The Moon Within by Aida Salazar
As a mother of 4 girls, I have found it's never too early to introduce your daughter to what a woman's body is capable of.
Maybe your toddler busts in to the restroom while you are changing your pad and ask you, in horror, why you're bleeding and why you are hurt. This is an opportunity to softly respond with true, simple statements so that they see it as normal. "I'm not hurt! This is just what a woman's body does every month. It means there is no baby in my body!" Maybe even tell them that when they are women they will get a period too, and that there will be a celebration! I find that answering their questions gives them the exact information they need, no less no more. As they grow older they will begin to ask more detailed questions. This is a good thing! And what is so beautiful about this process is that if you don't know the answer, you can both research it together!
-Here are a few ways that we have prepared my daughters for their moon cycle-
Watch Educational Videos Together
Every once in a while a really awesome video comes across my newsfeed on social media (like this one) about a girls changing body and I always watch it and save it for later to watch with my girls. Of course the video always brings up more questions and this is a perfect opportunity for you to connect with your kiddos and answer their questions, letting them know that you are a safe place to come to when they have questions about their body. Approaching these subjects the same way you you teach them how to wash their butt normalizes the process so that there is no shame come time for puberty.
Read a Book Together
There are many books available for girls of all ages to learn about changes with their bodies. Mighty Girl has a TON of book options. My personal favorite book for my teenager was Reaching for the Moon by Lucy H. Pearce. This particular author has several books that I have read/want to read, including Moon Time for us grown adults. The Moon Within is another great read.
Talk About the REAL stuff
I remember when my body started producing cervical fluid and I thought it was snot coming out of me from sinus drainage. Can you imagine being a 6th grader and not understanding that what was happening to your body was completely normal? Talk to your daughter about healthy secretion and fertility. Talk to them about smells and colors and what a healthy period should look like. Teach them how to chart their cycle and why it's important to understand the entire cycle, not just the bleeding bits. This is truly sex ed 101 and the more they understand about their body the better they are able to protect themselves. HERE is a great example of a teen cycle chart.
Sit in Ceremony Together
Fathers and Mothers can create ceremony in everything you do. I find teaching your children how to live in ceremony gives them the tools they need to aid them when emotions are all over the place (like hormonal shifts). You are setting them up for the future. I love to sit in ceremony with the moon cycle while working with the elements:
Earth: simply sitting with the earth, flowers, or trees is lovely and grounding. The earth has a way of calming when tension and anxiety looming. Gardening is another lovely way to connect with the earth. You can give your daughter her very own herb garden and plant herbs that aid with period discomfort like Cinnamon, Raspberry Leaf, Red Clover, Alfalfa, Oatstraw, Passionflower, Chamomile Flowers, Passionflower, Valerian, and Lemon Balm, all found in our Moon Cycle herbal tea.
Air: breath work is an easy and effective way to calm nerves. You can do this together, even if you only have 5 minutes. You can even practice breath work with our I Am Cyclical crystal meditation bracelet.
Fire: burn incense, create a fire ceremony, or forage for herbs to make a smoke medicine stick. Your daughter may find favorite incense that she feels transforms the energy around her. This is a great way to support her finding what works as a self coping tool.
Water: make her an herbal bath on hard days. Teach her about herbs that relax and ease nerves and use epsom salts to help replenish necessary minerals in the body. Teach her to pray intentions into this bath as she drops the salt and herbs into the water. Teach her to submerge herself in love, leaving all worries behind. You can also find a body of water, which is always rejuvinating.
Make an Emergency Kit Together
This was one of my daughter's favorite things to do! We had a lot of fun looking at all of the different alternative menstrual products out there and she is anxious to try different things to see what works for her body. She decided that she would like to keep a pair of period panties, some pads, panty liners, wipes, and a Moon Time roller in a small bag that she keeps in her backpack. Teach her how to use the materials!!! I remember trying to use a tampon for the first time and it just didn't make sense to me until I saw visuals. Find videos and pictures and discuss the anatomy of the womb space (so important ladies!). We've discussed what she needs to do if she is away from home when her first cycle comes so that she feels prepared, too. Encourage her to develop a relationship with the school nurse so that she feels comfortable seeking advice from another woman (and getting supplies should she need them).
Involve the Men
My husband has 4 daughters and we hide nothing from him in regards to bodily function talk. He hears about blood, fluids, hormonal shifts, tears... he hears it all. I believe this creates a normalcy around the functions of the body and deters any shame that some of us have experienced in the past. If you have a man in the house, send him to get a package of pads (or whatever you use). If you are a man and raising a daughter solo, stock up the bathroom with menstrual products as an act of love and understanding. Let your daughter know that you are there to help should she need anything. If she has questions you do not know how to answer, shoot us a message. We have a ton of resources for the two of you to research together!
Download an App
Tracking your menstrual cycle is easy peasy these days. I use an app called Kindara that let's you input data every day so that you can see where you are in your cycle. It also has many informational videos that are helpful to even the seasoned gal. Your daughter will be able to poke around and learn, preparing for her cycle.
Throw a Party
My thirteen year old is very impatiently awaiting her period. Her entire life I have had the opportunity to explain to her how beautiful her cycle can be and how to learn from the shedding of old. She understands how this can be a special time for her to live in ceremony. One ceremony can be a simple honoring of blood shed. Maybe she invites her friends over in circle and they share stories and sip on tea. Perhaps you create a beautiful nook for her to sit when she needs space, as we know how blood shed calls for solitude. Talk about how she might want to honor this time in her life so that she has something to look forward to rather than something to fear and dread.
Great gifts to surprise her with are our Menstrual Support Ritual products, the Confidence Code journal, some chocolate (We love Chocolita), some cloth pads, and other things that I randomly pick up that I think she might need or want.
Talk to Experienced Mothers
Lastly, remember that other women are here for you. We can ALL learn something from each other and we all have our own experiences that contribute to a collective wisdom. You can join our private community the Sage Woman Circle to ask questions!
Aremisa of Indigenous Remedies says
For mine, I started with reproductive anatomy very early. Helping them understand where their uterus was located. We also did and still do a lot of talk around diet during pre-moon (now it's more like reminding them about the sugar intake and that whole teenage diet). Simple herbs for cramps. And taking time to rest and honoring the emotions. If there was anything I wish I had known, and soon discovered, my girls did not want me to make a big deal out of their transition. They wanted to sleep 🤣 No ceremonies, no long talks. I also learned that not all of their knowledge was going to come from me. They talked to their friends, googled stuff on their own. And I had to be okay with that. 💚
We feel like this is pretty solid advice!
What would you add? Tell us in the comments!
Looking for a way to connect to your own moon cycle? Check out our full Menstrual Support Ritual line HERE