Celebrating Daughter's First Period

Parent Q&A

  • Advice for first period

    (4 replies)

    Hello all

    please give me all your advice and product recommendations! I had a terrible time as a menstruating child and want to get it right. My daughter hasn’t started yet, she’s 11 but i want to be ready.

    Pads? Which ones? Pain relief? Which one? Any and all wisdom appreciated! 

    Thank you!

    RE: Advice for first period ()

    I recommend raspberry leaf tea or tincture to lessen the heaviness of flow. It made a huge difference for me when I used it five years ago. The staff are really sweet and can talk to you about it at the Homestead Apothecary located in Temescal Lane (https://homesteadapothecary.com/). I like the fact that it is easy to use as a tincture, not extremely expensive, and is natural.

    RE: Advice for first period ()

    When my daughter got her period I made a gift basket/starter kit to "celebrate" the experience, (I knew she was going to have a rough time with it). I wanted her to be able to figure out what worked for her, so I bought various pads (panty liners, regular & overnight) and tampons (multi sizes), a few pairs of period underwear, a small bag for her to use in school, a heating pad, and some good chocolate! She really appreciated it & we had a sweet moment over it. :)

    RE: Advice for first period ()

    I could have written your post 3 years ago - when my girl was approaching that time I purchased this through Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01B3SW3K2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin...

    It's a great 'my first period' kit with lots of different sizes/styles to try. I think the key for my daughter was being able to try different things to see what worked for her, and switch it up when it didn't. So I also bought other kinds/brands (organic, dye free, etc) to supplement the kit. She was NOT interested in tampons (still not) and after 3 years has found a groove with a brand she likes.  I also purchased these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DETC9CA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin... which she ended up using WITH a pad - I think the extra layer of protection makes her feel more comfortable. I've been wearing something similar for years and am happy with the combo.

    As for meds, she does get cramps, but a warm heating pad and some Tylenol does the trick. Also, FWIW, it took about 2 years for her to become 'regular' so don't be surprised by stops and starts along the way. The cramps seem to have lessened as the years have gone by. Some of the journey was emotionally draining for us both, but as she adjusted to her 'new' body, we made it!

    You're a super mom for planning it out - just your thoughtfulness will go a long way towards making it smoother! 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Acknowledging Arrival of Daughter's First Period

Feb 2005

Our 11 1/2 year old daughter is developing physically at a pretty fast clip, and is bound to be getting her period for the first time one of these days. I remember this as being a total non-event in the life of my family and between me and my own mom. But somehow it seems like such an important threshhold, and as her mom, I'd like to offer her some special ritual, or blessing, to mark this significant passage into the next huge chapter of her life. Although we are not an especially religious family, our daughter does speak Hebrew and any Jewish rituals would be especially meaningful - although by no means are we limited to things that emanate from this tradition. I'd really love to hear what other moms have done and what other daughters have found significant. Many thanks, Preparing for yet another passage

I have a stepdaughter who is 13 and got her period about a year ago. Unfortunately, her mother and I completely disagree on the way to deal with it, but I would suggest that you take into consideration how your daughter would feel about it. Does she seem to want or would mind a big deal being made of it? Many girls I think would rather it be a ''non-event'' as you say it was for you. For me, I literally ran home, came through the front door and yelled ''Mom!'' and she came to me and said ''You got your period!'' That's all I remember...she prepared me for what would happen matter of factly and that all I would experience was normal and would happen to all girls at one time or another. It was an easy process for me. For my stepdaughter, her mother has made her feel ashamed of her body, wha! t's happening to her, and been told that she's too young to use tampons (it seems to me if you are menstruating, you are old enough) and consequently this ''passage'' has been a horrible experience for her and she doesn't like to talk about it.

I would warmly suggest that you sit down with her BEFORE it happens, tell her you've noticed her body changing and what she can expect, the gammut of emotions she might feel, etc. etc. and that it's all normal, most importantly. That she can talk to you (hopefully) and will gladly answer any questions she might have. Overstress the normality of it and that it happens to ALL girls eventually, but not always at the same time (''Why hasn't Susie, my best friend gotten it yet?'') Good luck. Been thru that passage

I heard a very cool idea recently: I guess it was the mother (or some other female relative or friend of the family) who invited several women to a get-together for the girl. The purpose was simply to acknowledge her transition to womanhood. It ended up that each woman in turn talked about her own experience of getting her period. Having had a very awkward experience with my mother who was too embarassed to say much of anything, this sounded great to me. Burr

You have a lovely idea to make this event special for your daughter. I would go to the Library at the Jewish Community Center on Walnut at Rose in Berkeley. Check with the librarian for resources. I have seen some rituals for women's events on hand outs and I would think there would be some books with suggestions and sample ceremonies/blessings by now, too. kl

The afternoon after my very first period, a huge, beautiful floral arrangement (pink roses, my favorite at the time) was delivered to me with a card. It was my first time having flowers delivered to me. They were from my dad. ''Congratulations on becoming a woman'' , it said. I felt silly, wonderful, proud and grown-up all at once. I will never forget being acknowldged by my father in this way. Mom took me out of school for the day and we shopped and lunched to celebrate. suzy

When my period came (for which I was fully prepared), my mother told my dad who congratulated me. It mortified me and I can remember how I felt about it to this day. Whatever you do with your daughter, please talk to her first and make sure she really wants some acknowledgement of the event. anon

why not give her a mikva? I don't like the idea of the ritual bath as a means to wash away the impurities of having your period but maybe you could transform the ritual into one where she is nurtured by her mother. make it special with flower petals and essential oils and massage her-it could be like you are annointing her with oil. another idea is to make or buy a piece of red jewlery so she can feel beautiful and celebrate her blood every month. daniel gordis's book ''becoming a jewish parent'' has some interesting info about judaism and the cycle of life including puberty and adolescence. mazel tov sara

I think it's sweet that you want to do something for your daughte! r, but please make sure that she wants something done before you go ahead with anything. When I got my first period (at 13), I told my mom and she ran and told my dad and I was soooooo embarrassed! I wished I had never told them at the time, but of course I needed to so they could buy me supplies. I had friends who never told their parents for months and just bought stuff on their own because they were too embarrassed to tell their parents too. As an adult, I know that starting menstruation is nothing to be embarrassed about and is a big step for a girl, but that is a difficult age and a young girl may not want that kind of attention drawn to herself. Something to think about before planning a ritual. Good luck! Anon

What I always *wished* my mother had done was to take me out to a nice grown-up just-us-girls lunch - someplace like the Nordst! rom cafe or a tea room or something slightly girly - to celebrate. If you want to get more elaborate, there are a couple nice Jewish-based rituals described on Ritualwell.org - see http://www.ritualwell.org/Rituals/search.html?symbols=418 I Googled ''first period rituals'' and got a bunch of good sites. JP

My mother didn't do anything to acknowledge my periods starting, other than buying me sanitary napkins. My best girlfriend's mother had made it a special deal by taking her out for a special dress-up meal, buying her perfume and a new nightgown. I was so incredibly jealous and felt like my ''special moment into womanhood'' was completely overlooked. I think it's great that you want to do something for her; I wish my mom had done something for me. It probably depends on what kind of relationship you have with your girl as to what would ! appeal to her and not be embarassing. Good luck. anon

When my daughter was your daughter's age, I talked to her about what she might want to do to celebrate her first period. Because she was (is) a Disney freak, she said, ''Go to Disneyland!'' She did get her period right after turning 12, and yup, we went to Disneyland shortly thereafter. Not exactly a spriritual, Jewish-related ritual, but for her, it was precisely the celebration she wanted. While we were there, I went to the crystal shop and bought a small, crystal box with yes, a Disney character on it. I had it engraved with the date of her first period. At the risk of sounding tacky and politically incorrect to attach this womanly event to something as mass-media as Disney -- I will say that my daughter thought this was way cool. I think the important thing was that I honored her choice in this matter and that t! he event was seen as a true ''celebration.'' anon

I just wanted to point our that for some girls/women, this is a very very priate and personal thing. She may find getting her period to be embarrassing rather than joyful and may not want you to tell anyone at all, much less throw a party! anon

I'm Jewish, but I don't think this is a Jewish ritual. Right after my first period came, my mom said, ''I know this sounds weird, but I have to do it. I need to smack you across the face so that your cheek gets a little red. My mom did this to me when I got my first period. It's to bring some blood to the face, because you are losing some blood now.'' I know this is totally bizarre and I kind of screamed/cried when she said it, but it didn't really hurt. Afterwards I felt kind of connected to my ancestors by her doing that. I mean, there's no! way that's a modern ritual. It has to be ancient! anon

My daughter just got her period (at 13). I knew it would be coming too, but she wasn't with me when it actually came. She's kind of a shy person about her body and was not that comfortable talking about all the bloody details! We didn't have the pad and tampon party that I wanted, but I did get her a special bag to put her supplies in to carry in her backpack and a little fertility figurine and quietly gave them to her. We also talked about keeping track of it on the calendar. She marks it in RED. She's slowly talking a little more about it but really keeps it to herself most months. I told her as she gets older she and her girlfriends will start to talk more freely about bodily fluids, but that I woud try not to embarass her too much now. I didn't want to do anything that felt false and neither did she. It's really cool when ! our periods come together and I mention that when I can. So, it's just a kind of on- going thing, a celebration/acknowledgement of life, and growth. Mazeltov! mother of young woman

Hi - I don't have any suggestions about rituals to acknowledge your daughter's first period, but I wanted to suggest that you try to coax out of her what she'd be comfortable with. Some girls would not want an event made out of their first period. At my daughter's school, they showed one of those movies that we've all seen to both the mothers and the daughters. In the movie, the mom gushes about the arrival. My friend's daughter looked over to her mom and asked sincerely, ''You're not going to act like that are you? - please don't''. When my own daughter had her first period at an all too early age of 10 1/2 I took her to dinner for some girl time. Good luck! They grow up too fast now! anon

When I was like 12 my mom told me there was a little box under the sink in my bathroom with pads and tampons and stuff, and then when I got my first period I opened the box and behind all the stuff there was a little ring box with a sweet little white gold ring in it. I still wear the ring and it was a nice way for my mom to acknowledge this milestone without totally embarrassing me or being super emotional. helene

I vaguely recall seeing an old Saturday Night Live skit in which the mother (Jane Curtin) makes a big deal about her daughter (Larraine Newman)'s first period, throws her a big party, gives her presents, tells the dad, etc. Its all quite funny and over-the-top, but as I was laughing, I was also thinking, ''boy, I'm SO glad that's not MY mom!'' The way you wish to acknowledge your daughter's first period depends on her, too. Maybe she would like to make it a big deal. Maybe (like me) she'd be happier if it were a total non-event. CC

I just came across an article in Mothering magazine, the Nov/Dec 2001 issue entitled: First Moon the Making of a Menarche Ritual. It includes tips for a successful ceremony; first blood celebrations around the globe; and includes a few resources:
www.womensway.ws (book How to Celebrate your Daughter's Coming of Age) www.bodymatters.com www.mum.org (Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health) www.celebrategirls.com (ceremonial kit First Moon: Passage to Womanhood) www.bellpineartfarm.com (Menstrual Goddess statues) eve