Do you remember what the experience of your first period was like? Was it exciting, memorable or terrible? What was your initial reaction? Did you talk to your mom and your friends about it?
I’ll tell you about mine. I was 12 and I had a feeling it was coming. So I wore a pad to school. Phew! I didn’t tell a soul because I was totally embarrassed. Plus there was one girl who had given me a hard time when she saw a pad in my school bag one day so I wasn’t about to subject myself to anymore humiliation. When my mom picked me up from school that afternoon I told her what happened and she was sooo excited! My sister was not impressed LOL. She was only ten so I doubt she was even remotely interested. There was lots of conversation about it at dinner AND I got dessert. Score! I decided I wanted my period every day!
There are many cultures in the world who view menarche (the first period) as an initiation into womanhood where a girl gets to be honored by a coming-of-age ceremony. In some of these cultures, large celebrations and ceremonies are held with huge feasts. Girls get lots of special treatment – massages, new outfits, special hairstyles, and time with all the women in their family.
After learning about these rituals, I thought about how different they were to the customs in our society. I mean, my dessert had nothing on what some of those girls in other cultures get! How cool would it be to celebrate the beginning of something so natural instead of feeling like we have to hide it or be embarrassed by it! I’m sure no one is making fun of the girls who live in societies where a first period is considered an honor.
Do you know that your very first period experience can determine your perspective on your future periods? It can even have an effect on how you view your female body and whether you experience health problems with your reproductive organs. That’s why a positive experience can be so crucial to a girl’s image of her body and her period.
Dr. Christiane Northrup (the queen mother of women’s health) says this:
“A culture that is unsupportive of women and the feminine sets the stage early on for health problems because the context of a woman’s life greatly contributes to the state of her health.”
What this means is that if a girl lives in a culture that collectively views women and women’s bodies in a negative way (um, hello most of the world!), she is more likely to develop conditions like vaginitis, chronic pelvic pain, ovarian cysts, endometriosis and cervical dysplasia. These conditions stem from an inherent belief that as women we are not good enough as we are – we need to be fixed and improved somehow. Does this sound familiar? Of course! Do you know a woman who is completely happy with herself and her body? No, me neither. There is so much self-hate happening nowadays and its happening in girls who are very young.
My point is that period love and self-love go hand in hand and we need to improve this sad state of affairs. I waited way too long to start loving myself and if I can help a girl see herself in a more positive light then I’m moving in the right direction!
So with that said, I want to invite you to join me for a Tweet Chat hosted by Be Prepared Period on Friday February 8th at 2pm Eastern. The topic is Learning to Love Yourself & Your Period, naturally :). I am a guest along with my good friend Alison Leipzig a Body Confidence Coach. I’ll give you the low-down on how to love and honor your body’s unique cyclical nature as well as tips and practices to implement now. Alison will show you how to become BFF’s with your body and give you the tools to ignite your own body confidence!
Never participated in a tweet chat before? Until last month I had never done one either! Have no fear though, they are super easy and you’ll get the hang of it in a second! The best part is that Alison and I are both giving away a private coaching session so make sure you sign up and participate so you have a chance to win!