Father’s Day is this weekend, so we decided to ask a dad from the LOLA community to share his personal experience talking to his daughter about her first period.
I wasn’t sure if I was really ready for “The Talk.” My daughter had recently turned 12, though, and puberty was hurtling toward us like a renegade meteor. (Or at least that’s the way I thought of it.) My wife and I had (sort of) prepped a plan to talk to her about getting her first period, which I imagined we’d then be forced to parlay into a talk about sex (sex?!), and on and on the ball would roll into contraceptives, consent, and choice. To be honest, I was dreading the whole ordeal — and the fact that my little girl was officially growing up.
But, on the other hand, I had always said that I wanted to be the kind of dad who she could talk to about anything and everything. Nothing would be off limits. And this was a pretty big opportunity for me to prove it, by tackling a subject that’d likely be pretty uncomfortable for both of us. Plus, I’d have my wife by my side to take the lead, right? Right…? Wrong.
My otherwise amazing wife happens to have a habit of bursting into uncontrollable laughter when she gets really nervous, which invariably leaves me hanging. (Like when her mom caught us fooling around when we were just a few years older than our daughter is now. Yeesh…talk about full circle.) And guess what happened just as we got the discussion going?
Yup, it was dear ol’ dad who led the convo, sweating my way through phrases like ovulation, menstruation, uterine lining, and vaginal discharge. But about halfway through the talk, something changed, and I got more and more comfortable. My daughter was attentively nodding, though not saying or asking much, and my wife had caught her breath and thankfully joined in. We talked for a while, and it felt like this was a real “moment” that would resonate with our daughter. I like to think it was a day that proved to her that there’s nothing embarrassing or shameful about her body, and that we laid the foundation for even more honesty and openness as she gets older. (Either that, or she’s now scarred for life. TBD.)
In the next few weeks and months, some cool stuff happened. My daughter and I had lots of smaller talks about preparing for her first period. We joked about it, we laughed about it, she asked some questions, told me about her friends’ experiences, and shared her thoughts. A friend of mine gave me the LOLA First Period Kit, which I promptly shared with my daughter, checking out all the products inside, and reading the helpful tips in the guide book. When she did get her first period, she told me proudly! She was happy, relieved, and a little nervous. After trying a few of the pads in the First Period Kit, she told me which kinds she preferred, and I was even assigned to buy them from time to time. (I leaned on my wife to cover all the nitty-gritty how-to details.)
Now, over a year later, we’re still broaching new (and even more uncomfortable) subjects all the time as we make our way into the dreaded teen years. But it feels like that first period talk was one of the big ones — one that set the foundation for us to talk about the scary stuff the same way we do the fun stuff, and trust that as time goes on, we can talk to each other about anything. Period.