My mum is a good mum.
No, I rephrase that. My mum is a great mum. Growing up I never lacked for anything, and we always had a really good relationship.
There is only one thing I would have changed if I could.
You know, the one about the birds and the bees and how once a month it’s going to look
like your insides are falling out of your body?
Yeah that one.
The majority of my information came from Margaret.
Or more correctly Judy Blume in her book ‘Are you there God? It’s me Margaret.’ I read that book so many times as a tween, and to be honest I can not remember anything apart from lots of talk of periods and ‘getting it.’
(Also learning (and practicing) the chant ‘we must! We must! We must increase our bust!
It didn’t work. )
I don’t remember if God ever answered Margaret, but that book was an answer to prayer for me. Without it I would have been rather clueless.
So I don’t want to repeat that same mistake with my girls. Above all I want to encourage the kind of relationship where we can talk about anything and it’s a safe place to speak.
So when it came to ‘the talk,’ I wanted to do it earlier rather than later. I want the girls to hear it from me first, and understand it as it is, not consider it a whispered taboo topic to share only with their friends.
When I refer to the talk, I’m not talking about sex; I’m speaking specfinically about the changes that occur with the onset of puberty. The sex stuff will come later.
Taylah is in year 4 this year, and I thought it was highly likely that some girls in her class may be starting to develop. Also, at almost 9, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that she may also begin changes sometime soon.
So I wanted to be on top of the game. I wanted to get in first.
Back in January, I took her out for a milkshake. We sat down and I explained to her that I had somethings to tell her that were important, but was our information only; it was not for her to share with her siblings or friends.
Then we began to go through this book.
This book is a follow on from an actual story of the birds and the bees, which explains very succinctly about how baby flowers are made. We have read this since our kids were little, and it’s been a great way for then to understand the miracle of reproduction, without getting caught up in willies and vaginas.
The book is designed to be read by a mother and daughter, and you can pick and choose what information you want to share and when. To begin with, we covered a few basic things.
- Girls are beautiful and wonderfully made.
- Many changes need to occur in our bodies to prepare them for one day having babies.
- These changes occur at different times for everyone, but can start from 8 or 9.
- The changes happen over a period of time taking years to finally finish.
Then we got into the basics: pimples, body odour, breast development and hair. We talked about the pituitary gland being like an alarm clock that released hormones, and those hormones signaled the changes. Taylah was already experiencing a few pimples, so it was a good time to emphasize good hygiene, and buy some face wash for her.
After that initial talk she was a little nervous. She wasn’t really expecting it, and being so innocent, had not heard anything like that.
Initially I had planned to do the same thing a week later and talk more, but I didn’t feel she was ready, and so we left it for a time.
Just lately, I’ve noticed that she has been very emotional. Crying at the drop of a hat, really snappy, you name it. I decided it was time to revisit the whole subject, and so last Wednesday I kept her home from school end we did just that.
I spoke to her about hormones sometimes making you feel angry or sad for no reason, and that that’s normal, but you need to try not to act rashly on them.
Then we began talking about menstruation . Because she was aware of the seeds in the flower, the idea of ovaries with eggs in them, wasn’t scary. Our book has a diagram so we were able to look while we talked. We spoke about the eggs being released from the Fallopian tube, and needing somewhere to nest. The womb is the best place, and it makes itself safe for the egg, like a mummy bed prepares her nest for her eggs. If the daddy’s part of the seed (and that’s all we said about that) doesn’t reach the egg, it doesn’t attach, and so the body gets rid of the nest and gets ready to make a new one for next time.
Taylah at this point, was slightly concerned about getting pregnant, so being a biology nut, I told her about chromosome pairs and that the egg only has 23 but needs 46 to be a baby. I’m not sure she fully understood, but it was enough to reassure her she wasn’t going to become a mother anytime soon.
After that we finished off by saying this would be a long way off probably, and that I would help her learn to use pads when the time came, to help her stay clean.
She was very relaxed and calm about the whole thing, and more concerned about breast development, and that her friends were already wearing bras. So we went to the shops and bought some training crops for her comfort and modesty.
There were of course, a few questions that came up, and I answered them with honesty, but also keeping her innocence in mind, and trying to work out what she was actually asking. So when she asked if you have babies after having sex, rather than launching into that I just said ‘well you can,’ and then asked her if she knew what sex was.
Apparently it’s just lots of kissing.
There’s more I could write here, but it’s already very long. I’d encourage you to look at purchasing the two books I mentioned. They do include a small amount of Christian content, but it can be easily omitted, if that’s not your cup of tea.
You can buy them here.
How did it go?
Did your mum ever speak to you it was it just Judy Blume?