Periods/Menstruation For The Single Dad

I thought this might be a very useful post, though I have to admit I’m not a parent nor someone who has had to raise a child with no female support. Before embarking on this post, I have done my research as well as talk to fellow single-fathers, including one of my gay male friends who has adopted a young girl. At some point or another, most of these men will have to explain the intricacies of menstruation to their little (but growing) girl. With menarche beginning at an earlier age than ever before, these men will be challenged ever so much with handling their daughter(s) period, particularly when their daughter is too young to even fully grasp the concept. Also, never having periods ourselves, it only makes our job that much harder and not even able to have experienced what periods feel like. Nevertheless, not having the experience, doesn’t mean we still can’t be prepared. Rather than concentrate this post on saying, “What is the wrong action to take” or “How to do it the right way” I hope this entry will provide some tidbits on how I would feel if I were stuck in such a situation. Every person is different so while one method may work for one, others may not. With the age of which girls are starting their periods, it might be hard for us now to rely on schools to provide the education. In our province, the revised Sexual Education curriculum was dropped due to objections from religious groups (don’t even get me started on this), so you’re much better off as a parent (or parents) to provide your own and proper education.

Part of making your own job easier as a father having to talk to your daughter about menstruation is to foster a close enough relationship with her where she feels comfortable talking to you about it. This type of relationship is not something that builds overnight, but something that must start from day one with your child. I understand in situations where a man has suddenly lost his female companion that he would not have thought about having the bear the responsibilities of a single dad, but certainly, why would you not want to build a strong relationship with your own daughter anyways? It is my hope that should I have a daughter(s), that they will not only feel comfortable talking about their bodies and menstrual health with their mom, but also myself. Being a part of their well-being from birth will stress to them that daddy is also available to talk just because we have not experienced the same thing. I understand some people will argue that as a male who has never experienced menstruation, what place would we have to be a part of educating a female on menstruation… but just because you’ve never been shot before, doesn’t mean you don’t know a bullet is painful (that comparison wasn’t meant to denote the relationship between a gunshot wound to menstruation, that was strictly a coincidence).

The next point is about educating yourself. Whether you had a female partner or not at some point in your life, menstruation may still be a very abstract thing for you. With the world of the internet, you no longer had to be like me, hide in the corner of a library and read up on the female body and menstruation and turn red as people walked past me. There are plenty of resource articles (many which are more professionally written than this) on menstruation which you can learn from. Before you can really make your little girl feel comfortable expressing her own worries to you, you must at least know a bit about her body as well! If you show discomfort, it will only convey to her that her body is something to be shameful over and that a natural bodily function like menstruation is not something “normal”. I’m sure that as a single father, there must be at least some sort of female support you may have, friends, family or whatnot who you can turn to for help should you want some anecdotal knowledge. I’m also sure a medical practitioner would also be able to assist should you not be capable of assisting your daughter fully.

Periods aren’t a curse nor something “bad” – and periods happen for a reason. One of the single dads I talked to told me that when his daughter grows up, he’ll try to persuade her into “getting rid of her period” either by surgery or through hormonal control. I was really taken aback by this because it almost seemed like because he didn’t want to deal with his daughter’s period that he wanted to simply make it a non-issue. Something also seemed unusual that he would be making such an important decision on behalf of his daughter, even though it isn’t like she has a disability where she wouldn’t otherwise be able to make an informed decision. Getting rid of menstruation is a very big thing and I think it should be something up to the girl to decide on, unless she’s incapable of doing so. The start of your daughter’s period is something to be happy about, she’s becoming a grown woman and it indeed provides an extra opportunity for father-daughter bonding. Yes, it might come with some pains and tears, but you should always have an open arm and receptive ears for her to come to in time of need. Don’t forget that as uncomfortable as you may be having to do the “period-talk” that it’s only twice as bad for her.

Menstrual education should start young to build comfort and knowledge. I’m not necessarily saying to remove all childhood carefree life, but certainly a slow introduction of reproductive health might help sooth the way to discussing menstruation. In fact, one thing I’d really take advantage of is a “doctor, dad and daughter” talk at a regular visit. With the presence of a medical professional, it will ensure accurate knowledge and it will show that daddy is both learning so that he can teach and be comfortable with menstrual talk. Much of the male disgust behind menstruation stems from generations of misinformation and misunderstanding. Would we rather our future generations live in ignorance or in knowledge?

Parenting is a very difficult thing and though I am not yet a parent, I have already seen many friends and family alike who have sent the fear of parenthood through my spine. One day, I will meet parenthood with both anxiousness and fear, for it is an opportunity to grow, learn and teach all at the same time. I know that teaching children is beyond what I can comprehend right now. In my opinion, I would try to teach my children about sexual education through age-appropriate means (which would vary between child-to-child, some are more knowledge/mature than others). To scare a child into knowing something they’re not prepared for would only cause terror and ruin a carefree childhood. At the same time, not preparing them means they will meet fear face-to-face. Even if I did not go into details about menstruation with my daughter, I would definitely make her aware that should she begin menses, that she should let me or mom know and that ‘bleeding’ from her vagina is not a sign of injury. As with most guys, we consider bleeding to be a source of injury and pain (which is not ALWAYS the case with menstruation), therefore it already makes a “bad association” in our minds. I want to convey to the guys out there that menstruation, while resembling a cut, is nothing even close to it. I actually find that blood from injuries tend to cause more fear and disgust than menstruation does… or rather, I should correct myself and say that I don’t fear or feel disgusted at menstruation at all, but then that’s just me 😆

To be honest, it’s hard to have “sex talk” with your child, let alone something so very intimate such as menstruation. As a single-father, it becomes even harder as a result of the lack of female support. However, know that you are not alone and if you do a simple Google search, there are MANY men out there who are all brave like you to raise a daughter (or even daughters) on your own! Your daughter might even feel embarrassed to talk to you about it, so you must be receptive and at times if you feel she might already have had her period, try to strike up a conversation about it. Your daughter might be more apt to answer “yes I did get my period” than to have to bring the topic up herself.  Of course you don’t want to be the dad that hounds her to see if and when she got her period, but then you also want to ensure the channels of communication are available and that if she’s not going to approach you, that there are telltale signs of menstruation. Unless she’s hiding her disposed feminine hygiene products (including wrappers, applicators, etc), there will usually be some noticeable evidence. If you don’t want to be upfront with your approach of asking her, a simple trip to the supermarket with her could be an opportunity to walk down the feminine hygiene aisle casually and inquire as to whether she needs anything. Sometimes the best conversation is no conversation, if she does need something and she doesn’t look like she’s in the mood to talk, just let her place what she needs in the cart/basket and off you go!

Other than a leak the next embarrassing thing might just be having to purchase your own feminine hygiene supplies. When I asked most of my girls, they sometimes dread buying pads and tampons more than even bleeding through panties! Why? Because at least you can hide leaks, you can’t hide such obvious purchases! For most of my girls, I quelled those fears pretty fast, either with them or without. I have always been around for (well at least most) my girls and I typically will go out and buy their feminine hygiene supplies before/during their period. They were always able to rely on me as an “older brother” or even my bebe lets me buy her stuff for her. With that said, me buying their stuff has actually helped them get over the fear, because hell, if I’m a guy and buying “this stuff” – wouldn’t it be even more natural for a girl to be buying it? Likewise, as a father, buying your daughter’s feminine hygiene products is an essential demonstration to her. First of all, there should be at all times available feminine hygiene supplies in the house AND she needs to know where they are (better yet, even know how to use it). Keeping some in multiple places might be beneficial, in her room, in the bathroom and perhaps in a closet of some sort. Heck, sometimes removing the discreteness of these products in the bathroom help encourage openness. I have been to some of my friends house where they OPENLY have pads or tampons in the bathroom. Depending on how comfortable your daughter is with discussing her menstrual cycle with you, it might even be possible to encourage her to try various brands and types of protection. Again, the internet is a great resource and having some knowledge on these products (such as the differences between pads/tampons/liners, wings/no wings, and proper usage) will truly help her.

Don’t forget, buying feminine hygiene products for your daughter is something to be proud of and that any loving father would do. You’d be surprized how many guys do it and if you actually spend a day in a supermarket, you’re likely to see quite a very occurrences of it. A lot of the time, we just sometimes don’t notice these things and pretend it doesn’t happen, but in reality, I’ve seen many guys buy these items before on their own. The great thing about being a guy and buying feminine hygiene products is that people will never assume it’s for you! So what’s there to be ashamed of right?!

I know I often put a lot of emphasis on disposable products and that’s truly unfair. However, I think certainly disposable pads and tampons are where most women start off anyways. Once your daughter becomes accustomed with taking care of her own body and handling her menstrual cycle, another great option for those who want to penny-pinch is to consider reusable products. Not only do you save a lot of money ($$$), it is also a great way to teach your daughter to become “in-tune” with herself, be eco-friendly and encourage great bodily health. If you’ve never thought of how much you (and your daughter) could really be saving, consider taking a look at this great chart provided by Lunapads (http://lunapads.com/why-switch#cost-savings). In my own opinion, I have found that many women who use reusable products often are much more open-minded about menstruation and female body/health.

For those who live in Canada or the US, you can also consider a great menstrual resource like Bepreparedperiod and particularly their store should you rather be able to purchase pads/tampons for your daughter online or even schedule recurring deliveries. If you or your daughter believes that tampons are going to be part of your menstrual repitroire, ensure that she is aware of the potential dangerous of tampon usage. It is both your responsibilities to ensure that proper usage knowledge is understood, particularly due to the potential of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), a deadly viral infection. You can read more about TSS and the realities of it at YouAreLoved. I see many forum posts of girls who ask, “How do I talk to my dad about my period?” so make sure you validate your daughter’s concerns as being valid and that you are always willing to listen. A person cannot know everything, so whether you have to turn to the internet, a friend, family member or even stranger (such as a nurse or doctor), your daughter’s well-being and health should be your top priority. There are times when we must set our own shyness or pride aside for our family!

After finishing this post, I realize that some of the information in here might be pertinent to any father, not just single-dads. Nevertheless, this is hardly the exhaustive resource and all the possible angles I could cover, but then there are only so many hours in a day 😛 Anyone who needs more information, please feel free to comment or send me an IM/Email. I am also available on twitter (though it’s publicly viewable so if discussing menstruation is not comfortable for you, you may not want to contact me through twitter) @ http://twitter.com/MenMenstruation

Thanks for reading and don’t forget that your daughter will thank you and love you forever for which you have done for her!

Advertisements

About Prexus Swyftwynd

Probably not a good idea for you to know anything about me....

Posted on December 4, 2011, in Periodtastic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. this is still the collest website ever

  2. This is really cool, no one ever talks about these things (which only makes it worse, turns it into a taboo).
    If you’re a frightened single dad, imagine what your little girl must be going through..she’s probably freaking out and could use the support

    • John Paul Sundeen

      I agree more guys should be understanding I also feel a women is at her sexest when the crimsion tide comes, you know her period what do you think?also there is grate menstation art at http://www.devantart.com http://www.etsy.com has some super cool period advertizing panties
      in my openion thse would be the sexest panties in the panty drawer also there is grate pics at http://www.bing.com cheeck bing images under period blood. please

  3. This article disturbs me on three levels:
    1)Why was this article so long, is it that important to discuss the inclusion of dad into a girl’s personal world of girlness?
    2)Would we think it is okay for a single mom to need the so called “Bonding ” with her son in talking with him about his erections and his nocturnal emissions?
    3)Girls really do want and need privacy from dad when they go through puberty and instead of scolding females and trying to brainwash them into allowing dad inclusion, why not advise dad to recognize and embrace his daughter’s valid need to have privacy at this time. He can then respect her as a femalea and guide her to another trusted female if mom is not alive or of sound mind and body.

    There is a subtle movement in this country to diminish and throw away a mom’s like gender role in helping her daughter through puberty. It’s natural.That is why we have like gender parents. There is something sinister going on in this country, about the way we continue to put dad/husband in front of so many things female. Please don’t be a part of this unfair campaign. I have yet to see any articles or forums that work as hard to put moms in the helm of their sons’ puberty where penises, erections, foreskin, nocturnal emisions are concerned. Men want us females to leave them alone, stop nagging them so much and want to spend time with their buddies, then respect our need for autonomy with our girl issues and stay out of the female territory.

    • John Paul Sundeen

      I can understand how you feel but there are some women who are open and fank about it, I however agree with you on the privise matter but we men are not mind readers so if we ask please don’t murder us over a period and a simple securty cheeck the only reason we men do that is because when some one realy loves some one they take care of all of there health
      of all of there anatomy. frankly as bunt as this may sound I agree with privise I know you are
      only expressing your frustration that a side i read this and i say I find it’t to be a bet sexest never the less I will stell pray for all ladies even if i get myrtered for it I find the beauty of it as the milestone of womenhood as for the matter of male puberty not open on line thats only because people have not contemplated it the beauty of a matter is only as refelected by the soul of the person if the persons peseption of a matter is reflected by others thats whats absorbed never the less free will dictates. the ramification of it even if dupicity has its sudeltys by the way if you are vexed by a cercumcolsion of a idiosincase the cerebraL thing
      is to evade from the insinuated unorthedox cercumcolsion.

  4. Hey Dads!

    You have to check out the brand new MUST-HAVE period item for all girls! They are Period PantEEZ and you can get them at http://www.periodpanteez.com! Period PantEEZ’ website is also the best website for Dads, period! You can go straight to the ‘for dads’ link here : http://www.periodpanteez.com/the_talk_for_dads.php

    A female medical professional invented them, 10% of all of their profits goes to women’s charities, and they are even made in the USA! Period Panteez are composed of three layers of excellent quality fabric, all with their own purposes. They are heavenly comfy and have a built in padded layer for extra protection. They save sheets, bedding, clothing, and prevent accidents, worry, and humiliation!

    I commend you all for seeking knowledge so that you can provide the support and understanding that your precious little girl needs as she matures into a young lady!

    Blessings!

    • thank you so much for this encorage ment it is just to bad there not that many helping boys with there maturity in the prosses of puberty ladies we need the support so please ask us about our maturity threw puberty to belive it are not beneth are ruff extereer we need the same understanding emtional support and awareness of our changes yes guys have changes contrere to populer believeing that we don’t Alyssa and all ladies out there believe it are not 100% Graffic talk abot period for some guys is good pellow talk ladies tryplease to feel the same for our milestone of manhood as some of us do your period the milestone of your womenhood . ps there should be a open part of this stie for youth but not blocked to dads and moms. I will try to eMAIL THAT TO THE MAKER OF THIS WEBSITE THAT ROCKS OUT LOUD OMG TTYL WNA BE BFF ALYSSA.

  5. I KNOW I AM ONE OF THOUES GUYS AND NO IDO NOT CAREWHAT OTHER MAY SAY PERIODS ROCK

  6. Will there be an article about the misses(female), in nocturnal emissions?

  7. See my understanding is, there should be no double standards as far as the genders is concerned. If you want us girls to allow our dads into our privacy period space, then we need to allow moms into the sons’ erection, nocturnal emission, premature ejaculation space. Is that okay with you all…. Of course. We must be fair and balanced.

    • John paul sundeen

      sorry ive been out for a wile here go folks your period fact of the weekRites Of Passage
      Getting your period is a sign of maturity or coming-of-age-a cause for celebration! In America, coming-of-age ceremonies are rare because many girls are raised to think that they should talk about their periods only in private. Recently, some American families have tried to change this by honoring a girl’s first period with a special dinner, a card of congratulations, or even a candlelit ceremony. But for hundreds of years, many cultures have publicly celebrated menstruation, acknowledging it as an important sign of female maturity and fertility-without which human life would come to an end!

      Native American Ceremonies
      Among the Navajo there is a coming-of-age ceremony called kinaalda. Young girls run footraces to show their strength. They also bake a huge cornmeal pudding for the whole community to taste. During the ceremony girls wear special clothing and arrange their hair to imitate the goddess Changing Woman.
      The Nootka Indians of the Pacific Northwest consider a girl’s first period a time to test her physical endurance. She is taken way out to sea and left there. She must then swim back to shore on her own, where she is greeted and cheered by the whole village.
      The Mescalero Apaches consider the female puberty ceremony a most important celebration in their tribe. Each year an eight-day event honors all girls who started their period that year. It begins with four days of feasting and dancing. Boy singers recount the tribe’s history with songs each night. A four-day private ceremony follows, in which the girls reflect on the changes in their bodies and their passage into womanhood.
      Australia
      Among the Aborigines of Australia, a girl is treated to the tradition of “love magic” when she gets her first period. The women of the tribe sing and teach her about the female powers and the physical changes that mark womanhood.

      Japan
      When a Japanese girl gets her first period, her family throws a big party. Family and friends are invited but are not told why they are celebrating. When the girl’s family brings out a tray bearing a decorated pear, a candied apple, or red-colored rice and beans, the secret reason for the party is revealed.

      Micronesia
      The tribe of Ulithi calls a girl’s rite of passage kufar. When a girl begins her first period, she must go to a menstrual house. She is joined by women of the village, who bathe her and recite magic spells. She will always return to the menstrual house during her period.

      Nigeria
      The Tiv tribe literally mark a girl at the time of her first period. Four lines are cut into her abdomen. The remaining scars represent her womanhood and are thought to make her more fertile.

      Sri Lanka
      When a girl gets her first period in Sri Lanka, the exact time and day are noted. An astrologer is consulted who predicts many things about the girl’s future based on the time and the alignment of the stars. The family then prepares their house for a ritual bathing, in which the women of the family wash the girl’s hair and scrub her all over. She then puts on new white clothes from her underwear to her shoes. Printed invitations are sent for a party where gifts and money are presented to the girl.

  8. Jean ( wildcat fan)

    Who care what other countries do. I don’t give a rat’s far how men have created boundary stomping practices against females and those females being so brainwashed, go along with this. Why in the world would a man want to know about any female’s period business, unless it is his wife. All other males do not have the right. Sorry to inform you that males have intruded in female’s spaces and most females do not like this practice.

    Sorry, but there are a lot of man made doctrines in the world that expose females private and intimate spaces, all while requiring females to reveal things that are personal and go along with practices that men invent. Why are there no traditions around the world that celebrate a boy’s first erection, first nocturnal emission, growth of penis, etc. you know why? Because males of the world keep their penis and testicle business private from broadcast, from exposure, and from discussion. Men do not allow women to intrude into their private spaces.

    We can’t even get men to go to the doctor and get genital exams, because they are so private with their nuts and wieners. All the while we make doctrines that tell women that they should tell their dad about their periods and that women who are against this are prudish and man hating, and trolls. Bull!! . We also tell the birthing women to let their dads and stepdads and FIL come into her private delivery space, while she is birthing and if she does not she is selfish. We have also tell those women who do not want to expose their breasts during breastfeeding and other times, that a breast is just a breast and “it’s no big deal”. To let your breasts be exposed. Another bulls——– notion from men. Do you all ever see men exposing their testicles?

    Yet and still women cannot get full female body healthcare and contraception. Go figure. All these man made rules are made and pushed by men and weak gullible females go along with this stuff. It makes me very disappointed in my female gender. I feel like women a have sold their dignity, self respect, and common sense, to men and men have stumped on it all, and threw them back at women

  9. I don’t have kids of my own. I did however help my sister who was often not in a position to help her daughters whenever this issue came up. I always just stressed that this was a natural function of their bodies, and if they needed supplies, I was always willing to run to the store.

    Four females in a house means picking up multiple packs of the product of choice. I made a point of asking them about the relative merits of A over B (brands), and just what their periods were like, in terms of intensity.

    To this day, as a divorced man living on his own, I keep a supply of pads in my bathroom, where they are convenient to any visiting female. It’s courtesy. I like to think it makes me a “cool” gentleman.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: