30 Apr The Period Fairy
Research shows that if a young girl gets a positive response to her first period it will impact her lifelong relationship with her body image, for the better.
Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve struggled all my life with my perception of my body, and I’m sure that if my family had known how important this landmark day was in my development they would have handled it differently, but things were different in the 80s.
At 15 and a bit, I was the last of my friends to start my period. When the day came – I think it was a Saturday afternoon in the summer of 1985 – I was home alone (probably sulking) when I saw blood for the first time in my pants. With no mum or sister around, it was me, a box of tampons and a baffling anatomical leaflet on pale blue paper. I gave up and stuck a brick-sized pad into my gusset.
My dad was the first one home that afternoon, and when I told him I’d started my period he very generously gave me £50 and told me to get rid of my DMs and buy some ladies shoes, now I was a lady – classic avoidance and bribery tactic. After that, I don’t remember. But I did spend the next thirty years hating my body and seeing my period as something negative and inconvenient that crept up on my every month.
That’s why I want to encourage you to introduce The Period Fairy when you start to have the conversation with the little girls in your life about their periods and the big changes that will bring. In America, it is common practice to have a party to celebrate a girl getting her period. We’ve adopted Halloween and Black Friday from them, why haven’t we adopted the Period Fairy too?!
You don’t have to throw a party, just mark the occasion with something positive and encourage the whole family to do the same. It could be a beauty treatment, a shopping trip, tickets to a concert, a special meal, whatever it is your little girl will cherish and remember as a celebration of this hugely important day in her life.
The Period Fairy is The Tooth Fairy’s big sister, and she’s got a lot more power. If she’d come to visit me in 1985 and taken me to have my legs waxed like I so desperately wanted rather than a new pair of shoes, who knows how my relationship with my body would have developed over the years.
I now know that my period and my cycle are a gift. They are intrinsically part of me, a powerful tool to help me understand the person I am and how I can use them to take control of my mental and physical wellbeing.
Periods shouldn’t be a taboo subject or have a negative connotation, they shouldn’t be suppressed or dreaded, but celebrated and appreciated. Let’s do what we can to empower the little girls in our lives to understand what their periods are, to harness the powerful insights they will bring and ultimately to love their bodies and love themselves.