Little Rhea came running home, her face looked pale, her eyes bore the sign of tears which had been trickling down a while ago. One look at her and Mumma quickly put down the cup of tea and rushed towards her. What had happened? Did she fall down or have a tiff with someone? Was she hurt? Did the teacher rebuke her for something? A crease of worry appeared on Mumma's face. Before Mumma could utter a word, Rhea rushed into her arms and hugged her tightly, Mumma held her tight reassuring her that whatever it was , it would be fine and Mumma was with her. They stood like that for a couple of minutes, mother daughter , Mumma waiting for her to calm down, eager to know what had transpired that made her bubbly daughter so sad , hiding her fears and trying to be patient and let her daughter settle down. Rhea on the other hand had a turmoil running in her mind. Once Rhea's sobs had reduced, Mumma wiped her tears, made her drink some water and asked her to sit, she held her daughter's hand and asked her if she's ready to talk now.
Rhea burst out "Mumma I am dying, there's blood in my undies, I don't know how I hurt myself, strangely I feel no pain but there's blood, I think something bad has happened. Mumma please save me. When I went to the washroom I saw it" Mumma's reaction went from fear of the unknown to a sigh of relief and a smile of the known. Rhea has got her first period, in fact what a coincidence. Mumma intended to talk all about the menses cycle to Rhea over the weekend. In fact she was on the verge of collecting information through friends and over the net and putting her thoughts together to arrive at the best way to put forward things to her daughter. She did not want to overwhelm her but it was important to talk about it. And now that Rhea had actually got her first period, the timing was perfect. Mumma smiled and told her "Darling you are not injured neither are you dying, you have got your periods, this is a natural process. My baby has grown up. Let me explain it to you."
Rhea now felt better. She was curious though. Mumma continued " Periods or menses is the first step in sending you a sign that you are now ready to take the step as a woman. Every month a new egg is released by the ovary and when that does not get fertilised it sheds its walls and that's why you get periods. Just like you planned for a party and had all the eatables ready but your friends din't turn up and the food got wasted. Similarly your body prepares itself every month by releasing a new egg and when that does not get fertilised, it flows as periods".
Rhea heaved a sigh of relief, after all it's nothing life threatening as she had imagined. But she had more questions. Muma continued-Baby I am sure you have more questions, do you want to ask me?
Yes Mumma will it hurt?
Sometimes, you may get cramps and some pain in your legs and lower abdomen or back and may feel uncomfortable, but it's not the same for all. Some of us don't get any pain. If the pain is more we shall go see a doctor.
What do I do now Mumma?
Use a sanitary napkin to absorb the flow, it's very easy to use, I shall show you how.
Where can I get these napkins Mumma?
You can buy them easily in any medical or super stores. They can also be ordered online. I shall keep a stock ready for you.
Will I get any allergy or infections Mumma?
As long as you keep yourself clean, change your pad every 2-3 hours and wash your undergarments keeping them clean, you will be fine.
How long does it last Mumma? And will it come every month now?
It lasts for around 3-7 days again it is different for different girls. It occurs every 28 to 31 days we can track it using an ovulation calendar. That way you will know after a few months when to expect it and be prepared by carrying a pad in your school bag though I would keep a pad in your bag right away and it can stay there at all times.
Mumma but none of my friends have got their periods? Is it too early for me?
Honey I got my first period at the age of 11 , you are 10 it's absolutely normal and healthy , nothing to worry at all. Maybe some of your friends have it too but they are not telling.
Thanks Mumma I am now feeling good, I used to always wonder when I saw those ads on tv for whisper -What's this? In fact I asked grandpa once but he just looked dumbfounded and then he changed the topic, I now understand what those ads were about. Thanks Mumma for letting me know about this.
Anytime Sweetie, for me your health is happiness is what is most important. Any questions, anytime, anything under the sun, come to Mumma for the answers.
Many of the young girls are attaining puberty at ages as young as 9, as mothers it is important to have this conversation with them early. Given their exposure to media and with so many advertisements on sanitary pads doing the rounds, let's not misguide them Most of us did not have a conversation that was insightful enough with our mothers and some of us may not be sure how to go about discussing this with our daughters. Use whatever approach works best with you, the content has to be age appropriate, you could share your own experiences, encourage them to ask questions or even google about it, there are lot of tips on how to talk about menses with your girls. And why just girls, I believe it's important to let your boys know as well, a step required to do away with the taboo associated with periods.
So have you had the period talk with your daughter yet?
Bhagwan you speak English with your daughter? What is happening these days?
People want to show off and are forgetting their roots”. I have heard this many times. Earlier my
reaction used to be - apologetic. I would keep quiet and try to ignore the comment
and find an escape route. But now if someone dares to talk to me about this
matter, I snap them off then and there. I am unapologetic I don't think I have
done anything wrong which I need to feel ashamed about. So yes I do speak in
English at home and this is my first language. No qualms about it. And
it's not because of an inter caste marriage in fact I have been speaking
English as a first language right since childhood. To give you some background
on how this came to be. My mother’s parents belonged to Mangalore ( it's a
coastal town in Karnataka) they migrated to Bombay in search of a livelihood
when they were young. They married, had kids and their kids were brought up by
a maid. As my mom and her brother lived…
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