‘My daughter started at 9 and, I won’t lie, I could not look at her in the eye the first few months. I just didn’t know what to do. There had been no time, because I was in no hurry, to prepare her for it. To prepare me for it. It just showed up.’ Melanie, mom of 4
‘How is this possible? I am not even remotely prepared. Sure, I knew this day was coming. But at 11?’ Heidi, mom of 3
The Reality that it IS Coming
I got a text from a dear friend one night. ‘Here is an article for you. What do you do when your too young daughter starts her period?‘ I won’t lie, I was shocked. A mom of three daughters myself, you would not think I would be, but I was. 11 does seen really young. At least, in my mind it does. I was 14 when I started and my pediatrician said that they follow their moms age to start, generally. In fact, at check ups for my 12, 10 and 9 year old ladies over the summer, I was told we were not even close. So to get a text from Heidi saying that one of her 11 year old daughters had started threw me into fear mode.
What would I do? How would I handle it?
I’ll be honest here. I have only talked to my 12 year old about periods, sex and body changes. Talking to your little girl about her big girl body is H A R D!! It is made even harder when your daughter is not ready to hear it. My 10 year old freaks out at any mention so I am having to very gently blend it into conversation. My 9 year old still rolls her ‘r’s when she speaks, like she did as my sweet little toddler, so clearly she is too young, right?
As I dive more into the topic, however, and ask more moms of girls, I am learning that it is probably past due time for me to have that talk with all of my girls! Even if I am not ready to do it.
This is the first of my mom friends that I am close to that has a daughter who has started her menstrual cycle. And we are surrounded by girls! We do have some teen cousins that started years ago but no one in our ‘cluster’ of about 16 girls. But the truth it, you just don’t know when or how it will start. There are some ‘signs’, I suppose. Hair ‘down there’, apparently weight is an issue – they need to be 90 pounds according to some doctors – and the massive hormonal joy of tween and teenage-hood rearing it’s ugly head.
But I feel like, no matter what, we moms are not prepared for that day. We have hopes and dreams, ‘Please let her start at home. Please let the first one be very light. Please give me a 48 hour notice.’
Can we even be prepared, though? How can we be if she is too young to have her period?
Because I am at a total loss, and because there is not a whole lot of advice on the internet about this, I asked Heidi to write down how she handled it. She is an AH-MAZING MOM so I knew she would take the reigns and help us all try to deal with it as best we could. Even as we are all crying a little inside at the very real evidence that our little baby girls are growing up.
Here is her story:
She’s Too Young to Have Her Period!
‘I was casually wandering through target when my 11-year-old daughter FaceTimed me. I am not gonna lie; I was soaking up the peace and quiet and was little bit annoyed. But nothing could compare to the stomach dropping news that she laid on me via FaceTime.
She started her period.
I have avoided all hormone stimulating foods her entire life. We do not drink milk or eat meat with added hormones, we do not eat a great deal of soy….
How is this possible? I am not even remotely prepared. Sure, I knew this day was coming. But at 11?
I always thought I would have a gift box ready for her with a thoughtful card. We would eat ice cream together… but mother nature chose to drop this into my lap a little sooner than I was expecting.
Ok, I thought. Time to pull on my big girl panties and get to work!
Thankfully, I was already at the store so I had all of that I needed at my disposal. I began making my list.
Thin pads, thick pads, medium…overnight, light days….(skipping the tampons for now).
Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, ice cream, pain relief… I even found her shirt that says, “do not disturb”.
I put it all, plus a super fuzzy (blood red) throw blanket, into a cute box covered in sequins and attached a balloon that said, “congrats”.
When I got home she was still hiding in the bathroom. I gave her the box and she was very excited. Well, as excited as she could be considering the discomfort she was in… but she has been looking forward to this day since I told her about its impending arrival.
She has been getting on the scale and weighing herself constantly to see if she is at least 90 pounds, because that is what the pediatrician told us. She had all the other signs. I really should’ve known. I guess I was in denial that it could happen so young because I was 13!
But, all is well that ends well, right?
Sure, but, here’s where I dropped the ball. Please learn from my experience.
I did not give my poor husband proper notice. When he saw the box with the balloon and her wrapped in the fuzzy red blanket, he figured it out. And believe me, he was much less prepared for that moment than I was.
(Note to self, when the next daughter starts her period, give Dad heads-up ASAP)
Side note from me, Lori: Please tell your husband not to congratulate your daughter on her ‘becoming a woman’ at the dinner table. It still haunts me y’all. It still does…
This could have gone much worse. I am very grateful that she was at home and not at school. We had many discussions about it, so she wasn’t freaked out or confused when it happened.
We have discussed this new chapter into womanhood and I think overall, I did OK. She has been on the phone to her best friend as well as her grandmas ever since!
She is blissfully unaware at this moment, that her new friend will soon feel like her worst enemy. But, I’m one girl in and one to go….I’ll be ready!
Hopefully my experience will help you be ready too!’
Heidi, most amazing mom of 3
What to Do
Take it in stride.
Ask the moms who have been through it and there is no perfect way for that first period to show up. I can have all the pads I want stocked in the bathroom, gift bags in the closet and be on high alert for it to come and it can still go awry. But we will ALL get through it.
Be the comfort and knowledge she needs.
Just as Heidi did, be the loving and understanding mom that will listen and love her through it. We do, after all, have the experience to make it better. At least for a little while. Get her all the supplies she needs, tell her it’s OK to be scared and understand that she may take months to get used to her new ‘friend’s’ monthly visit.
Use the people on your team to deal with it yourself
Husbands, grandmothers, best friends… they can all be who you lean on as you are dealing with her leaning on you. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
It happens to almost all women and almost all women get through it just fine. We all know it is coming. Even if she is too young to have her period.