Say it again

Last fall I had a conversation about menstruation with my then two-year-old daughter. I didn’t want to; I was forced. Some were amused by its content. Some inspired.

Just the other night, the topic of periods came up again. Because I was having mine, and once again my daughter saw the string between my legs.

What is a Period, MommyThe conversation started off exactly like the first time, but ended up going in a different, more detailed direction…

“Somefeen in your butt, Mommy.”

“We had this conversation before, honey. Do you remember? There is nothing in my butt. It’s in my vagina, and it’s called a tampon.”

A look of recognition came across her face, and she nodded as if to say she remembered. And then she was quiet for a moment. I thought I was getting off easy this time. But…

“Why you need it?”

OK, that’s a big question. Do I really want to explain to my three year old about bleeding from the vagina once a month? I think not. At her age, she’s really not capable of handling that information.

It’s best to keep things high level and age appropriate at this point.

“I need it because I am a woman, and I have something called a period once a month.”

“I not have a period.”

“No, you don’t yet. You will when you are a big girl.”

“Will it hurt?”

I really hesitated on this one. I don’t want to lie to my child. Periods can hurt. I had terribly painful periods most of my life. They were debilitating until I had a uterine ablation after she was born.

But I don’t want to scare her, either. Turn a period into something she learns to dread. So I compromised by responding with, “Sometimes it can hurt.”

I was trying to think about how I would continue, but her attention span was spent. She was ready to move on. I was not disappointed.

But every time the subject of periods has come up, I’ve felt unprepared. I really do need to think about how often I want to talk about this with my daughter and what I want to say.

It’s good to take advantage of opportunities when they come up. And keep the conversation moving forward. But planning ahead is never a bad idea, either.

We currently have a book about the human body my daughter loves to have us read to her. It includes a section on how babies are made. She enjoys seeing a baby growing in the Mommy’s belly.

It does discuss egg and sperm. Perhaps next time this subject comes up I can introduce the concept into the discussion and begin to tie everything together…


By Elizabeth Flora Ross

Elizabeth blogs about her struggles and successes as a writer and a mom at The Writer Revived. She is the author of Cease Fire: A Call to End the War Between Women, which she is currently working to get published. In March 2011 she launched The Mom Pledge, an online campaign to eradicate cyber bullying among moms. You can connect with her on TwitterFacebook and Google+


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