“At menarche*, you meet your wisdom.
With monthly bleeding, you practice your wisdom.
At menopause, you become your wisdom.”
— Tamara Slayton
Periods aren’t exactly a favourite topic for most people, including women. Monthly bleeding continues to be an uncomfortable discussion (even taboo) in most of the world.
So what would it take for you to embrace the idea of offering a menarche celebration to your daughter?
I offer Celebration Day for Girls workshops and have run these in Peru, Spain and Tanzania for 10-12 year old girls and their mothers or female carers. Since its inception in 2000 this workshop is now available in over 20 countries offered by over 100 facilitators.
From my own experience I am confident to say that honoring this rite of passage in any form or manner can be very beneficial for girls and their families, and I give you 5 Big Reasons why:
When we celebrate menarche we provide the perfect opportunity for girls to expand their education in regards to their bodies, it is the first step towards building a relationship with their maturing, developing selves. The physical and emotional changes that happen during puberty and the level of support our girls receive will set the tone for years to come. Embracing these changes with knowledge will give them the confidence to adapt to ongoing new challenges with ease. I encourage all parents and carers not to confuse innocence with ignorance. It’s very important to educate and choose age appropriate resources, and have age appropriate conversations, constantly.
Reaching menarche with intentional support around her allows young girls to connect with their bodies in a profound way and to welcome self-care practices from an early age. The more we encourage our girls to listen to their body signals, the more easily they will be able to tend to their needs. Once they recognise these signals, we can provide them with a number of self-care practices, ranging from menstrual pain management, relaxation techniques, exercise, menstrual cycle tracking methods, to mindful practices that will manifest into a positive relationship with their periods and the rhythm of their bodies.
Strengthening social connections
Sharing this rite of passage with loved ones and trusted people can contribute to building stronger bonds. These special moments will be cherished by our young girls and help strengthen their self-esteem. Celebrating menarche in a wholesome manner will give our girls the chance to practice empathy and compassion towards other women.
Debunking taboo and menstrual shame
Celebrating menarche will bring another level of awareness regarding the menstrual conversation. We aim to normalise the topic by simply talking about the female body, giving the girls access to resources that will answer all their questions, concerns, fears and curiosity. Celebrations can range from choosing a small private gathering to hosting a ‘Period Party’, the main idea is to send a positive message that will give due weight and respect to the topic in a mindful way.
Even a simple and heartfelt ‘congratulations’ is streets ahead of the ‘welcome to menstruation’ that most women received at their own menarche. Flowers, a special gift or passed on heirloom, a favourite meal, a cake, a hot chocolate date – all of these can send a message of support and celebration, pride and respect for this important life stage and rite of passage.
You can also read our blog by Rosie Ward on the myth of feminine hygiene here.
Setting the example
Girls who have a thorough understanding of their monthly cycles will lead the way and set an example for younger sisters, friends, cousins, and eventually their own daughters and granddaughters. In the same manner, by welcoming older women into a girl’s menarche celebration (mothers, grandmas, sisters, aunties, teachers, mentors), we give these women the chance to offer their support and wisdom. It’s interesting to note that older generations often reflect upon feelings they may still have regarding their own cycles. Feelings such as shame, guilt, secrecy. It may very well be the perfect chance for them to heal and establish a new relationship with their menstrual cycles, or even if those days have passed, to relish the changing times and the new or revamped way to honour girls the change of status from child to being a cycling and fertile woman.
This piece was first published on The Mindful Sprout by Mariana Zavery
Celebration Day for Girls welcomes any young person who menstruates and/or identifies as a girl, gender diverse or non-binary.
* First period
Mariana is the Founder of the Mindful Sprout. After working as a Graphic Designer for many years, I developed a passion for Healthy Food & Nutrition that ended up sprouting into a career and an ongoing journey. I find great joy sharing everything I learn with family, friends
and local community. I host monthly Mindful Living workshops for children, teens and adults on a variety of topics that range from Conscious Eating, Wellness, Basic Herbal usages to Menstrual Cycle Awareness. Motherhood is a big part of my journey and I have the privilege of raising my two daughters Anya & Zaya.