is it a way to stay healthy physically, but exercise is also great to help your brain. Physical activity enhances memory and learning. Exercising helps your body release endorphins, which are pain killers and will make you feel really happy. Try a sport to make everything more interesting and maybe find a workout buddy. Yoga is the ultimate stress reliever.

  6. Get enough sleep: Do you remember all those cranky mornings? Well that’s because sleep is very important for your emotional well-being. If you don’t sleep enough, you’re not able to function properly. Don’t even think about handling stress when you’re sleepy; it won’t work. If you didn’t sleep those beautiful 8 hours, try a power nap during the day. You don’t know how valuable it is until you try it. Just don’t oversleep.

  7. Pamper yourself: You don’t have to go to the spa or spend a large amount of money. Simple ways to pamper yourself can be done at home. You can take a bath, moisturizing and putting cucumbers over your eyes while you listen your favorite song.

  8. Focus on the positive stuff: Of course stress can be caused by more than one thing, but try to think of all of the good things in your life. It may not change the situation, but thinking of the good things can help you feel better. Some gratitude and positivity can be a big help in de-stressing. Think about the good things in life, you’ll know where to find the support you need.

Now that you know the tips to handle stress, try each one of them and feel the difference.
Good Luck!

Latin@ and Mental Health

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, which affects our daily life in a variety of different ways. A healthy mental state affects how people interact with other individuals, form relationships, handle stressful situations, and be able to perform daily tasks without much difficulty. However, when there is a disruption or compromise of an individual’s state of being, problems begin to arise.sadgirl

Over the past couple of years there has been an increase of public awareness of what mental health is, the stigmas present, and the symptoms of a mental health illness. The National Alliance of Mental Illness found that  approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States (43.7 million) experiences a mental illness in a given year.

Programs have slowly popped up in multiple ways: from city-run campaigns to student-created clubs in school to increase awareness. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, about about 50.6% of children aged  8-15 received mental health services in a past year. The hope of this is to allow individuals that might be struggling in their daily life to reach out for help without being stigmatized by their peers.

Mental Illness and the Latino Community

Having a mental health illness is a serious issue and needs treatment so the individual can continue to perform at their normal capacity. In the Latino Community, symptoms of a mental health illness are usually dismissed or are written off as an attempt for attention, and mental health illnesses are heavily stigmatized. This combination usually prevents the individual from receiving help.

Celeste Nevarez, who earned her Masters of Counseling Psychology from Arizona State, is a licensed psychiatrist who works at the Family Service of El Paso. A native of El Paso, she decided to return to her city after graduation to help her community; she now works at a non-profit organization that offers counseling regardless of ability to pay and is a professor at El Paso Community College. Passionate about her work, she is determined to improve the mental health scene of the city.

Nevarez states that having a mental health illness can be due to a combination of genetics, psychology, and the social environment of the individual. Lacking a family history of mental health illness does not mean that the person is immune, mental health knows “no gender, race, culture, [or] religion.” Mental health illnesses do not discriminate, everyone is vulnerable. According to Nevarez, the best thing for someone that is suffering from a mental illness is to seek professional help if possible- especially if his/her case becomes dangerous; however, sometimes having support from a peer might help.

However, this might sometimes be hard to come by. Nevarez believes that the Latino Community is proud and tough, and asking for help to treat a mental health illness signals that the person is weak and that something is wrong with them. She thinks that the stigma might come from a combination of culture, religion, stereotypes of “crazy” people, and shame placed on the individual and on the family. Nevarez often hears similar lines to “‘it is just a faze,’ ‘nothing is wrong with you,’ and ‘I need help.’ ‘But you’re not crazy,’” when someone attempts to reach out for help.

Treatment of a Mental Illness

By prolonging treatment the individual might feel isolated if no support is given and that is one of the worst things to happen. Nevarez argues that the lack of treatment could possibly make the mental health illness might take a turn for the worst. Although there has been improvement of slowly breaking down the stigma and more people reaching out for help, Nevarez believes that there is still a long way to go.

With the continuation of breaking down stigmas and making mental health services easier to access, those in the Latino community will be able to reach the help that they need. Those that are asking for help should not be ignored or laughed at, but understood and supported through their struggles.

Finding Your Shade

Makeup is found both in the drugstore and high end stores, but finding the right shade and product can be tricky, especially for Latinas.

The following is a guide for chicas who are looking to play with makeup, and to those experienced ones who are looking for extra tips. So, andando!

1. Foundation and powder
Undertone and skin type
It is important to know this, as your foundation needs to work with your skin efficiently.

There are many steps to find your undertone. One of them is to look at your veins. Do they look green? You are warm toned. Are they blue? You must be cool toned. Can’t figure it out or you see a mixture of both? You might be neutral.

Another method is to try on gold and silver jewelry, pero don’t worry, they don’t have to be real!

  • Do you look better in gold ? You are warm. Silver? You are cool toned.
  • Or is it both? Then you’re neutral.

2. Now, onto your skin type. Look in the mirror.

  • Do you have oil and shine everywhere ? You have oily skin, chica. No oi
  • Okay, next question.Does your skin feel tight or have dry patches? Dry skin is what you have.
  • No to oil or dryness? Normal skin.
  • Don’t worry if you have a combination of skin types because, guess what? Yes, you have combo skin.

3. Next,use your skin tone (warm, neutral, cool) to look for some foundation to try on.
If you’re on a budget, the drugstore might be helpful. Unfortunately, some brands do not have enough shades for darker skinned Latinas. Thankfully, brands like L’Oreal have shades for all skin tones. Keep in mind that you can’t open the product in store, but you can return it to most drug stores as they accept returns if you are unsatisfied. Foundations can be tested in some high end stores, such as the famous Sephora. The great thing is that you can get personal help from a Sephora makeup artist.

Okay, if you would like to find a foundation shade for yourself, then swatch some shades on to your jawline to choose one that closely matches your face and neck.

For powder follow the same steps for foundation.

4. Blush, bronzer and highlighter
Blush: perks up your skin
Bronzer: creates more dimension and definition. Can be used to contour.
Highlighter: makes the face look like it’s glowing and radiant.
With all of these products, there aren’t strict rules of how to use them. In fact, you can use a light pink blush on deeper skin tones. Try what you like. You do you!
To apply, you can use makeup sponges or brushes. Ecotools and Real Techniques are some good affordable makeup brushes.
For beginners, definitely start a small amount and then build it up to your liking.

5.  Eye shadow
With eye makeup, the sky’s the limit as some girls prefer light colors and others bolder looks. You can use brushes or even your fingers to apply.
Usually the lightest color goes on the brow bone.
The mid tone color goes on the lids.
And the darkest color goes usually on the crease.

6. Eyeliner
There are many forms of eyeliner: gel, pencil, and liquid. A separate brush is used for gel eyeliner where a slanted one will be easier to apply. For pencil make sure to sharpen it for smoother application

7. Just have fun! 

Advice By Latinitas

As part of our Women’s History Month Blog-a-thon, we asked Latinitas to write their top words of wisdom. LatinitasHandsStarWhat advice would you like to share with younger girls?

“The best advice I can give young girls is to be your absolute self. Being who you are will help you find your true friends, give you opportunities, and the confidence you need to face anything and everything. AND you’ll be truly happy! Focus on yourself and your future. Prioritize because it will really benefit you in the long run. Above all just enjoy your life, don’t rush to grow up take it a step at a time and go with the flow!” – Ariana Ortega

“The advice I can give to younger girls is to always be yourself, because God made each and every one of us unique. Don’t pretend to be  someone else or try to be someone else. We have a lot to offer, and help others. We must always be kind and appreciate the people who love us and are there for us. I thank God simply for one more day to live and his great love for us. Be the best you can be, enjoy your youth years as much as possible. Don’t stress with school, take your time and be organized. We have to always believe in ourselves no matter the circumstances. God will always help us find a way through no matter what. Live life and enjoy it and cherish those who are always there when you need them, family and friends. I am so thankful to God for giving me the family that I have and my friends. I know we can all make a difference to help other teenagers like us to be confident and believe in themselves. I am also thankful to God because I have one more year of life today and because he is always there with us protecting us. Enjoy each day and be thankful to God in everything, and be glad because being a female is the best thing. We all have a lot of talents and a purpose in this life.” – Vanessa Ramirez

“You are always so hard on yourself! Stop comparing your outfits, body, and personality to other people. You need to learn to love yourself. Don’t try to make others take on the role of loving you before you learn to love you. Be confident! Aim to be the best version of you. If someone else finds your quirks annoying, they can sod off because you are unique and delightful. Secondly, be wary of sketchy friends. It’s great to be a friendly girl, but if said friends have proven to be untrustworthy, please get away from them. This is for your own good! Find kinder friends! They’re not that hard to find! They are there! They want your friendship! Thirdly, please put a greater effort in to your school work. Yeah, math might be hard but, it’s even harder to bring up your GPA and/or learn how to discipline yourself academically if you don’t put the time in. You can do it! Please don’t get lazy! I know it’s easier to watch TV and avoid your obligations, but you’re screwing future-you in the long term.” – Vianey Reyes

“Please, think about your future!! I want to tell you that it won’t be easy. Getting low grades at school is not going to help you. Having too much fun is not going to help you at school.Start getting involved in things that are going to benefit your formation at school. Find new friends that can be helpful for you. Pay attention and respect your teachers because you never know if you will need them. Take care of yourself, respect every one and most important respect your body. Remember that you are becoming a strong women with different types of interests and that you are amazing.” – Ariadne Venegas

“Remember that it’s okay to feel things. It’s the one thing I wish I knew when I was growing up. Even to this day, I forget that feeling emotions is okay. So try not to ever forget that. If you’re sad because of a loss in the family or sad because a member of your favorite boy band quit, it’s okay. You have every right to feel any and all emotions that you feel. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you otherwise. It’s best to ignore when anyone says girls are too “sensitive.” Be proud of your sensitive side. Being able to understand someone else’s feelings and accept that they feel that way is a great thing and something more people in the world need to start doing.  Anger, happiness, fear, nervousness, and anything else. They’re all okay. Just make sure that you feel them 100% because holding them back isn’t going to help you out in the long run. If you want to cry, cry. If you want to laugh, laugh. You feel a certain way for a reason, so let it out. Learning feeling emotions is okay and it’s something that I’ve found so hard to accept after so many years of thinking a different way. It’s the only thing I wish I could tell my younger self.” – Gissel Gonzalez

“I would tell younger girls to study and take advantages of every opportunity they have in life. Do not waste time doing things that will not make you feel proud of yourself all the time. Also, do not let other people tell you, you cannot do something you want. Be brave all the time and fight for your dreams. Always follow your heart and do whatever makes you happy. Love your family, friends and life all the time. No matter how you feel, you are worth a lot more than you think. Remember to enjoy every second of life and spread love.” -Eunice Sanchez

Girl Talk: Friendship and Boyfriend Woes

JD-art-teenlove-20121229175333558035-300x0Have you ever had a friend in a bad relationship? Have you ever felt pressured into choosing between your best friend or your boyfriend? Or have you ever had to make a decision between your parents? Relationships are like a baby, you have to care, spend time with them, and love them; but you don’t want to lose a friendship over a boy, do you?Choosing between two people can also be a hard task because they’re people and they both somehow make you happy; the one that makes the decision is you, no one can pressure you into choosing something or someone you don’t want too. Listen to your heart!

 I have a friend that is going out with this boy. After a couple of weeks I start liking him, but I can’t say because she would get mad of me. I really like him, but she is my BFF. I don’t want to make a problem. What should I do? 

Well, hanging out with your ‘BFF’ and her boyfriend can cause you to get certain feelings towards him probably because she tells you a lot of great things about him, and probably more if her boyfriend is good looking.  Try to not hang out with them as much, or try talking to a different boy to get your mind off of your BFF’s boyfriend. A friendship and a relationship are two different things, and they shouldn’t be mixed. A boy should never come between a friendship or vice versa; don’t let just one boy ruin your friendship with your BFF.

A friend met a guy on Facebook and fell in love, but yet they still say I love you. They haven’t met in person, and then yesterday they broke up and they were yelling. Now my friend keeps crying and doesn’t want to meet new guys. What should I do?

Have a girls night with her, take funny movies, buy ice cream and chocolates, and/or get her out of the social networks for the night. After she’s gotten her mind off of Facebook and what happened between them, ask her to get ready to go out– just you and her. And take her out somewhere where she won’t think about the guy on Facebook. Have a good time together and help convince her that everything happens for a reason and maybe they weren’t meant to be.  Try explaining to her that online dating is not the safest way to date because it can be dangerous since she doesn’t know that person physically.

 My parents are separating, but I don’t know where to go. Should I go with my dad or mom? My friends don’t want me to move and I don’t want to leave them. Please help me. 

You should go with whomever you feel more comfortable with. It’s always hard to choose between your parents, but think about the long run, who do you get more along with? Who do you talk to the most? It’s all up to you and your feelings towards them. No one can tell you who to choose because no one knows your parents how you do. Remember, wherever you go you will meet new people, make new friends, and still be friends with your old friends. Think about what YOU really want; don’t think of anyone else right now, it’s your decision.

 

Early College Program: Worth It?

Photo Credit: EPCC.edu

Photo Credit: EPCC.edu

Written by Joella Methola

 My experience with the early college life is remarkable. I attend the El Paso Community College (EPCC) as an early college student. As an early college student, this means that I go to both high school and college. It is a unique campus environment where I earn college credits, a high school diploma and an associate’s degree upon graduation. It is a great educational program, plus it is free.

Enrolling in an Early College Program
Applying for an early college program takes a lot of work and effort. Applicants need to have one available in their city, complete an application (submit by the priority deadline), write an essay (why you want to go an early college), meet the compliance with state attendance policy, have an GPA of 90 in core subjects during the student’s 8th grade year, submit 7th grade STARR scores, and, finally, submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher.

Benefits of Being an Early College Student
The transition from middle school to an early college is not that easy and it took me a while to get used to it. After all, going to an early college after middle school is a great jump but a grand opportunity. Being enrolled in an early college program has helped me grow academically and personally. For example, I have learned how to manage my time, how to use and improve my strengths, open my mind to new ideas, and how to be aware of my surroundings.

It is rewarding process because you learn to be a more mature, responsible and successful college student. I personally believe the hard work is worth it because you have the opportunity to learn in a college setting with other EPCC students. This type of environment helps you decide which route to take when you  continue your education to earn your bachelor’s degree.

Myth VS Reality: Is It Worth It?

The early college is not all work though. There are a lot of rumors saying that when you attend an early college you miss out on a high school experience; however, you do not. There are clubs and activities you can participate in. For example: Mock Trial, Science Bowl, High Q, Piano, Moot Court, Fashion Club, Community Service, Business Professionals of America, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Spanish Club, and more! Plus, we have scrimmages against each other on sports like basketball, volleyball and soccer. One other cool thing is that all students (freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) can go to prom and homecoming! We also have a lot of school spirit.

Being in an early college has been the best choice I have made so far. I believe that others should follow the same path. It is very fun but also challenging, which is a good thing. It challenges you to be a better student.

Retaining Your Cultural Heritage Through College

international_studentsSometimes with the start of a new chapter in one’s life, it’s difficult to hold one’s heritage close. And for some, the fear of losing one’s cultural roots may prevent someone from attending college far away or stepping off to a new adventure. This is why it’s so important to see the value of being a Latina or Latina-American in a different setting from how you grew up.

One of the greatest things about living in the United States is that you’re surrounded by so many cultures and cultural perspectives. And many grow up in a household that celebrates more than one culture and speaks more than one language. Today, there are roughly 53 million Hispanics in the United States, making it the largest ethnic minority in our nation. And for states such as California, Hispanics are the majority.

California native and Yale graduate, Stephanie Cuevas said, “My high school was approximately 90% Latino. Transitioning to college at Yale, where Latinos only made up 10% of the student population, was a bit of a culture shock.”

Many can relate to this situation, and one of the best things to avoid feeling out of place is joining an organization that celebrates Latino culture and taking Latino studies courses. This will not only help with avoiding feeling out of place, but one can find many in the same boat to relate with.

“As a light skinned Mexican-American, my peers often questioned my relationship to my cultural identity and would sometimes label me as “white.” Rather than assimilating, I took courses in Latino studies and maintained involvement in our cultural house, La Casa Cultural. Through these steps, I grew closer to my family’s roots, and further explored what it means to be a Latino in America. We are a rich and diverse group with similar, but different, cultural perspectives,” said Cuevas.

“Don’t let fear stop you from putting yourself out there to meet new people in clubs or organizations. Joining a club organization with a cultural focus will be your home away from home. Most universities have international clubs for culture, comida, or even Hispanic interests! Yes, even in dominantly non-Latino schools! If your school doesn’t have one, you might consider starting your own to unite other Latinos,” said Jasmine Villa, Latinitas Communications and Fundraising Assistant.

Other than joining clubs or organizations, keep speaking and practicing Spanish – whether it’s calling a family member or just reading a book in Spanish. It’s a quality so imperative to have for today’s growing demographic. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, the number of Spanish speakers in the U.S. has grown rapidly over the past few decades. Today, there are 37.6 million Spanish speakers, making it the most spoken language after English. It’s a quality many don’t see the importance of at a young age, but see the role it plays when getting into professional careers. And it’s also a quality many are envious for not having – so feel empowered!

“Practice your Spanish as often as you can. Speak Spanish, write in Spanish, and read in Spanish,” said Alexandra Landeros, Freelance Writer and Publicist.

And lastly, don’t ever feel out of place. Being with people who make you proud of who you are and ones you can count on lead to a satisfying and fulfilling college experience.

In Search of Female Doctors

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To be a doctor, one must be passionate, dedicated, intelligent, hardworking, and compassionate.

Women are ideal for these positions! Why is it, then, that less than half of all physicians and surgeons are female? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “in 2012, 34.3% of all physicians and surgeons were women.” Even though it is better than older statistics, there is still an unequal amount of female doctors compared to male doctors. Why is that?

Robert Fiorentine from Pennsylvania State University mentions in his work, Men, Women and the Premed Persistence Gap: A Normative Alternatives Approach, that when starting college, the premed programs have an almost equal amount of men and women enrolled.

The University of Illinois in Springfield says, “The ratio between men and women varies between schools, and from year to year, but is usually close to 50/50.” In their research for “Medical Schools in the United States, 2010-2011,” Barbara Barzansky and Sylvia I. Etzel discovered that 48.3% of medical school graduates are women. All the research shows that up until the actual work field, women and men are pretty balanced.

Why are there fewer women practicing medicine than there are men?

Because fathers are not seen as the more nurturing of the two, they are able to continue working and getting their dream job is a frequent explanation of the gap in the field of medicine. They hardly ever have to make a choice between being a father and being a doctor, businessman, lawyer, etc. Women do not have the same good fortune. Since they are the ones carrying the child, they have to take time off of work during their pregnancy and sometimes after, too. If they choose to continue working after having children, they are harshly criticized, but if they choose to not work, they are still criticized.

Career VS Family

Women currently enrolled in a university were asked why they think women put a pause to their career goals or never go through with them. One answer was repeated more than any others: women do not want to be doctors because they do not want to take time away from starting and taking care of a family. Melissa Moya, 21, says, “Women are stereotyped to be caregivers instead of in the workforce.” This stereotype can cause changes in the way women planned their future. Although this idea that doctors cannot have both a family and a career is a popular one, it is not one that is always instilled in all women who dream of being medics.

For example, Emily Orquiz, 14, still holds to her dreams of finding a profession in the medical field, regardless of the stereotypes. “I [want to] help people,” she says. She plans on attending college and then medical school to do just that.

In her article, “Faces of Change, Voices of Inspiration: Celebrating Latina Women in Medicine,” Sethina Edwards highlights Latinas who have proved that women can be doctors and lived a balanced familial life. Sethina Edwards talks about Dr. Sandy Tsao. Dr. Tsao, a Navajo Indian, Hispanic, and Basque woman, did not let anything stand in her way and she attended Harvard Medical School. Since graduating from Harvard, Dr. Tao has had many successes which include, but are not limited to, “a high-profile career and book coming out.” Adding to the list of achievements is her loving family. At the time the article was written, she was expecting a second child.

The second person featured in “Faces of Change, Voices of Inspiration” is Perla del Pino-White, the first one of her Cuban family who was born in the United States. In spite of facing harsh circumstances such as her father tragically dying when Perla was only fourteen, she persevered and followed her dream of becoming a doctor. Although Perla continued to face unfortunate and tragic events, she kept fighting to make her dream come true. She got accepted into medical school. When this article was published, Perla was on her fourth year of medical school, balancing not only the stress of med school, but the birth of her first son. She, too, proved that it was possible to seek a career as a doctor and have a family.

Although statistics show that, for multiple reasons, women are not following through with their dreams of becoming doctors, there are still women out there who are fighting to change those numbers. Today the stigma that women cannot do what men can do is slowly but surely dissolving, allowing women of all backgrounds to, like Emily Orquiz said, “help people” through the profession of medic.

Talking About Aunt Flow

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.

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