Why I decided to have the 'period talk' with my sons

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 Photo: Getty Images

When I was about nineteen I remember an older friend telling me about young her son picking up a tampon that fell from her handbag.

She'd given him a basic run down of what it was one time when he found them in her bathroom, but clearly his understanding wasn't quite 100 percent accurate as he ran up up to her mid shop and screamed "MUM YOUR BUTT PLUG FELL OUT OF YOUR HANDBAG."

She was mortified and quickly explained to random shoppers near by it was, in fact, a tampon and NOT a butt plug.

Fast forward a decade and I have two of my own sons and I often find myself hysterically laughing thinking of my friend's poor encounter all those years ago.

As mortifying as it was, I commend her on trying to teach him about tampons.

As my kids get older and are edging ever so close to the tween years we've had more and more talks about all things puberty. And often I find I divert to talking about what will happen to them, as boys.

It wasn't until my own sons questioned my "bathroom things in the bottom drawer" that I realised it was time to have a period talk with my sons.

It's not like I'd actively avoided having a period talk. It just didn't come up in puberty related talks because they are boys. They won't get a period so you generally don't think to mention it, at least not in detail. Over the years I've definitely mentioned girls getting 'periods' but had never specifically gone into what that meant and when, or how often, it occurred.

But the more I thought about it the more I realised how important it was. My son is in year 4 now. I know some girls in his class are getting their periods by this age.

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I really wanted my son to know what a period was and be aware that it's a normal bodily function and it's not something to be laughed at or teased out.

And god knows we've all had a leakage, especially in those early days. I really wanted him to be the type of boy that would offer a girl his jumper rather than laugh at her misfortune.

So in between the talks about deeper voices and body hair I got to have a super fun talk about women bleeding from their vaginas every month.

It makes sense too; having a mum tell her sons about periods.

I can just imagine the conversation my husband would have, "once a month women get really sh**ty, they cry a bit, ask you buy them chocolate and they sometimes have to soak their undies a bit longer in the laundry."

I'm being a little facetious obviously, my husband is quite supportive, but it definitely made more sense for me to explain the boys what happens because I experience it.

Every. Single. Month. I was definitely the most qualified to have this conversation.  

It also was helpful, as I'm the only girl in the house. They won't be learning it from a sister because I only have two sons. I figure if they are going to learn about how a woman's body works I'd prefer they hear it from me than their friends in the school yard who learn it from god knows where.

Did they cringe, yes. Did they laugh, yes. Did they call a sanitary napkin a nappy, yes. But at least they learnt the facts they needed to.

Never underestimate the importance of mums having a period talk with their boys.  

If only for the simple fact they won't tell random strangers that butt plugs are falling out of your handbag.