Menarche Celebration:What They Are And Why We Should Adopt Them

April 26, 2016

In recent years, the idea of celebrating menarche, or a girl's first period, is gaining a bit of attention. While this isn't new within the scope of human history (a number of indigenous groups traditionally perform ceremonies to mark the event), the idea has never really been a part of mainstream Western culture. So why are some people trying to introduce it?

 

 

Some mothers want their daughters to associate their coming of age with positive experiences, rather than the traditionally negative ones. Think about it. How many times have you heard our menstrual cycles being called “the curse?” When given a negative image of menstruation, or even a neutral one, girls probably won't find their menarche a reason to celebrate.

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But, should they?

 

It may be difficult for most women to think of how being inducted into the world of cramps, bloating, mood swings, and an uncontrollable flow of blood could ever be seen as a good thing. But how much of that perception is based on our own introduction to menstruation? Each generation has seen major improvements in the way periods are managed; improved feminine hygiene products, specialized pain killers, and the birth control pill have all contributed to making periods more comfortable and less disruptive to women. And yet, our image of old Aunt Flo seems to have remained more or less the same. Is it possible that portraying the event as a rite of passage could lead to better feelings about having a period?

 

Ideas for menarche parties are pretty varied, ranging from a celebration that's similar to a birthday party, all the way to elaborate, symbol-laden ceremonies attended by all of the girl's female relatives, who pass on their knowledge and material gifts. While one can imaging some girls feeling embarrassed at this kind of attention, it's probably the mothers who'll feel the most awkward in this new situation.

 

Every woman's introduction to menstruation is different. Many learned about it in grade school through health classes, and many more were told by their mothers what to expect. In the past, both of these situations could be uncomfortable, if not downright stressful. It seems that most women were told about this new event in either a negative or neutral tone, with a fortunate few having been told that menarche is something to look forward to.

 

So how can a mother who didn't have a positive introduction to womanhood create a better experience for her daughter?

 

  • Make a list of what you wish you'd been told.

Try to keep it mostly positive, but don't leave out vital and truthful information.

 

  • Talk to your daughter.

Ask her how she'd like to celebrate her menarche. Leave “if” out of the question. Present it as a joyous occasion, and leave it largely up to her who will attend and what they'll do.

 

  • Mark it with a gift.

When creating positive associations, it's helpful to give your daughter a symbol of her ascent into womanhood. Something that reflects her new level of maturity such as a grown-up piece of jewelry, a family heirloom, or something as simple as an adult stationery set can be a very touching introduction into the circle of women.

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Menarche parties are another step toward demystifying and de-stigmatizing menstruation, as well as welcoming girls into the next chapter of their lives.

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