Google+ Authentic Parenting: How to discuss menstruation with your daughter (or son)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How to discuss menstruation with your daughter (or son)

written by DeAnna L'am ~

This post is written as a follow up on the guest post DeAnna has written about welcoming girls into womanhood. Menstruation is such a taboo in our society and are hidden under a veil of shame and myth, yet they are a big part of what make us women and should be discussed properly. Many parents shy away form this topic, or cannot find the words. If you want to share your approach to your children's coming of age, or your own experiences with your first period (or, if you are a man, you thoughts on this subject), please email your story to me.

“This is my Moon Flow,” I said to Ellah, who was about 4 at the time, when she saw me changing a pad. I never saw my Mom changing pads, and hence committed to not hiding my natural flow from my daughter. Without my flow, my girl would not have been born… How could this be anything but a source of joy in my ability to give birth? An ability she will one day share!
“All women flow with the moon,” I added, “and you, too, will flow when you become a woman.” Ellah smiled with the promise, and at four years of age this was enough. I didn’t refer to the flow as “blood” until much later, since I didn’t want Ellah to associate it with an “Ouwy.” The purpose with young children, both girls and boys, is to introduce, and talk about, this natural bodily function in the same neutral way as you do when talking about eating. Gradually, as the child matures, it is good to tie the flow to its purpose, which is a woman’s ability to give life.
If you find that you have some charge about your menstruation (such as physical or emotional pain) it is best not to introduce the subject to your child until you work through your difficulty and gain some balance for yourself.
Generally, it is best not to bombard children with information, but to wait for their questions. When Ellah was about seven, she asked me where does the Moon Flow come from? My answer was inspired by the Waldorf educational approach, and I explained that the Moon Flow is “Mom’s Nest.”
“Mommy’s Nest???” she asked in amazement.
“Yes,” I said. “When a Mama bird prepares for a baby bird to be born, she makes a nest. She flies in the forest and collects leaves, feathers, boughs, branches, and bits of fluff, and she weaves a nest for the baby bird to comfortably lie in.”
“Well…” I continued, “it’s the same with me. And with all women! Every month a woman’s body prepares a nest in her tummy, where a baby can grow. Her wise body gathers tissue and blood from inside her, and makes a warm and comfortable nest. Then, if no baby starts to grow, there is no need for the nest. So Mamma’s wise body sends the nest out in a big whoosh. That’s why the flow is red, because it’s made of all the good, nourishing blood that was ready to help the baby grow.”
“Every month,” I shared with my daughter, “I thank my body for being such a miracle, and for knowing how to make a baby grow inside… I also thank it for the wisdom of letting go of the nest, when I don’t need it…” Ellah was fully satisfied. She had a clear picture in her mind, and the Moon Flow made sense to her.
Telling your child a story of this nature doesn’t only encapsulate the physical facts associated with menstruation. It allows you to start instilling the awe, which our bodies deserve for their amazing abilities. Beyond that, you are actively bucking the cultural current of taboo and shame around menstruation. You are raising a girl or a boy who will have a different narrative with which to counter the cultural beliefs when they encounter them.

photo credit: madamepsychosis via photopin cc

© 2010, DeAnna L’am, Red Moon ~ Cycles of Women’s Wisdom 

DeAnna L’am, (B.A.) speaker, coach, and consultant, is author of Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood. Her pioneering work has been transforming women’s & girls' lives around the world, for over 20 years. DeAnna specializes in enriching women's lives at any age, helps Moms develop ease & confidence about their girl's puberty, and inspires them to become conscious role models for their girls. Visit her at:

Red Moon ~ Cycles of Women's Wisdom™
Tel. 707.823.5659
P.O. Box 1251, 
Sebastopol, CA 95473



  1. Oh I love this one. I was never told anything on the subject by my mother. And before reading this article, I did not know that I did not know how to talk about periods to a child in a good way. My boy is not even aware that there is such a thing as a period ! This is going to change.
    Thank you.

  2. How great is that, to discover things you didn't even knew you didn't knew! I think I have a lot t o learn in that department too, that's why I'm so excited about these posts. I think it's a very important, but a highly neglected aspect of parenting


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