Help! My Daughter Just Became a Woman
One week ago today, I was busily racing around my house getting ready for one of the biggest days in my daughter's life - her Bat Mitzvah. Little did I know that on the day she was to officially become a woman, she would truly become one in the uncomfortable sense of the word. Yes, you guessed it. She got her period.
How did I find out? Simple. The moment she woke up and hit the bathroom, she screamed out my name. The next thing I know, she shows me the evidence. And as I try to explain she's going to have to wear a pad so that she doesn't ruin her clothes, in her fiercely independent way she insists she will make due with a liner and take her chances.
As my daughter lamented over the painful truth that she now had to worry about having stomach cramps and potentially ruining her dress on her big day, I tried to lighten the mood by sharing all the embarrassing moments when my period arrived at inopportune times. Like my wedding day. I can remember as if it were yesterday having three people hold up my dress while trying to change a tampon. Elegance personified.
But the most cringe-worthy period moment took place the very first time I tried to use a tampon. You see, my mom never really had "the talk" with me when I menstruated for the first time. I vaguely recall her hugging me and then handing over a very bulky sanitary napkin. No other conversation transpired about what would happen to me and we just went on with our lives. When I turned 15, I visited Florida with a girlfriend and stayed at my grandmother's house. While there, I got my period and my aunt handed me a tampon. Embarrassed to ask her how to use it, I didn't read the instructions and just stuck the thing up there with the cardboard intact. Yes, you heard it here first - I did not pull the cardboard out.
I proceeded to spend the next three hours in excruciating pain - not realizing I had inserted it wrong. When I finally confided to my aunt what I had done, she laughed at me and showed me what to do. And from that day forward, I became a lifelong tampon fan.
Of course, since my daughter is just starting out on her journey to womanhood, what I do promise to her and to myself is that when it comes to your body - it's no holds barred. I will show her how to use a tampon no matter how embarrassing or awkward it seems. I will take her to her first visit to the gynocologist - or the "vagina doctor" as she likes to call it. I will talk to her about sex, and pregnancy and diseases and other dangers she could face now that she's a woman.
Don't get me wrong - I adore my mom but there were just some topics we didn't talk about and I had to learn a lot of things on my own. But now that I've been there, done that, it's time for my daughter to learn the ropes with a guide who finally has it all figured out...sort of.