Gum in Your Hair

A blog for parents under the big sky.

The Teen Period Party

:: WRITTEN BY RHIANNA WEAVER ::

I remember the first time I got my period; I was petrified. Although I knew what was happening because I had talked with my mom about it beforehand and had participated in the fifth-grade health talk, it was still a shock. When I told my mom, she slapped me on the back and said, “Welcome to the club,” and that was it. I am not really sure what I was expecting, but it was not that. I had a girlfriend who, once she got her period, was taken out for a congratulatory lunch, a shopping trip and a pedicure with her mom. It was not until I sat down with my doctor at 16 that I got a little bit more information and some reassurance that I was totally normal. These days, girls have period parties. The period party gives caregivers an opportunity to educate girls about their menstrual cycle. It provides a safe space for girls to discuss periods, debunk myths and empowers them to understand their bodies. I sit here today and wonder how a period party would have changed my experience.

Some moms really go above and beyond with these parties. I love it. I’ve seen pictures of large red cakes with a uterus drawn on them, red balloons, goodie bags filled with pads and tampons – it all makes my inner feminist jump for joy.

Why do I love these parties? First, because they minimize the sense of shame and address fears associated with reproductive health. It is not uncommon for me to see women in my office who don’t understand their menstrual cycles and how they relate to their reproductive health. I do not want my daughter to be ashamed and feel dirty about her body. Did you know that, even in the United States, girls miss school every month because they do not know how to properly use feminine products? These parties can celebrate our bodies and empower our young women. Some period parties are even being used as charity events to raise awareness and to support women in need of menstrual supplies. What a wonderful way to teach our daughters about the power of giving.

I think girls deserve period parties. Common questions like “Are cramps normal?” and “Am I bleeding too much?” can be answered in a comfortable atmosphere. Monthly periods can be really confusing and scary to any girl who does not understand what is going on. Sometimes it takes girls until their 20s and 30s to understand that their lifestyle, diet, stress and birth control affect their cycles.

Obviously, if your daughter does not want a period party, then don’t give her one. She may need some one-on-one time, instead of being singled out in a group of girls. It is important to plan and execute the party so that it is special and welcoming, and not embarrassing. Don’t scar your daughter! Will you be throwing your teenage daughter a period party? I know I will!

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Rhianna Weaver is an herbalist, acupuncturist, and owner of Big Sky Fertility and Wellness in Bozeman Montana. She is also a mom and wife, lover of the outdoors, and a bookworm. You will usually catch her with a smile on her face, and a willingness to help with love and compassion. Feel free to reach out with any questions at 406-518-1887 or visit www.bigskyfertility.com