Period. The End.

I taught my daughter how to use a tampon tonight. A pad too.

She might be mine

Not because she needs to know these things at five-years old, but because I’m currently in the midst of my last menstrual cycle and I needed to show her, while I could.

I have explained periods to her and her brother before, but this time was different. It was just her and I upstairs in my room and master bath, and I knew our time was short.

So when she asked what I was doing, unwrapping my tampon, I had her come over to see. We’re the kind of family that isn’t very modest. I usually leave the door open when in the bathroom, I mean the  kids have been following me in there since they could toddle and there is really nothing to hide. That’s just how this family rolls.

So there we were, doing what women do. Me knowing full well she may or may not remember this lesson when her time comes and knowing I would give it to her again, differently, in time. Me wondering if I was doing this too much for my own benefit. Wondering if I was putting her through some odd symbolic performance so I know I did it. So I know, years from now, we had this ritual together.

But what can it hurt…a mother teaching her daughter what is to come, what will be…and was has been.


  1. I had to chuckle because the first time I ever saw a Tampax tampon, I was around 11 years old and my dad was using one to refinish a wooden box. He was dipping it in stain and then carefully applying it. I asked him what it was and he hemmed and hawed and finally told me. Then he said it worked very well for his purposes with that particular staining project.

    That was MY immediate connection. I am wondering if this little lesson of yours will show up during “share” time at school?
    .-= Kimberli´s last blog ..Hebrew School =-.

  2. Kudo’s to you. My mom had a hysterectomy at 24. I was 5 or 6. But she did the same thing. I remember it to this day. It was her reproductive cycle ending permanently, and hopefully giving me a memory so that when mine began I would have this moment with her.

    Tonight, knowing I won’t be having daughters of my own to share this experience with, I weep with you. It’s something I will miss out on, but will cherish this post and keep it close to my heart.

  3. txvoodoo says:

    FWIW, having had me late in life, my mom was past menopause by the time I started menstruating. We managed ok WRT to this. Weirdly, her younger sister couldn’t believe she “let” me use a tampon – she still thought it was for non-virgins (and she was over 40!!).

    I know you’re in mourning, and worried – I just wish I could let you get a glimpse inside my head so you can realize that this DOESN’T negate you being a woman, a mom, or anything else you’ve been up until now. I know you’ll come to this understanding on your own – I just wish I could lessen your pain.

  4. She’ll remember.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Shock in a box =-.

  5. ToriOreo says:

    You’re a great mom to show her! My mom had a hysterectomy when I was 7 & when my period rolled around I was too terrified of tampons to try! It’s not like she was able to show me either, really. But one day when I was 14 she talked me through getting it in properly. She forgot to talk about taking it out & I was convinced I had a tampon stuck in me for life because I couldn’t tug it out, try as I might! She had to do it, and I know it was hard for her because she no longer had a period, but the entire experience is one of my most memorable with her. For that I’m grateful. And I’m sure your daughter will be too!!

    Don’t feel down, you’re still a kick ass mother-with, or without a uterus!

  6. I… didn’t do this. Now I wish I had. You are an awesome mom, Erin.
    .-= Cyndy´s last blog ..Censorship =-.

  7. I don’t think you were “putting her through” anything – sounds like a very natural thing at your house and I’m glad you had the chance to have that moment with your daughter.

    My daughters are 12 and 9, so this whole subject is on my mind lately. We too have an open door kinda house – it will be interesting to see how long the kids are into that!

    Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Heather Mundell´s last blog ..From “The Trenches” – A List of Sandwich Generation Blogs =-.

  8. txvoodoo says:

    @Cyndy – you still can, really. If you can still have sex, you can still demonstrate it. Might need a bit of KY….

    I still think the best thing my mom COULD have done, and didn’t, was to validate that, yes, cramps SUCK and no, they’re not all in my head. I felt like a freak for my cramps.

  9. You’re such an awesome mom, Erin.

  10. Just this weekend I took my 3 year old daughter into the bathroom with me while we were at a carnival & I had to change my tampon with her interested little eyes peering on. It’s something that we have to do every month & is such a regular part of our life. It was a little weird, but to me, SO much better than the freaky book my mom handed me when I was getting to the age where I might need it. My mom was too embarrassed to even talk about it. I try not to be that way, because I don’t want my daughter to be ashamed of that part (or any part) of being a woman.

  11. I think it’s good you gave the demonstration although she will surely not remember it when the time comes. But there’s no reason you can’t demonstrate again when the time is right. With my daughter, I had to actually insert the tampon – she was too scared. THAT I wasn’t prepared for, but hey, we got through it.
    .-= Pop and Ice´s last blog ..Six Years- No Pictures on the Walls =-.

  12. Wow, so poignant I wept.

    What a beautiful moment and generous of you.
    .-= GreenInOC´s last blog ..Hate is NOT Constitutional in California – Take That Mormon Church! =-.

  13. I know exactly what you mean. Exactly. And we’re the same kind of family. Warms my heart to know other people do these kinds of demonstrations with their young daughters and sons. 🙂
    .-= Alicia´s last blog ..I Think Griffon Just Potty Trained Himself =-.

  14. I would have been glad to have that with my mom. She went through menopause when I was seven, and she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

    I remember seeing her box of tampons on the back of the toilet from time to time (OB’s), but then they just disappeared. I wish that we had talked about it right then.

    You’re a good mama, Erin.
    .-= marty´s last blog ..Glass houses and logs in your eyes =-.

  15. our family is pretty open, too & my kids have all asked about it & the girls, especially, have been interested. the big girls are 8 & we’ll have to do this some day soonish. you did it for both of you, erin. and i think that’s beautiful.
    .-= mommymae´s last blog pre-blogher post 2010! =-.

  16. I rarely manage to lock my kids out of the bathroom, so much like yours, there’s not much they haven’t seen. I think this was a really wonderful thing to do. I wish my mother had been comfortable talking to me about things like menstruation when I was a girl. I always got the feeling she was either a) embarassed and b) irritated. I’ve been talking to my 8 year old daughter about puberty and periods. Not sure she cares yet, but I want to lay the foundation that it is easy and natural to talk openly about these issues. Hope it sticks.
    .-= Barnmaven´s last blog ..Cheap =-.

  17. You did the absolute right thing. She will remember. She will remember, she will. Good job Mommy!

  18. If it feels right, it is right. The way our heart leads is often the best direction, and our overthinking heads just tend to get in the way.

    Sending you strength.
    .-= kelly @kellynaturally´s last blog ..Missing Things =-.

  19. Sometimes I think horrible things happen so we can write beautiful posts. That’s probably too blog-centric of me, but still, it gets me through the tough times. I hope you can be proud of your wonderful writing, even though what you’re writing about kind of sucks to deal with. 🙁
    .-= Lara´s last blog ..I Should Probably Introduce Myself =-.

  20. i love that you did it.

  21. I started explaining early. I had my first period at 10 and so did my now-12 year old. My current 10 year old “endured” the talks with her sister.
    Ha, I remember my younger brother coming out of the bathroom when he was around 5 with a pad, one of the pads with the loooong strips on the end, one of the pads that needed a belt before they came up with the stick on kind, wrapped around his skinned knee.

  22. My mom was dying from breast cancer that had metastasized throughout her body and there were things she wanted to accomplish before her life ended. One of those things was to be the one to have The Talk with me and my sister. This was in the late 60s before kids knew so much, before sex was front and center, and well…EVERYWHERE. I was eight.

    I still remember sitting on our oh-so-groovy sofa, me, incredulous from what she had described. I asked lots of questions and exasperated, she finally blurted, “I’M NOT GONNA DRAW YOU PICTURES!”

    To this day, it’s one of my few concrete memories of Mama and it brings a “knowing” smile every time I think about it.

    Of course, your story is very different, but I wanted to share my story to tell you that I’m CERTAIN your daughter will remember (and probably one day blog about it 😉 ).

    Oh, and it ticks me off that after giving birth to THREE BABIES, I’m still modest! When they were young, with intention, I had an open door policy (showers, bathroom, whatever). I was so modest growing up I wanted them to be comfortable otherwise; but then THEY started asking for privacy, one by one. Which is SO me (but I didn’t teach it). Funny. To some degree, we “are” who we “are” :).
    .-= Robin ~ PENSIEVE´s last blog ..The generous- very-kind gift =-.

  23. I taught my daughter how to use a tampon last week too.

    I must have been thinking about you guys. Or maybe it was a Von Motorhead radar love kind of thing.
    .-= Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah´s last blog ..Non Sequitur =-.

  24. Why is this so amazing? Watching your mom shoving things up there?

  25. I still occasionally come across the odd tampon or pad in a drawer or closet, and I find myself strangely sentimental when this happens, for that old body before my hysterectomy. I don’t miss the actual experience of periods, though. I had phantom menstrual cramps for several months afterwards, and thought it the most unfair thing.
    .-= schmutzie ´s last blog ..A Post-BlogHer Visit to the Museum of Modern Art- Which Was Healing With a Side of Aggravation- Thanks to Yoko Ono =-.

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