The first time I experienced my period is something that I will never forget. At the age of 14, I was completely caught off guard and overwhelmed by the range of emotions I felt – confusion, stress, frustration, and more. I had no menstrual education and was completely unprepared to handle it. It’s important for young girls to be prepared for when they start their periods and to not be caught off guard. Children should never have to feel confused or clueless about what is happening when they experience their first period.
Menstrual education is an important subject. It is imperative that youngsters understand what periods are, how they occur, why they occur when they occur, and what to do if they occur. It is the obligation and responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are well-educated both before and after their first menstruation cycle.
In India, periods are often stigmatized and surrounded by taboos, leading to a lack of open discussion about the topic in many parts of the country. In the past, women who experienced their periods were often isolated and banned from touching certain items or participating in certain activities, such as entering the kitchen or handling clothes, due to the belief that they were “dirty” or “impure” during this time. This practice is still followed in some households in India today.
Some studies suggest that around 71% of the girls in India do not know about menstruation and menstrual health until they get their first period. According to UNESCO, as many as 23 M girls in India stop their education once they start experiencing their periods. These numbers are alarming, as menstruation is a very natural biological process that should not prevent girls from receiving basic education.
It is vital to recognize menstrual education’s importance and break the myths, taboos, and stigmas surrounding menstruation. There are several ways in which parents and educators can support children in understanding and managing their period cycles. Listed here are 5 ways to help.