I finally had the menses chat with my 10-year-old
“Mum, what are pads?” My nearly 10-year-old daughter came asking one day. Caught by surprise, I had no response on the tip of my tongue, but I did not let it show.
“Where did you hear about that?” I managed thinking of the best way to respond without lying. I would have to explain that it holds bleeding that comes out of her privates.
But then I would also have to explain why she would need to bleed. This conversation would lead to how she would have to stop bleeding to have a baby and as much as the ‘we buy babies from the market’ story is stale.
I would have to look for a reason that makes sense because the walls have ears…and the walls in this case were Raine, my five-year-old who would not excuse us when the juice is served.
Had an idea
She was not too green and by the time she was asking, she had a good idea of it. I knew this because being at school, I saw her teacher distributing sanitary towels to 12-year-olds who still had inconsistent menses.
Did she ask her, or discuss with her fellow mates in class? Perhaps, and she most likely knew much more than this.
I slipped off it saying we would discuss it, and later, when the story of the young girl who committed suicide after she was period-shamed aired in the news, I blurted it out and said she would start bleeding too and that when this happens, she would now become a young woman.
Her response was nothing I expected. She was calm, almost happy that I could trust her with this information.
“She knew it!” I exclaimed later to my husband. She must have been testing me, thinking I would lie in her face. Later, while away from Raine’s curiosity, I explained the changes she needed to expect as she got into womanhood.
It was not easy, believe me, but I reasoned that if she were to find out, I’d rather she did from me. It was one achievement I have not been looking forward to.