I didn’t plan on having “the talk” with our daughter, Bella, quite yet. She’s only 9 ½. But, a few weeks ago when we were at grandma’s house, she showed me the books she had been looking at—Where Did I come From?, by Peter Mayle and The Girls Body Book: Everything You Need to Know for Growing up YOU, by Kelli Dunham. She was curious and a little embarrassed, but she wanted to bring one of the books home.
Is it already time to talk about this?
It’s all over the news that puberty is starting at a younger age than ever before. Bella’s body is starting to change and she’s genetically predisposed to get her period at a younger age than most girls do. My mom started her period when she was ten, and I wasn’t much older than that when I got mine.
My mom says she talked to me about menstrual cycles well before I had my first period, but I don’t remember it that way. The day I got my first period, I remember running to the bathroom in tears thinking I was dying because I had no idea what was happening to me. Thankfully, one of my friends told me what was really going on.
I didn’t want my daughter to go through that. It was time to talk to Bella about getting her period. I told her that it is completely normal and natural—it happens to every girl. She seemed interested and calm.
She started asking questions…
What are ovaries?
Why does your body do that once a month?
What are the eggs for?
What if the eggs don’t leave your body?
How does that happen?
What do you mean?
And then one thing led to another…
How do you make a baby? How do the egg and sperm get together?
Hmm. I paused wondering how far to go with this conversation. She seemed mentally and emotionally ready to talk so I told her the truth matter-of-factly.
Her eyes widened, and she said, “Oh”.
She didn’t seem traumatized at all. In fact, she started asking more questions that kind of made me want to giggle.
How old do you need to be to have kids?
How old are people when they get married?
When do people start dating?
It all felt so right that I have no regrets about the way our conversation went. I don’t think this is one of those things where I can say to myself, “Okay. Glad that’s over—now we don’t need to talk about that again.”
This will be an ongoing age-appropriate conversation that natural progresses to sharing more information about body development and relationships. I want to keep the door of communication wide open so that she feels comfortable talking with me about this. I plan to talk about this repeatedly because she may forget part of what I said, it’s important information to know, it’s a natural part of life, and there is no better place for children to learn about sexuality than from their parents.
I’m just glad I don’t have to talk to her about dating any time soon!