When I talk to pre-pubescent girls this is one of the things they fear most about starting their periods: “What if I’m not at home?”
No matter how well you have prepared your daughter, the start of her bleeding almost always comes as quite a shock. Explain that it is quite normal for her to feel weepy, overwhelmed, and scared, as well as excited. Remind her that until now the sight of blood has usually indicated damage and pain – but in this case it is natural and healthy.
Make sure she understands what is happening in her body. Many girls imagine that the blood will come gushing out, so give her a realistic sense of how it trickles out. Give her DIY emergency tips on how to catch the blood with a rolled up wad of toilet paper so she knows she can cope even if she has nobody to turn to and no pads with her.
Discuss different scenarios with her to explore how she might handle it. What if she is at school, at a friend’s, at a club, with her Dad, or in town?
Think about what she might need to have in her school bag as a starter kit: a pad, spare knickers, an arnica, your mobile number, all safely zipped into a pencil case.
When do you begin to talk about these things – well ideally you always have at some level, and the discussions just deepen. If not then start now. “This is my bleeding time.” “No, it doesn’t hurt.” “One day you’ll start to bleed too.” “You can use this to catch the blood.”
The first bleed is so very special – do what you can to take the anxiety out of the anticipation of it.