Little Big Girls

Little Big Girls is a documentary, by Hélène Choquette, National Film Board of Canada,  highlighting the phenomenon of early puberty in girls.

Phenomenon?

Yes!

To quote the documentary: “Girls are getting breasts 1 year earlier than 20 years ago.”  “No one knows why this is happening.  This is cause for action.”

This has been observed and studied by researchers who do not understand and cannot put their finger on why it’s happening.  This meets the definition of phenomenon.

So what’s the big deal? Girls have been entering puberty early, at age 9, for years.  My own mother-in-law experienced her first period at age 9 in 1936. So, this is nothing new, right?

Right.  And, WRONG!

Sure, it’s true that 20, 40, 80 years ago some girls entered puberty earlier than the norm. But, it was a rare occurrence.

Not so these days.

Today it’s not unusual to see signs of early puberty in girls age 7 – or younger.

A number of causes are suspected: could obesity and exposure to environmental contaminants, for instance, be to blame? The physical, psychological and psychosocial repercussions on young girls results in a disconnect between their physical and emotional maturity. Far from being a marginal issue, early-onset puberty is fast becoming a worldwide public health concern. (Read more.)

If the above quote was a bit much to grasp fully, consider the quotes below.  They were taken from the documentary – from the lips of young women who entered puberty early, who developed a woman’s body in 3rd and 4th grades and their struggle to find normal in a body they didn’t understand or want.

You realize you have to grow up.  There’s nothing you can do.

…like a stroke of bad luck…too soon…wasn’t ready yet…psychologically or physically…wanted to be at the same stage as the other girls in my school.

I didn’t want it. …inconceivable for me not to be normal. At that age you just want to be normal. You want to be accepted. …just further proof that I wasn’t normal.  I thought I would be even more of an outcast if people found out.  You want it to STOP.

In grade 4…it’s just not fair!

I was the biggest outcast because I looked older and because I was curvier than everybody else. They would insult me for not being like them. Basically, I was as much of a child as they were. I had the same interests, watched the same shows, did exactly the same things.  Just because my body had changed didn’t mean that I had changed as a person.

Given that I didn’t have a child’s body, I ended up maturing a little faster, too.

Unfortunately, I think my childhood went by too quickly….

It’s important to understand that girls who enter puberty early face many obstacles – relational, physical, psychological, emotional, sexual.

Yes, sexual.

The body is ready but the head is not.  Physically their bodies are ready for sexual experiences. The urges and curiosity are there. But, psychologically they are not ready because they are still little girls.  They are naive…seek approval…are too eager to please…easily manipulated…too often used…abused.

Watch the documentary. Please.  For the sake of every girl who is and who will be impacted by early puberty.

It’s FREE only for this weekend.

Have you known girls who started puberty quite young?  What challenges did they face?

Have you ever treated a girl based on the age you felt she looked rather than by her chronological age?

Vagina

Say it with me – Vagina.

Again – Vagina.

One more time.  Vagina.

Now say “vulva.”

Say it again – Vulva.

Now wasn’t that easy?

And, wasn’t it faster and less complicated than saying, “um, my, ah, private lady parts, you know, haha, um….” Because, no, I don’t know and apparently you don’t either.  And, neither will your doctor.

Vagina. There’s nothing dirty about the word. And, there’s nothing nasty about vaginas.

I have one. You have one.  Your mother has one. Your daughter has one. Your girlfriend has one.

Vagina. Vagina. Vagina.  What’s the big deal with saying vagina?

Why are we embarrassed by the word?  Are we embarrassed to have a vagina?  Are we ashamed of her?  …afraid of her?

Why is it so hard for so many to say “vagina”?

Or, vulva? Or, vestibule? Or, labia? Or, clitoris?

We have no problem saying ear, fingernail, belly button, nose, elbow, or big toe.

Why can we not accept these feminine parts of our anatomy as good, honorable, delightful and worthy of kind consideration?

Why deny their existence? Why hesitate to speak their names?

Period wise, we would be up a creek without a paddle if we had no vagina to hold our tampons or menstrual cups and no vulva against which to place our pads.

We are women, body proud and period wise. Let’s honor ourselves and our femininity through our confident use of delightful words that spell out who we are.

Dear Kate

I’ve not quite known what to do with the Business Insider piece about the Dear Kate ad that shows female coders modeling the new Ada collection of underwear. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the ad and the idea behind it. I’m in agreement with the Business Insider piece about the Dear Kate ad. And, I really (make that really really really) like the underwear (it looks SO period wise).

What I have a problem with is this – that it’s even necessary in this age of enlightened awareness, progressive thinking, and political correctness.

And, yes, I know it is.  And, no, don’t get me started on this rant.

Have you seen the Dear Kate ad?  Take a moment and look at it.

Now – show it to the girl in your life.

And – go a step further and google these women and show her who they are and what they do. She will be inspired to accomplish great things.

What can be more period wise than being inspired by great women sporting fancy undies, who declare I am woman, watch me soar! and invite us to soar with them beyond boundaries, beyond taboos, beyond anything we could ever imagine.

Invisible Cloth Pads

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to wear cloth pads AND what it would look like to others, take a look at this video.

In the video, the reviewer takes you beyond the usual blah blah about what they like about a pad and gives you a look at what it’s like to actually WEAR them in skinny jeans. See for yourself – does the pad show??

Cloth pads = period wise choice!  Well done Bree (aka Precious Stars)!

So Small Yet So Significant

A few days ago I wrote about a girl who was in an abusive relationship.  There was something about her that tugged at my heartstrings.

I hope she tugged at yours, too, as you read my account of her.

Are you able to put yourself in her place and feel a little of what she felt?  I can, and I can tell you that none of it is good, healthy, wholesome – and not one bit of it moves her forward into who or what she can become.

A few days ago, I returned to the store and searched for this girl.

I did not find her.  Her coworkers either did not know where she was or were not at liberty to tell me.  All I know is that she was not at work that day.

Of course, my mind went wild with possibilities and I’ve prayed silent prayers on her behalf….

I want you to place yourself in the shoes of an abused woman.  Perhaps you are there already.  Perhaps you have been there.  Perhaps you have no clue what it’s like.

Here are some questions to help you.

  1. What do you do when you find yourself kicked out of your house with only the clothes on your back and your purse on your shoulder?
  2. What do you do when all heck breaks loose and you must seek shelter…any shelter, anywhere in order to survive and all you have is what you have on you.
  3. What do you do when you’re in an unfamiliar location and need something or someone and don’t know where to turn to find it – or the money to purchase it?
  4. What do you do when you’re broke and have no one to borrow from until your next paycheck?
  5. What do you do when you can’t get what you need unless you allow another to act out on you what he/she wishes or desires – even if it’s abusive?

Many women find themselves in situations like those listed above and must find a way to cope…to live…to carry on…to find a way to make do and a means to provide for their needs….

Now, take these questions and let’s put a spin on them, period wise.

Look back over the questions. What would you do? How would you manage your period (or that of your equally displaced daughter)? How would you cope period wise?  Would there be a solution?  Is there a way to be period prepared at all times?

Yes!  There is.

Reusable menstrual cups are something far too few women are aware of and an answer to every question asked above.

A reusable menstrual cup is a bell shaped device – a silicone cup – that’s inserted into the vagina in anticipation of menstruation, or once it begins – or, it can be slipped into a purse or backpack until it’s needed.  It’s reusable – can last YEARS.

Many call it a Lunette – lune, meaning moon, and ette, meaning small.  And, “Lunette” is my favorite term for it – a lunette is a crescent – like a crescent moon…or a Cheshire cat smile. It symbolizes something hidden within, a secret smile, a power, a cycle wise and period wise means for being period prepared no matter where, what or when.

Lunette menstrual cup is indeed like the Cheshire cat’s smile – straightforward and long lasting.

  • its presence can have a direct influence and make a huge difference in the lives of women who need a safe and reliable method for dealing with menstruation in demanding and dangerous environments.
  • It’s a long lasting, problem solving, irritation resolving, solution providing, smile producing menstrual response for women who deal with uncertainty every day of their lunette.

“…of their lunette?” Yes! Women have lune (moon) cycles and each day of that cycle is a…lunette, of course!  {Cycle Day (CD) = Lunette}

Do you know of someone who lives in a situation that is less than desirable, period wise? Would you be willing to provide them with a gift that would last them many years and provide peace and a sense of security, period wise, for many lunes (moons) to come?

Period Wise will be purchasing several Lunettes to give to women at the shelter for abused and battered women here in the city in which Period Wise is based.  Will you join me in making a difference where you live – not just in the lune cycle as a whole, but in every lunette as well?  Begin with yourself and work outward to women who need to know there is a menstrual solution that can be available wherever they go, whatever their situation, whatever their lune needs are, no matter where they happen to be on any lunette.

There’s something about her – and you may hold the answer.

Be the answer to someone’s menstrual freedom through providing the means for period preparedness.

Be period wise and pay it forward.

#LemonChallenge: Meet Kaitlin

Kaitlin accepted the #LemonChallenge.  And, from the video below, it looks like she did so at work. At work – now there’s a thought.

#LemonChallenge is bigger than you or me. #LemonChallenge is as large as our combined reach!

Think of all the people you come into contact with – at work, in your community, at school, at home, via social media…. This is your reach.  Open your arms and reach wide.  Let’s reach the world with endometriosis awareness and affect real change.

#LemonChallenge everyone within your reach.

#LemonChallenge: Meet Tara

Tara, of Be Prepared Period fame, took the #LemonChallenge and challenged three others.  (You will have to watch her video to see if your name was one of the three.)

Of particular interest to me was that Tara included her daughter in the video. What a period wise decision!

The best thing we can do for our daughters is to talk with them often about issues that matter to women of all ages.

Will you take the #LemonChallenge and raise awareness about endometriosis?

#LemonChallenge: Meet Julie

To take on the role of a true friend requires far more than most are willing to invest.

Meet Julie – friend extraordinaire.

Julie (aka @JulieRay916) is Deborah‘s friend and graciously agreed to a #LemonChallenge interview.

My name is Julie Christy, I am a twenty-five year old wife and mommy to a ten month old baby boy. I am from Danville, Virginia and live in Melbourne, Florida where I grew up (I moved from Virginia to Florida when I was a baby, moved back to Virginia as a teen and came back to Florida when I was twenty one.). I am a full time nanny taking care of two children and my own son in the process, I will be “retiring” in May to be a stay at home mom and wife.

Have you ever been diagnosed with endometriosis?

I have never been diagnosed with endometriosis.
How did you initially become aware of endometriosis?

I was first made aware of endometriosis when a childhood friend mentioned having it, nothing was really researched or explained in detail because we were young and just didn’t understand the importance of it. I really became aware of endometriosis and how it can affect someone when I met Deborah Bradshaw.

As someone who has not received the diagnosis of endometriosis, what role do you see yourself having with regard to endo awareness/support?

I want to take on whatever role will bring awareness and support at it’s best. I do not have endometriosis and will never know truly how someone with endometriosis lives on a day to day basis but I have been with Deborah since before she lost her sweet angel Avery and through it and now to this day and I think it is so so so important that not only the women who may have or do have endometriosis should be educated and supported but that the people who do not have it are educated and understand. So many women take for granted every day things that women with endo would die to have. I thank God every day…every.single.day for my son because I know that God could’ve chosen a different path for me.

What responsibility do you feel, or have you assumed, regarding sharing your knowledge of endometriosis with others, and why?

I think my responsibility in sharing my knowledge of endometriosis with others is like my responsibility in sharing my faith of the Lord, you may not get through to hundreds of people BUT if one person hears you, you’ve made a difference. Endometriosis is a HUGE deal and I feel my responsibility as a woman, whether I have endometriosis or not, is to spread the word, to get the awareness out in the open so girls can be diagnosed sooner and research can flourish and so that women like Deborah know that even though I may not be going through it, I am sympathetic and I care and want to understand as much as I can.

Tell me about #LemonChallenge – how did you come to be involved with it?  

#LemonChallenge is something that came about because Deborah and I were text messaging back and forth discussing that we needed to come up with something to raise awareness for endometriosis like they have ALS. My next thought was that yellow was the color for endo awareness so what could we do with something yellow and we decided on lemons!

What do you hope will be accomplished through the #LemonChallenge?   

I hope that we can make endo awareness huge and educate more people on what it is and how it affects people, not just the women but their family and friends also, and to raise money for the research center so they continue to have enough funds to find a cure for this horrible disease.

Please share the link to your #LemonChallenge video and tells us what it was like to produce it.

I made two videos because my first one was so long and I don’t have rights to the music.

http://youtu.be/R8LiWWi5Ouc

http://youtu.be/DQ0ZVO5d5Fo

It was awesome to produce these videos knowing that if we could share them all over we could educate women and girls and their families and friends and get awareness all over the place.

What advice do you have for others who are interested in creating a #LemonChallenge video to raise awareness about endometriosis and funding for a cure?

If you’re interested in creating a video, do it! There aren’t any real stipulations, except to suck the lemon for five seconds and nominate as many people as you want and make sure to donate to the research center. Share with your family and friends what you are doing so they can share it too.

How many girls/women do you know of, personally, who have received the diagnosis of endometriosis?  How many people do you know who have ALS?

I know of at least four or five women I am close with who have endometriosis, at all different stages. I do not know anyone with ALS.

How has endometriosis changed / affected you? As the friend of someone with endo, you have been touched by it.

Endometriosis has changed me in that it has humbled me, it has made me more caring and cautious when people write off bad period symptoms as it being just “that time of the month” or when people throw around pregnancy talk and treating women like their only purpose in life is to conceive and have babies, because it’s not. Period symptoms sometimes aren’t just period symptoms, they are real pain caused by something extremely hard to live with when someone has endo. People rarely think about a woman being infertile, and I’m not saying people should walk around on egg shells but just have some compassion. It has made me realize that there are absolutely amazing, beautiful mothers out in this world who don’t have children of their own so to speak but that mother step children better than some mothers treat their own children.

Is there anything you would like to say to women who have been diagnosed with endo? 

I would like to say although I know that sometimes it doesn’t seem like much coming from someone who doesn’t have endometriosis, I care, and I sympathize with you and I want you to know that I never take for granted anything. They need to know they are beautiful inside and out and that this disease will not take over their lives as long as they don’t allow it. God is always with you even in the darkest moments and the most important thing is that it’s okay to cry and be angry, just don’t stay angry.

What advice would you like to share with family and friends of women with endometriosis – any tips you can offer on how to support, what role to play, how best to help? 

Just educate people, make people aware that this disease is real and happening every day to millions of women. Share facts with EVERYONE and let them know about the research center and how they can donate. Be supportive, just let them know you are a shoulder to lean on and you have an ear to listen, even if it’s to let them cry or vent.

What is the biggest challenge to women with endometriosis that you see from your standpoint?

The biggest challenge to women with endometriosis that I have seen is not being diagnosed soon enough and infertility and accepting those circumstances.

What period wise challenge would you like to share?

#LemonChallenge.

What one word sums up endo for you? 

Challenging.

Is there anything else you would like to share that’s not covered in the questions?

Women who suffer from endo need to be reminded all the time that they are beautiful inside and out and that although things seem unfair and challenging, God is always working.

#LemonChallenge: Suzan

#LemonChallenge for endometriosis awareness is the Period Wise thing to do!

I challenge Tara at Be Prepared Period, Cathy at Lunette, and Wendy at Period Packs to make a video and suck a lemon for 5 seconds, or/and make a donation to endometriosis research.

And, I challenge you, too, Dear Reader!

Endo sucks. Let’s help find a cure!