I’m a bit behind the times. I don’t watch the news of read anything except the local independent paper. I find out from the kids at school and other people I chat with about what’s going on in the world. I also study social work and social policy. But this – I totally missed it!
I was busy organising Radiant Woman last year and have been getting ready again for August this year. And I’ve been finishing my Masters, which has included researching girls’ Rites of Passage. And it’s through this research that I’ve started discovering the social impacts of menstruation for girls. Now did you cringe a little when you read that? Did you inwardly groan and say, “menstruation – do we really need to talk about it openly???” When I spoke with the CEO of the Rites of Passage Institute about what I’ve been discovering in my research about girls’ Rites of Passage and mentioned that including something about menstruation was an important part of it – that was pretty much his reaction.
And sometimes I’m conflicted too – I know it’s a taboo topic and most teenage girls aren’t going to get excited about talking about it. So, on the Radiant Woman website we don’t mention it much. It's not even a main focus of the retreat. The girls at Radiant Woman are 14 -1 7 years old so in most cases several years past the onset of menstruation (menarche). There are other programs running in Australia that are specifically about celebrating this at a younger age (find out more HERE). My initial training into Rites of Passage work and facilitation included absolutely nothing about this – because it was run by men who only had experience working with boys.
Luckily last year I teamed with another amazing youth mentor, Gabrielle Goldklang, and a nutrition and hormonal health specialist, Thalia Kate – and we included one session about physical health and nutrition related specifically to menstrual health. The girls cringed a bit when we first introduced the session, but being in a group where we were sharing openly and inviting them to do the same made it much more comfortable for them. And through my research this year I've realised that although it might be taboo and it might even put some people off - it's SOOOOO important to include.
You can read more about what makes menstruation such an important issue for teenage girls to be comfortably in THIS BLOG.
This year at Radiant Woman Gabrielle will run a similar session to last year about menstruation and menstrual health. And we will incorporate some other activities that help the girls to be in touch with the different needs and energy of their bodies at different times in their cycle.
We also are privileged to have Cherie Levy joining us this year who is a registered psychologist and bush adventure therapist. As well as this she has spent a significant amount of time embodying her own cyclic awareness and facilitating processes to help both girls and women do the same. She is passionate about menarche as a time of celebration and joy. It’s what has given life to all of us, including you and including your children.
In many countries around the world, the shame and taboo around menstruation is the reason girls miss out on education or are deemed unfit for political leadership. It’s not a minor problem.
What can you do to support your daughter to have a positive relationship with her body? Talk about it - apparently everyone else!! I’ve just found out that 2015 WAS THE YEAR OF THE PERIOD!!! Am I the only one who missed this?
Just in case you missed it too – here’s a great article “13 Reasons 2015 Was The Year Of The Period”
Has your daughter engaged in the conversation around this on social media? Do girls at her school get teased or shamed about their periods? Would she feel comfortable to ask for support if she was experiencing pain or discomfort at school due to her period?
It’s soooo important to have these conversations. What was your experience of menarche like? Have you shared this story with your daughter?
Teenagers love hearing our stories and learn so much more from stories than from advice giving or lecturing.
At Radiant Woman we share loads of stories - about menstruation, grief, parental relationships and family history, romantic relationships, sex, drugs and alcohol, successes and failures, challenges, and more. And then we talk about hopes and visions for the future – about what kind of woman she wants to be one day. We celebrate her gifts and strengths so she feels appreciated and valued. And then we send her home with a new perspective on life, on womanhood, and on herself.
Please join us. Spaces are limited and will fill.
CLICK HERE for more information and to book now.