I wasn't ready for my 10 year old to get her period

She may be dealing with some grown-up issues, but she’ll always be my baby.
She may be dealing with some grown-up issues, but she’ll always be my baby. Photo: Shutterstock

Ten-and-a-half years ago I held my beautiful newborn baby girl in my arms. She was so small.

She was our firstborn child and everything was so scary and new.

My husband and I went on to have two more girls, yet still every milestone our first child reaches, is a first for us too.

You'd think with three kids everything would get easier, but it doesn't - it's a constant learning curve, a very steep one.

No matter that she is now nearly as tall as me, she is still my baby.

Recently she came home from school and immediately changed her clothes. And it was then I discovered blood in her pants.

My 10-and-a-half-year-old had her first period. How could my child, who still held my hand, be forced to deal with something so grown-up?

I remember when we first had girls thinking of how this day would come and it would be a mixture of happiness and excitement, but all I felt was sad. I felt so worried for her. She shouldn't have to deal with this yet. My baby girl.

The first cycle she didn't want to talk about the realities of having a period.

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I let her take the rest of the week off school and thus began our daily lunch sessions in places of her choice. Milkshakes were a must. We held hands. We laughed a lot. We did not discuss periods.

A visit to the shop would result in her getting a surprise chocolate, because "when you get your period chocolate is essential". Her sisters did not complain, they understood it was a special and terrifying time for their sister. They knew when their time came, they too will get special lunches and surprise chocolates.

Her teacher was informed and plans put in place to ensure our daughter knew she had the support she needed at school. She knew which toilets had sanitary napkin disposal units and she was quietly informed where the emergency pack of pads was situated in the classroom should she need them.

Luckily, we'd already talked to her about periods and she'd been carrying a discreet toiletries bag with pads, clean knickers, flushable wipes and disposable plastic bags, in her school backpack for months.

Yet, still when the came she didn't want to face it. The whole idea was so scary.

But a month later when it happened again, she was resigned to the fact that this was her new normal.

It's pretty tricky to talk to girls at this age. They really do know everything and the simple sound of their mum's voice is agonising for them.

I've learned the trick is to wait for a quiet moment when she's tucked up beside me chatting or when we're out alone to quickly slip in a few tips on how to navigate having a period. And gentle prompts are made when required to help her keep on top of it all.

We've also purchased her some special underwear that you can wear without a pad and they've been an amazing help.

Three cycles down and she's handling it exceptionally well. She may be dealing with some grown-up issues, but she'll always be my baby.

* The author has chosen to remain anonymous to protect her daughter's privacy.