The last full moon was a very special beginning, my 11 year old daughter began menstruating. Although the signs of her body changing have all been indicating it was coming, it was still a big surprise! I have always felt it important to do everything I can to guide her to become a strong woman and for me this was a significant event in her life to strengthen that.
Like most 11 year olds on summer break, Raeana was complaining that she was bored. It was a hot Arizona afternoon, we got word from our friends who happen to have a nice big pool, to got over to their house. Although I had plans to work on a project, I dropped it and asked Raeana to get ready so we can go swimming, she was super excited! She went off to her room to change into her bathing suit then I heard her yelling “Mom!” I thought she needed help tying her suit but instead I walked in her room and she said “I started my period!” I maintained my cool and showed her again how to put on a pad, but this time is was not for practice. She was excited and shocked, but then she was bummed, she realized swimming was not gonna happen. For so many women our monthly visitor can be a bit uncomfortable, unwanted and even painful! I didn’t want this to be the way for her to remember this first, so I got a great idea, CELEBRATE!
I had read some articles about rituals to celebrate the first menstruation to welcome young girls into womanhood and I loved the idea. That weekend it just so happened that my friend Patricia was going to be hosting her annual Summer Solstice Soiree which would include an energy cleansing and blessing. Along with that, the moon phase would soon be full! I have been going through a spiritual awakening and all this happening just came together beautifully and I took it as a sign and went for it. I explained to my daughter how a woman’s menstrual cycle mirrors the cycle of the moon, and that we could go to the soiree to celebrate her coming into womanhood. She was excited and plans were set to attend, here are a few pictures of the celebration:
My daughter sitting on a blanket as we began. (Photo Courtesy Of: Carmen Guerrero)
The altar and blessed water. (Photo Courtesy Of: Fatimah Halim)
Cleansing. (Photo Courtesy Of: Fatimah Halim)
Herb medicine. (Photo Courtesy of Fatimah Halim)
At closing, the opportunity to express was given to the attendees. My daughter gave thanks and expressed the importance of having that type of ritual for the community and felt it is needed.
Now looking back here are a few things I would like to share with any mothers or fathers for when the time comes for your daughters first moon.
*Open up the conversation ahead of time. It can feel embarrassing to talk about a bleeding vagina but it’s a natural body function. No shame for vaginas, bleed proud!
*Step by Step. Explain to your daughter exactly what will happen to her body and what she may feel, what is normal and what is abnormal.
*Open to questions. Ask your daughter if she has any questions and let her know if she can’t think of any she can always ask you anytime one pops up.
*How to. Help her practice putting on a pad ahead of time. It can seem very simple for us who have done it many times but for a first timer it can be intimidating. Also explain what the different types of pads are used for.
*Be patient. I’ll just say I ended up cleaning the carpet quite a bit, some things that seemed like common sense to me were not to her. I had to keep reminding myself to be calm and patient.
And of course CELEBRATE this important milestone!
Please share any tips you may have:)