As promised: why it's helpful to know your daughter's menstrual cycle 🧵— Stephanie Winn (@sometherapist) September 3, 2023
The first few years of menstruation can be painful, embarrassing, messy, & destabilizing. The gender cult preys on this, reframing normal adjustment difficulties as proof a girl wasn't meant to be female.
View the original Twitter thread here
“The first few years of menstruation can be painful, embarrassing, messy, & destabilizing. The gender cult preys on this, reframing normal adjustment difficulties as proof a girl wasn’t meant to be female.
While helping girls adjust is primarily the work of mothers (+aunts, older sisters, etc), & the following thoughts are primarily for mothers, fathers’ reactions are important too.
So a word for the dads: be chill & helpful. Don’t get awkward or shy away. You held your wife’s hand during childbirth. You changed your daughter’s diaper as a baby. Don’t act like your daughter’s period is gross, embarrassing, or none of your business. You can handle it.
Reasons parents should engage with daughters around their periods: Doing so allows you to model & instill the mature, accepting, wise, compassionate stance you want your daughter to have toward her own body, & in the process, helps fortify her against unhelpful/false narratives.
Mothers can help initiate daughters into the rites of passage of womanhood.
By attending to & nurturing your daughter’s needs around menstruation, you can remain close to her during that phase of adolescence when she tends to push you away.
You can help her develop the self-awareness to recognize & care for her needs throughout the month. Teach cycle tracking. Use an app or paper planner. Notice how regular or irregular, long, painful, etc. her cycle is to spot health issues early. Help her learn how to prepare.
Teach her how hormones naturally fluctuate throughout the month & how shifting levels of estrogen, progesterone, & testosterone impact mood, cognition, ambition, extraversion/introversion, etc. Use cycle tracking to help her learn to recognize her own patterns.
Such lessons may achieve several beneficial purposes. She may learn:
- how to capitalize on her own peak productivity (follicular phase) & take it easy during hypersensitive windows (luteal phase)
- how to recognize when she’s in too emotional of a state to make good decisions
- that she is multifaceted, this is beautiful, & time is all that’s required to allow her many faces to emerge
- reverence & humility toward the profound complexity of the human body, especially how wildly hormones impact us (…so maybe we shouldn’t mess with them?)
Being involved in her cycle & symptoms will also help you spot early on if she has issues requiring medical attention. Especially painful, heavy or irregular periods may be signs of hormonal, nutritional or lifestyle imbalance, or conditions such as PCOS or endometriosis.
Spotting conditions early on will allow you to help your daughter find the right diagnosis & help. Anecdotally, many have observed higher rates of PCOS in girls on the autism spectrum & those who ID as trans or nonbinary. These girls may well have raised androgen levels or lower than usual levels of estrogen/progesterone, which could account for some of their mood problems or “not feeling like a girl.” Likewise, girls who lose a lot of blood are at increased risk for anemia, which can then cause depression. Getting the right help early is key
Plus, untreated PCOS, endometriosis, or other conditions associated with especially painful or inconvenient periods can worsen a girl’s feelings of discomfort or hatred toward her body. Helping her with the root cause instills appropriate self-compassion & self-care.
Whatever symptoms your daughter may have, these present an opportunity to show tenderness. Provide her with heating pads, ibuprofen, chocolate, tea, nourishing meals, heartwarming shows — whatever takes the edge off. Help her learn to rest when appropriate.
When you know her typical cycle, you can also contextualize her behavior to better make sense of how to interpret it. Are things really looking up, or is it just her cheerful follicular phase? Are they really so terrible, or is it the luteal premenstrual progesterone crash?
By helping your daughter with cycle tracking, self-knowledge, & self-care, you are also in a better position to notice any changes. For example, taking testosterone is likely to alter & eventually halt her periods altogether.
In sum: remain involved in your daughter’s cycle; teaching her how it works; normalize ups & downs; help recognize & address any related health problems early & appropriately; model compassionate care around symptoms; & instill reverence for the complexity of our amazing bodies.”