My baby feels like a freak.
My 10-year-old, little peanut, sweetest girl in the world, feels like a freak.
And for now, all I can do is listen to her cries, and assure her that one day all of her peers will be bleeding from their vaginas too. But for now, she’s the first in her class, and she feels like a freak.
Some change feels natural. Like from being held in a womb, to in arms, to sitting up, to crawling, to walking, to running. And some change feels abusive and unnecessary, like bleeding for days from your private area, every month, in order to be able to have babies in 20 years…. Like really?
She and I had different experiences. I was 13 and one of the last of my friends to get their periods. I was eager for puberty. I had a book called “What’s Happening To My Body: A Book For Girls”. I studied the pictures to make sure my boobs and pubes were developing on schedule, and they were not. My best friend had C cups, and I was still in training. I longed for my period, and for the rest of puberty, and my baby girl just wants to slow down.
“Mommy went through it, every auntie and grandma you got went through this too.” As her tears run down her little face, it seems as though my attempts at normalizing this phenomenon are futile.
But she wants to talk about it. And watch youtube videos. And she wants to hear stories. For that, I am grateful. I didn’t want to talk about things when I was her age and I built bad habits of keeping thoughts and fears to myself from early on. She’s not like me in that way. Her ability to talk things through and ask questions that are on her mind will help her manage this and all other changes she experiences.
When she was 3 years old and in a very strict, Catholic preschool, her biggest challenge was talking too much. One day a teacher from the school, pulled her aside and told her that speaking is her gift. Just like the old saying goes, I don’t remember that teachers name but I remember how she made us feel: anointed and special. So my daughter is using her gift to get through this time, and I hope she will remain whole and better for it.
This Saturday, we’ve invited some of our tribe members to come to our home for the purpose of welcoming my little one into womanhood; a “period party” if you will. This will be a time for love, support, and sharing. We’ve all felt freakish for one thing or another. Let’s talk about it, laugh about it, cry about it and normalize the fuck out of feeling like a freak.
I’m confident that she will be ok. We’re all ok with bleeding after a while. And she’ll get better about remembering to wrap things up and throw things away with practice. As time goes on, it will feel less and less “weird” and weird will turn into normal before we know it.
But for now, my baby feels like a freak.