When to tell: Candid conversation on 'PADs' with my daughter

Namadi
Posted May 20, 2019 from Kenya

Ariana is my 7yr old daughter, very inquisitive and always asking questions.

Many times as many mothers may do, intentionally or otherwise, my daughter is always somehow around when I dress or undress from work or to work. I think she may have seen me a couple of times with a pad on my panty and may have wondered what it was and what it was doing there. So, one day as I was about to take a bath, this is when she was about 6yrs, Ariana followed me to the bathroom and I believe gathered all her confidence and finally asked. 'Mum, why do you put on pampers? (pampers are a form of diapers)', I chuckled for I thought it was funny, but then I sobered up and looked at her. Now, in my head a thousand things were racing, many questions. What do I tell her, the truth, half truth or fabricated truth. All this time Ariana's gaze was fixed on my face without blinking.

I sat at the edge of he bathtub, pulled her close to me and decided to tell her the truth in a gentle way. First I told her that what I was wearing was not really pampers, but a form of pampers called pads for adults. I told her when girls become big, a few things change in their body, e.g. their breast become big, then they have big hips and also some bloods comes out of their private parts. Now this blood is not bad, it shows you are a big girl and soon you will be a woman. Because of that blood, one day you can have children. So she asks, 'mum, where does the blood come from', I told her it comes from inside the body, and so that it does not dirty our clothes, mummy has to put on a pad to hold the blood from spilling out.

She looks at me, says 'ok' and runs off to go and play, just like that!

I was left still wondering, whether I did the right thing, did I say to much or not. Though one thing is for sure, out of the talk, I gained my daughter's trust since several intimate questions have been asked and answered candidly since then

This story was submitted in response to Menstruation Matters.

Comments 12

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Jill Langhus
May 20
May 20

Hi Namadi,

Thanks for sharing your story. Bravo! I'm impressed, and think judging by your daughter's response that you absolutely did the right thing. I would've loved it if I would've received this description, knowledge, love and attention on the subject. How was your first time?

Namadi
May 21
May 21

Jill, I also wish my first time would have been something close to my response to Ariana. But nooo!, my mother was a tough teacher who did not entertain 'foolish' question. We would get smacked for even asking for more salt in the food!. I haad to learn it all by myaelf. I was so scared because of the stories going around about mentruation and boys. I remember at some point my mother tthreatening me 'Namadi, dare I find any day standing next to a boy leave alone talking to one' she would ensure I was scared of anything called boys. Also I would hear stories like, íf you slept with a boy it would stop, or things like you are now MAMA. What of the boys laughing at you when you soil your dress, it was crazy Itell you

Jill Langhus
May 21
May 21

Yeah, well, as sorry as I am that you had that experience, she definitely taught you what not to do for your daughter:-) Yes, it doesn't sound healthy, dear. I'm glad you are teaching your daughter a better way.

Hope you're having a great day!

Tamarack Verrall
May 20
May 20

Hi Named,
What a lovely story. First because of how beautifully you answered your daughter's questions, but also because you had seen how innocently and curiously she came to you with questions, and how well you opened that road for more in the future.

Namadi
May 21
May 21

Tamarack,
I value the moments I spend with my daughter sharing secrets and the confidence she has sharing what's happening to her. I pray we continue like this. I never had such an opportunity with my mother. She was too busy raising us to have any time having 'nothing' discussions with me. Also, the fact that I was the first born, I had to grow up very fast

Lisbeth
May 20
May 20

Haha I can relate to your story. Its not easy with this curious girl. I remember one here also ask me " pls give me one to use+pad)". I was like its not for kids, when you become a big girl I will give one to you. She went like yaay. I was like seriously!
We all have to mastered courage. Thanks for sharing.

Namadi
May 21
May 21

So True Sis Salifu, you have to master the courage to be open and vulnerable to your daughters. Let them understand that you are not superhuman especially with tougher questions coming along e.g. why do you and daddy sleep together and you say no sleeping with boys, how did the baby enter your stomach etc

Lisbeth
May 21
May 21

Haha, these are tougher eii. :-)

Corine Milano
May 20
May 20

Thank you for sharing, Namadi! I love that your daughter was curious and that you answered her question in a truthful and age appropriate way - you were honest and truthful, prepared her for the future without rushing into too many details, AND more importantly, established yourself as a trusted source for future questions! Bravo. I hope your approach is taken by all moving forward!

Namadi
May 21
May 21

Thank you, Corrin,
I hope and pray that the advice will enrich her future and make her more courageous to ask more questions on anything

Dawn Arteaga
May 22
May 22

You DEFINITELY did the right thing! I have had the same conversation with my daughters many times - it seems they forget the information regularly (they are often barging in on me while I'm in the bathroom). When they were very little I would tell them that it's a way to clean out the house for the baby in case a baby wanted to come into my belly. Now that they are a little older they understand that if you have a uterus, your body will prepare space for a baby once you go through puberty. I completely agree that being open and straightforward about the facts is a very important way to build trust with our children and show they can always ask us any question on their mind without feeling embarrassed or nervous.

Hello, Named,

You did well in explaining menstruation. She is smart, and her “ok” meant your answer satisfied her curiosity. Congrats on that! It’s better to tell a child the truth rather tell them made up stories that would confuse them later on.

Thanks for sharinf!