We get it! The idea of talking to your kids about periods, puberty and everything that comes with that can be awkward. You feel uncomfortable and unprepared and your children sit there staring at you in abject horror besides they can always go to google right?
Bleeding and cramps aren’t considered topics of polite conversation and we often avoid talking about it until there’s no choice at all. Changing cultural and social attitudes towards periods is crucial if we want to truly change the political and economic landscape for women, girls and menstruators globally.
The potential impact of young people missing school, or struggling to manage their periods effectively throughout their time at school has worrying implications for the long-term impact on attendance rates, educational outcomes and their overall wellbeing now and in the future.
Here at The Womb Room we don’t want young people growing up in the same culture of fear and misinformation that many of us did- we think it’s time to break the cycle.
⅓ of British women are embarrassed about their period
~ Action Aid 2016
Reducing Shame & Stigma
Our children live in an ever changing and more politically and socially engaged world. In recent years we have seen widespread shifts to change the way in which women and girls are viewed and there has been a conscious effort to empower women and girls to fulfill their potential and excel in every sphere of life. In spite of this the shame and stigma around lived experiences of womanhood including menstruation, puberty and reproductive illnesses such as endometriosis, fibroids and PCOS is still deeply ingrained. Removing barriers to these discussion is essential if we want to truly create a generation of young leaders with empathy, autonomy and self awareness.
Encouraging Self Advocacy
The ability to self advocate is a life skill and we should all feel confident enough to advocate for ourselves and our experiences whether in work, in education or in the doctor’s office. We believe that individuals are truly the experts on their lived experiences and that the voices of those with reproductive and menstrual well-being needs should be prioritised. Ensuring girls and menstruators have the knowledge to understand their bodies helps to safeguard them. Research from the World Health Organisation shows that those who start puberty earlier are at increased risk of sexual coercion and violence and that those who are unaware of how their bodily processes work are less likely to be able to identify unhealthy sexual relationships.
Supporting Emotional Development
Empowering your children to understand their body and the way that it works is a positive contributor to their emotional development. Puberty can be a difficult time and throughout a woman’s life her body will change understanding these changes, knowing how to manage them and recognising when a change may be the sign of a more serious problem is essential to safeguard generations of menstruators who will grow to be global leaders and social/ political changemakers.
More than 1 in 10 girls start their period before being told anything about them
~ Family Planning Association