I was 12 when I first got my period. Because I studied at a science high school far away from home, I stayed in a dorm with several other girls. I don’t think I told my mom when I first discovered about it. It was my best friend who gave me my first sanitary napkin; who taught me how to use it. We didn’t have easy access to Internet then so the rest of the week, I was left wondering whether there was anything wrong with me. “Is this normal?” I caught myself asking whenever I had to see the curious fluid on my napkin. I thought blood was supposed to look like the rich, red liquid I see whenever I accidentally get hurt.
Before that, I remember I spent a vacation at my relatives’ house in the province. I was with my cousin, and we were asked to watch my lola’s sari-sari store. We secretly opened one napkin just to see what it looks like. Now that I think about it, it’s weird that we both had to sneak just to see this thing, which was supposed to be as normal as any hygienic product. I was an only girl, but my cousin had four older sisters.
This just goes to show how taboo we consider the subject of menstruation. My mom and I never really talked about it. It was something I had to learn for myself. Growing up and being exposed to different people and different views, I now see the importance of talking about it. The wrong kind of information, or lack of one, can be harmful. Take for instance, ACTS OFW representative John Berniz III was caught having a fit in NAIA. He then compared this outburst to a woman on her period. Some people merely brushed it off as a laughing matter, but it actually promotes the notion that women on their period are basically reduced to hormones, or illogical beings who can’t even control their actions. Clearly, Bertiz knows zilch about menstruation. But he is good for one thing: He shows us why boys—not just girls—need to understand the woman’s natural cycle.
If you don’t want your child to look like an ignorant fool like Berniz, listen up, moms and dads. Here’s how you can approach this sensitive subject to your kids. Here are some tips reviewed by Dr. Robyn Miller from Kids Health.
Educate them early
Look for opportunities to enlighten them
Answer any questions simply and directly
Art by Marian Hukom
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