“Ddddddaaaaaaa—-aaaaadddd”… when I heard that horror call, I knew something was very wrong. I have been her Dad for 12 years, I would recognize not only her voice, but the meaning in her voice anywhere.
Running up the stairs 3 at a time I got to her (…closed..) bedroom door in record time and stopped. Why was the door closed? Was she locked in? “Kelly? What’s wrong? Open the door!” I yelled (panic rising fast!). “Dad, I think I might be dying” …. She opened the door, and I couldn’t have been less prepared for her next sentence …… “Dad, there is blood in my panties, I am bleeding!” It was just her and I at home, so that meant I had to handle this! I wish I was better prepared!….
Did you know that 98% of dads we asked said they were not ready for their daughters first period! While many feel an adult female in the family should “have the chat”, we feel strongly that the responsibility should be shared. Periods should not be considered gross or a sickness, periods need to be de-mystified! Hearing it from your dad does just that!
Here’s what you need to know! (print it, save it, keep it handy!)
1. Get the timing right!
“There is never a right time” one dad said. This may be true, but there is a wrong time! If possible, try to talk to your daughter before she starts her first period. Wait to see if the topic of growing up, or something that you can link it to comes up and start steering the conversation. Try to ask a few questions to give yourself an idea of how much she already knows and start with that! This is a conversation that can span over months, so don’t rush! (Unless you find yourself in the same position as our dad above!). If you show her that you are comfortable with the topic, she might even come to you with questions. Avoid starting the conversation when she is focused on something else, in a pre-teen “mood” or with her friends!
2. Know the basics!
Start at the beginning:
You will need discuss some basic Sex-Ed if you haven’t already. Your daughter will need to know that woman have babies, as this is a critical part of the period chat. Depending on how old your daughter is the amount of detail will differ.
Know your anatomy and use the correct terms.
Uterus- an amazing organ that is roughly the size of a small fist, that can support a growing baby. Uterus Lining- the inside lining of the uterus
Menstruation – fancy word for period
Then put it all together (you can even memorize our sentence if you like!) Starting your period is the start of becoming a woman. Each month the lining of the uterus prepares for a baby, if there is no baby then that lining breaks down again, and that is what your period is.
3. Check your opinion on periods!
If you think that periods are taboo or gross, you will need to alter that! Periods are the sign of a normal, healthy growing body!
Have a little bag or pouch ready with the things she will need (read #8 below!) Make sure there is a dustbin in the bathroom.
5. Talk to your son (or anyone else in the house!)
He also needs to know. Depending on his age, you can discuss as much as needed. The important thing to focus on is that his sister needs privacy. He mustn’t open a closed door without knocking. He mustn’t ask why she is doing washing. He mustn’t mock her when she doesn’t want to swim. A little respect and kindness will make for a happier home!
6. Be the adult in the room!
Now is the time to “Dad-up”. Dealing with this in a calm, mature way will open communication for years to come. A dad is a girl’s hero, you can’t go weak at the knee’s now!
7. Re-assure her!
Getting your first period is a milestone that should be celebrated. Just like first steps, first teeth, first bike ride, first day of school, this is the same!! Don’t post on social media or throw a party tho! Showing her that you are excited about this next phase of her life and that you respect and support her will help remove some of her anxiety and build your relationship.
8. Know your female hygiene products! (and have them ready!)
The most common are disposable products, and although these are readily available, they are not great for the environment, and used on their own can shift and leak.
- A panty Liner: Usually has lower absorbency so used on “light flow” days. Are available with and without wings (to wrap around the panty).
- A pad: available in different sizes, absorbencies, with/without wings etc. Used for “medium-heavy flow” days.
- A tampon: available in different absorbency, and with/without applicators. These are inserted into the vagina to absorb blood. (usually used at a later stage, and not for first periods)
Re-usable products are becoming increasingly popular these include: –
- Washable pads – also available in different absorbencies and function the same as pads.
- Menstrual cups – These are inserted into the vagina to catch the blood flow. (also usually used later, and not for first periods)
- Absorbent panties – These absorb the blood and are washable and re-usable. These can be used instead of pads, tampons, and cups.
- Leak-proof panties – These are our favorite! (which is why we stock them!). These are regular cotton panties that have a waterproof lining to prevent leaks. They are used with pads, tampons, and cups. The big advantages of using our panties are the following:
- The cotton fabric is light and breathable, so she is kept fresh.
- The waterproof layer prevents leaks. No leaks – No worry!!
Knowing, doing and remembering these tips should make things (slightly) less stressful for you! Just remember, you are her Dad, and it’s all a very normal part of growing up! You’ve got this, and you are both going to be OK!
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