When people ask me how old my babies are and I respond that I have a 12 year old girl, 9 year old boy and a 7 year old girl I get a lot of really rude comments like "Oh gosh, good luck with your 12 year old!".... ttthhhaaannnkkksss?
It's blindingly obvious that girls and women in general have this stigma that we hit an age and hormones take over turning us into crying, screaming, irrational, hysterical monsters. That's what our mothers were taught and theirs and theirs before that. Women have a LONG and dark history of being belittled and stripped of our power by diminishing it with slanderous name calling and labels. A hysterectomy in its self dates back to the ancient times, (roughly 120 after the birth of Christ) coming from the Latin hystericus ("of the womb"). This was a "condition" that they really believed was exclusive to women – sending them uncontrollably and neurotically insane owing to a dysfunction of the uterus. If a woman couldn't have a baby, if she did have a baby and experienced postpartum depression, if a woman experienced any kind of depression or anxiety, if her husband was a horrible man and she was fed up and fought back... all it it made her hysterical or would definitely lead to it so against her will and with a very small chance of survival they would just remove her uterus. What I am trying to get at is that women have been killed, locked up, mutilated and simply shamed for their natural hormones and what comes with them.
As a mother of an amazing, loud, funny, emotional, kind, helpful, empathic 12 year old daughter who entered into "womanhood" this last year, I am not afraid of her and the "wrath to come". I am constantly in awe of her! I am here to guide her into knowing herself and trusting that inner light. I am her guidance into understanding what her body is going through, outside the horribly lop sided school system. It breaks my heart when women buy into the lies that we have had pressed upon us for millennia's. All lies that steal our self love, self knowing and true power as women.
Here are a few ways to help be there for your daughters when they start the dreaded hormonal years.
*Be patient with yourself. It's "not about you", but it is at the same time. We as women will be triggered and will react to our daughters in the way that we were raised too. Seeing her hurting and with no "reason" may frustrate you so you yell at her to get over it or just go away. Turn inward and ask yourself why that's your response? What is it you needed at her age that? What is it you need now at your own age? When she cries or feels "BIG FEELS", as we call them, remind her that sometimes we just need to feel them so they are held and released. They don't need to be attached at a person, thing or event. Sometimes we feel things and don't know why and that. is. ok! Be patient. They are called feelings and not knowings for a reason after all. Honor that.
*Make space for her. When my oldest entered this time last year, I was literally on my way out the door for work and I literally stopped what I was doing and called in. I laid with her and asked her if she understood what was happening and why. I asked her how she felt about all this big change in her own little body. I asked her what she needed from me. We discussed all the feminine hygiene options and their pros and cons (without my own judgement or fear of "if she uses a tampon she will surely then lose her virginity the next week! (<--- That's ridiculous
and a whole conversation for another day) My daughter and I cried together while I held her as we discussed the shift from a childhood to womanhood. We literally mourned her inner little girl and also discussed how she's always there, she is just a little more magic now. I gave her all the love and at the same time was healing, holding and loving my own inner child that never had that.
*Drop the judgements. That means for her and for you. Hormones aren't the enemy, they are the messenger. They are there to tell us what we need if it be water, fiber, chocolate, a walk in nature or a deep breath with some loud music blasting.
*Educate her (and most likely yourself) as best as you can from a place of confidence and love. If you're uncomfortable talking about all things hormones which includes dreams, feelings, acne, body changes, sexual arousal and so much more, then do your best to at least not shame them or her. Your discomfort will pass onto her as her own discomfort which will lead to a disconnect from herself. We can heal this generational wound that women carry around. Can you imagine!? Instead dreading our monthly period because it's gross, painful and a bother, we can see it as our cyclical connection to nature and the cosmos! We can understand that it means our own dark of the moon, a time of silence and inner reflection. We can understand and remember that our periods are a freaking magical event that happens so we can die and be reborn every month just as the seasons in year! It happens to allow us to be a vessel of life! Come on, that's not a disgusting and inconvenient event. That is something to honor and find empowerment in.
Love her. Love her as you wish (or are grateful that) someone loved you. Be with her. Feel with her. Learn and grow along side her. We are the wise women that go before her and she needs you. Lets re-write the stigmas of what it is to be a woman and what comes with the beautiful power of our innate ebs and flows that occur naturally every 30 days. I
illuminate and go into your own shadow with love and grace just as the moon does monthly and teach her how to do that same.