An open-letter to my young sister going through puberty.
Your body is now capable of having babies. I’m sure you’ve gotten the run down in school and had the period talk with mom, so you should already be aware of the basics of what’s going on inside your parts. But I wanted to touch base with you a little bit about it and start the conversation between us as sisters.
You know how every month at some point I’d be swirling around on the couch with a microwave-heated towel and crying really bad and yelling at mom like “Make it stop please, mom please I just want it to stop I need a doctor, please mom I can’t do this anymore”? That’s part of my menstruation process, which is now part of your life too! I feel bad because I think my experiences of making you press dumbbells against my stomach or asking you to punch me in the face to refocus the pain may have given you the wrong idea of what it means to be going through your cycle, but I don’t want to scare you.
There are many ways to help discomfort, if you have any. You know how you do Yoga in school? That’s actually great, I bet something like that will help you greatly! I’m pretty sure meditation and relaxation is an awesome tool to combat cramps – something I’m just now catching on to.
But I want to remind you of what it is you’re going through so you don’t forget why it’s happening: your body is bleeding out eggs that turn into babies. Well, could turn into babies anyway. But since you’re not pregnant (which is great BTW, keep up the good work!), your body has all of these eggs it was storing “just in case” and every month it dumps ‘em out to keep room for all of the other eggs you’re not gonna turn into babies, either. It’s kind of like when your e-mail provider automatically deletes all of your trash mail every 30 days; your body just knows.
It’s actually a really beautiful system, you know. But I want you to understand that although it might be uncomfortable sometimes, your body is just doing it’s job of keeping your parts organized. It should also go without saying that it’s a reminder that you are not pregnant. Again, you shoulda had the class where you learned how babies are made so I’ll spare you, but the point holds true. Your body is now equipped with the functioning parts that are able to actually birth an entire person, which is a pretty big deal. The biggest deal of them all! A baby! You know what a baby turns into? An adult! Could you imagine having a one-day adult growing inside of you and then pushing it’s way out through your own body and then crying all of the time?
It’s overwhelming. But that is the choice you have: to embrace your monthly cycle, or have a person. And since you’re still very, very young – I like the first choice better. Don’t you?
To be honest, your period doesn’t have to suck. I think girls always hear about how crappy it is from the adult girls, and it scares them into a specific mentality that carries through their whole life. But it really doesn’t have to be like that at all. I wish I was in a better state of exercise and healthy eating when I was your age, because I believe it would have been something my body responded to better when my time came around. I’m pretty sure hot cheetos and pizza pockets weren’t helping my cramps, and in fact I decided to try the experiment out myself years ago and voila! It worked! The way I treat my body actually does translate to the way my body treats me when it’s time for my time every month, and that’s a pretty big discovery. This is also true with everything else in life.
Remember that you don’t have to hate your body every month. Love it, sing to it, dance in it, and respect it. It will respect you back.
And if all else fails, mom has midol.