“I cannot wait to start my periods mummy!” Declared my nine year old last month on our way home from her first visit to the Red Tent.
Can you imagine feeling like this as a young girl standing on the brink of puberty? Actually being excited and in awe of the future periods that will be yours? It seems preposterous – but is entirely possible.
It is within our reach to completely change the perception of our daughters, nieces and god-daughters bodies and their monthly cycles by simply preparing them. By introducing a positive and exciting spin on the incredible gifts we are given as women: our bodies, our monthly cycle and our divine legacy to create and give life!
My daughter, who is nine, took part in a Girls Celebration Day, hosted and run by Lou Press of the Woolley Valley Red Tent.
The morning began with the five girls, aged 9-11, creating a mandala of seeds and rice, whilst Lou told them gentle stories about coming of age. The girls then calculated how many periods they would have over the course of their lifetimes!
Following this simple calculation:
Estimated age I stop my periods: 55, minus, estimated age I will begin my periods: 13 = 42.
Minus: Estimated number of children I hope to have: 3 (this is what my daughter said!) x1.5yrs (for each child no period for 9 months pregnancy & 9 months breastfeeding) = 4.5yrs.
42 – 4.5 = 32.5 x by 12 and a quarter (average number of periods a year) = 459 periods in my lifetime.
Extraordinary! Don’t you think – did you ever realise how many you would have, are having? And how few that actually seems!
The afternoon was spent with the mothers and daughters, the girls were sewing small felt lockets as the mothers revealed stories about their first periods. We giggled and were in awe of everyone’s different experiences. We shared pictures of us at their age, with our silly hairstyles, dreams and 80’s sweatshirts. As the girls stuffed their lockets each mum wrote a special message on a note for the girls to hide inside the felt lockets and then they sewed ribbons to create a necklace. We each chose a few words to describe each other, from mother to daughter and from daughter to mother, we listened to each other and, finally, we presented our daughters with their hand-sewn locket.
The girls left joyously excited about their unfolding young womanhood.
The mothers left changed women. Having opened our hearts to our daughters and to ourselves and having begun to glimpse the changes ahead, of our daughters as they begin to walk their own paths and become wise, understanding females.
If you are not fortunate enough to have a local Red Tent but you would like to give this gift of confidence, understanding and openness on the journey of beginning menstrual cycles then I heartily recommend Lucy H Pearce’s beautiful, gentle and informative book for girls: Reaching For The Moon.