There is something rather unsettling about having to find out about your body through a friend. Sadly, this is the case for many girls in the Indian society. Though we are working to build more informed and empowered society for generations to come, the talk about a woman’s menstrual cycle remains very hush-hush. If and when there is any talk about it, everyone turns into Secret Service members; people start using code-words, the guy who sells female sanitary wear wraps it quickly as though it would explode if exposed, and local reality shows censor the term ‘periods’ when uttered. What is even more baffling is why something that occurs so commonly in nature is hesitated to be brought up by parents to their daughters. Perhaps every culture has their own reasons and beliefs that influence a parent to abstain from such talk, but would you, as a parent, be willing to change the norm? If not, here’s why you should–
Getting to know about one’s own body and the nature of their femininity is crucial for any girl before she enters her teens. When friends prove to be more informative and open than parents, the bond of trust between friends sub consciously grows stronger while the one between the parent and child weakens. Children are more likely to heed the advice of their peers over parents’. In such cases, it is wise for parents to get over their inhibitions and build a sense of trust in their daughters.
Making a girl feel ashamed or disgusted about her own nature can prove to be a daunting mistake in the modern world. In the current, competitive world, survival is not just about performance, but about self-confidence. Simple gestures such as looking down upon her monthly cycles may slowly build the wrong image in her mind.
A girl’s peer group is most likely not as well-informed as an adult woman who has gone through years of first-hand experience. Also, experiences are unique for every individual female. The wrong expectations may instill a feeling of unwanted anxiety and stress in these young minds.
Menstrual health is an extremely important topic. What to expect and what can be considered abnormal must be discussed so that a young girl knows what to expect from her body and when to ask for help. Sometimes, assuming something abnormal is normal or just a temporary situation may lead to a health anomaly from remaining unattended to, for a critically longer duration.
Open talk about periods leads to empowering young female minds, while helping them grow into strong and self-assured individuals. This will encourage them to explore the various sanitary options available to them in the market and urge them to keep up to date with the latest vaccines and other preventive methods for growing health issues such as cervical cancer, cystic fibrosis etc.
All we want for the future generations is for them to be healthy, smart and empowered to make an educated decision. A daughter has the right to know about her body and what to expect in terms of her health. Withholding this information doesn’t safeguard any social values; it only weakens the very fabric upon which human values are sown into.