No matter what medical problems or complications we may have, I’m sure every woman reading these words would agree that being a woman is a beautiful thing. There's nothing like it.
OK, here comes the “but.” But…for many individuals (including me), it has taken a while for us to gain that opinion about ourselves. Growing up, more than a few of us may have felt awkward, ugly, fat and the like. Remember how crass the boys were; lest we forget the remarks (mostly from jealousy or their own insecurity) from our female peers? Ah, insecurity, thy name is puberty. Speaking of which, let’s talk about puberty and what exactly goes on inside of girls at this age.
Puberty starts between the ages of 9-16. Our brains are responsible for kick starting the hormones in our bodies. It tells the pituitary gland to start making hormones. In turn, these hormones travel to the reproductive organs to communicate to these organs that it is now time to start making hormones of their own. The hormones in a young girl's ovaries signal breast growth. We all remember being sore and itchy up there until our breast actually came out. These same hormones get the body to manufacture fat. It’s the same fat which makes breasts the shape they are, make hips and buttocks round, and thighs shapely.
Hair starts to grow too. It takes hormones to start this process as well. This includes hair on the forearms, under the arms, legs, and pubic area. Then there’s the dreaded acne. Oh the horror stories I could tell you about that! It seems like every time I was up to take school pictures in Jr. High, I developed a big bump on my nose. Due to the altered body chemistry during this time (mostly due to hormones), many have oily skin. And boy did I ever!
Sexual Arousal and Menstruation
Parents don’t want to think about their babies being sexual beings, but hey, that’s the way we are made. Yes, your little girl will experience sexual arousal at this time. Be ready to talk about it. Give open, informative, and firm guidance. Don’t overreact about it, and as a result, your daughter won’t either. Be ready to say that, growing children such as she, are not ready to have sex – even if little Suzy down the street is already. Just because she has such feelings, does not mean it is OK to submit to them. It’s called making age appropriate choices. As a parent, you’d hope she’d make the same choices about the type of friends she chooses, drugs, and other moral issues. The example you set and guidance you give at this time will be priceless. Don’t ignore it. It won’t go away.
Do talk to your daughter about menstruation. Give her practical advice. What if she’s at school or out somewhere when it starts? How will she handle this problem? Remember when you were in school and some girl had the Carrie moment? That doesn’t have to happen; take precautions. First, talk about the menstrual cycle as if it is normal – because it is. It is just another cycle of the body that hormones are responsible for. Discuss as detailed as she wants or can handle at the time. When she grows up and is ready to have a baby of her own, she’ll be ever so grateful for this process.
And after you hold her baby, your grandchild, in your arms, you will be too.
For further reading on one writer’s appreciation for her femininity, please read the following article: