Category Archives: Puberty

New Puberty – A Crucial Resource for Parents

The day dawned like any other day.  The signs where there, but I pulled the cover over my head and turned over.  Surely I was mistaken – it wasn’t time for the day to start.

So it was with my daughter.  The signs where there, but either I didn’t recognize them or I pulled the cover over my head and declared it too early and me not ready to face the dawning of puberty in her.

Hands and feet were the first to grow.  Oh, how her feet grew.  It seemed that overnight she went from a size 8 child’s shoe to a woman’s size 9.  Her appetite became insatiable and her weight climbed.  Her breasts budded then quickly blossomed far beyond my expectation and well beyond her delight.

She wasn’t ready, did not want, rejected facts undeniable, insisted she was not / could not / would not ever….  She wasn’t having any of it.

Puberty had its unrelenting, undeniable way with her. And, she hated it.  All of it.  Cute girl’s shoes no longer fit her.  She wore shoes like her grandma.  Bras were confining and uncomfortable. And, wear a pad – ick – she could feel it.  All were a hated intrusion on her and an interruption to her ability to enjoy carefree childhood.

My little girl was developing the body of a woman.

Dressing her became a nightmare. Cute size 8 clothes that she loved were left hanging on the rack while larger, more mature clothing were selected out of necessity. “I look like Grandma” was her response. Everything had to be altered.  If it fit her one place, it didn’t another.  And, the length was always too long.

I knew it would happen. (One day.) Girls become women. It’s a process (meaning s-l-o-w) and puberty plays a huge role.  Over time girls grow up.   She knew that one day she would grow into a woman.

One day is always far in the future.  When you’re 8, there’s too much living to be done and fun to be had to worry about what can and will happen one day.

I knew it was possible for puberty to arrive early.  It did for her paternal grandmother – her first period was at age 9. But, I also knew that I experienced puberty late, as did my mother and her mother.  I assumed the same for her.

I steeled myself against the possibility. Surely puberty would not arrive until I was ready…she was ready.

Ah…I’d pulled the cover over my head in denial and allowed my daughter to do the same.

“One day you will have breasts and pubes and a period like Mommy.” How many times had I told her that to her inquiries as of why and what and when?

One day.

But, not today….

Oh, how I wish The New Puberty: How to Navigate Early Development in Today’s Girls had been in my hands when my daughter was little.  It would have given me the tools to help her accept her changing body and move gently through puberty.  I would have known what to do – and how.  And, equally important – what to avoid doing and why.

Instead of covering my head and refusing to face the dawning of “one day,” I would have been busy before dawn – ready to seize the day and squeeze every bit of good from it every day of her journey.

If you have a girl – get The New Puberty.  Get it even if you don’t anticipate her entering puberty early.  It’s a resource and wealth of information at your fingertips. It will change you.  Yes, you.  You experienced puberty and I’m guessing your experience was not all positive or pleasant.  This book has the potential to change your outlook and your daughter’s experience.

The New Puberty: How to Navigate Early Development in Today’s Girls is a crucial resource for today’s parents and a period wise investment.


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.



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?

Your Daughter’s First Period

Whether or not your daughter has experienced her first period, take a look at Kate’s delightful post on Stay At Home Mum’s site.

Kate offers puberty and period wise advice, as well as sage mom advice, too.

As you will see below, Kate urges moms – talk to your daughter before she gets their period.

They grow up so quickly and the baby girl you brought home is no longer a tiny little bundle. You’ve been there to help her learn and grow and have watched her experience so many new things. The time is now coming for your little girl to blossom into a young lady. There’ll be plenty of mood swings, grumbling, some stubbornness, pimples and her first period.  It can be a very scary thing for young girls, the thought of getting her period is really quite daunting (whether they admit it or not). You’ll know when it’s almost time and she’ll start to notice some things too. Hair growing in different places, skin condition changing, sleep patterns may change, her body will begin to develop differently, she’ll start getting cramps and a multitude of other things. The best way to approach puberty is with knowledge. Help your daughter by supplying her with all the information she will need BEFORE she gets her first period to help her reach this milestone in her life without being scared. Even young children ask questions, be honest with them and start with the BASICS when they are beginning to ask questions and spread the information out. Don’t expect to just sit down and talk about it all and think that’s the end of it. It’s a lot to take in and some of it may not be age appropriate depending on when you start your talks. Read more.

What puberty or period wise advice would you add to what Kate offers?


Menarche at 6

What do you do for a 6 year old who has her first period? And, for her mom, who feels overwhelmed and unprepared?

How do you explain to her what’s going on and why her tummy hurts so badly?

“Why does my tummy hurt so much, Mommy? Why”

“When will it stop hurting, Mommy? When?”

Where do you keep the tears, hers from pain and her mom’s from sorrow, as they fall unbidden?

Who has answers that can bring relief to her and provide support for her mom?

Period Wise is working toward creating resources for Moms with girls who enter puberty way too early and experience menarche when their greatest concern should be homework and invites to birthday parties.

If you are the mom of a girl who is experiencing early (precocious) puberty, we’d like to hear from you.

Late Bloomers

Holly and Charisse of Ask Mom direct a delightful YouTube video to girls who feel they are “late bloomers.”

Girls who experience puberty’s changes later than their friends often  .

  • feel they are changing too slowly
  • wish they were more like their friends
  • worry because they don’t have the same interests their friends have
  • feel left out

If you were a late bloomer, or your girl is, take 3 minutes and view the video below.

Be period wise about your individuality. Acknowledge it. Embrace it. Understand it. Delight in it.  Lean fully into it.

If you have or know of a late bloomer, acknowledge their concerns, encourage patience, and reassure them that all is well.

Girls on Their Periods Info!

You may think it takes years to become period wise –  Ann Dillard proves otherwise!

If you’ve not seen her period wise YouTube video, “Girls on Their Periods Info!”, you’re missing out on something really special!

Here are some of her period wise quotes:

  • Don’t assume that we’re on our periods because we’re moody.  We could just not like you at all.
  • If you know a girl on her period don’t take it personal if she’s yelling at you.
  • It’s confusing as heck!
  • This is a subject that had to be spoken about.
  • Guys with girlfriends, buy her some pads or tampons or something – show her you support her. Buy her a chocolate box that’s this big!

Grab your favorite girl and check out “Girls on Their Periods Info!” here.

Menstrual Facts: 12 Things You May Not Know About Your Period

On February 12, 2013, Christina Huffington posted an absolutely wonderful piece entitled “Menstrual Facts: Twelve Things You May Not Know About Your Period”.

I became aware of it shortly after it posted and wondered how I could incorporate it into PeriodWise without plagiarizing.  Oh, how I wanted to claim what she had written as my own.  :)

Others had placed bits and pieces on their blogs, some with links to the original work…others leaving the reader to assume it originated with them.

I was in a quandary as to what to do and how to do.

After all, it contains great period wise information – and is well worth sharing.

Two comments lead into her Twelve Things:

  1. If you want to view VICE’s 2012 photo series “There Will Be Blood,” you have to confirm you are over 18 years old. The series is neither violent — as its title might imply — nor sexualized, so why the NSFW label? Because the photographer, Emma Arvida Bystrom, captured women visibly menstruating while engaging in otherwise ordinary daily tasks. Your period, as HuffPost Women Associate Editor Emma Gray put it, is something that we’re taught “should be covered, hidden and cleaned up.” 
  2. That may be why some women don’t seem to know important details about how their bodies work. For instance, a 2012 Australian survey found that only “13 percent of women could correctly answer which days of their menstrual cycle they were fertile.”

(I had seen VICE’s 2012 photo series “There Will Be Blood” last year before PeriodWise began – awesome pictures – and had forgotten about it.  If you’ve not seen the pictures, I encourage you to do so.)

I’ll admit, I was surprised by the Australian survey’s findings that only 13% of women could correctly answer which days of their cycle they are fertile.  I wonder…how period wise are my readers? Do YOU know which days of your cycle you are fertile/ovulate? Do YOU know how to know your fertile days?

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t learn something new about menstruation, the menstrual cycle or participants in it (female AND male).

Christina Huffington‘s “Twelve Things You May Not Know About Your Period” follows.  Take a moment and read through the list.  You might learn something.  I did.

Twelve Things You May Not Know About Your Period – by Christina Huffington

1. You can get pregnant on your period. Yes, it is highly unlikely but it’s not impossible so don’t use menstruating as an excuse not to use protection.

2. You are most fertile during — and around — ovulation. Ovulation — the release of an egg from an ovary — typically happens midway through a woman’s cycle. Ovulation calculators are helpful in tracking your cycle.

3. Irregular periods can mean any number of things. Irregular menstruation — whether in the form of missing a period, spotting between periods or a period lasting more than seven days — can be caused by everything from extreme weight loss or stress to pregnancy to the use of certain drugs to serious illnesses like uterine cancer. Consult your doctor if you are concerned about an irregular period.

4. Walt Disney made a movie about it. In 1946, Disney released The Story Of Menstruation as an educational aid for sex ed classes. It is rumored that the film was the first to use the word “vagina.” Betcha didn’t expect that from the pretty princess factory!

5. The average period releases less than a cup of blood. Complain about heavy flow all you want, but the fact is that most women lose between a few tablespoons and a cup each month. This is not to say that Tampax ‘super plus’ are not sometimes necessary.

6. Menstruation by any other name is still menstruation. Remember in middle school when you were embarrassed to say you were on your period so you and your friends made up code names? No? Uh, well… Code names through the ages include Crimson Tide, TOM (time of the month), Elmo riding the cotton pony, Aunt Flo, the rag and the, er, crime scene.

7. Views on period sex vary. We know sexual preference is individual — there’s a spectrum on everything from preferred gender to preferred position — so it makes sense that opinion on period sex would be individual too. (This goes for both men and women.)

8. On that note, your period might make you frisker than usual. Progesterone — the hormone believed to potentially lower your libido — is at its lowest during your period so if you’re craving more than a Snickers, chances are you’re not alone.

9. No one knows if period syncing is a real thing. Yes, it’s very well possible that you / your sister / your roommate / your partner share more than just secrets. The science behind the theory continues to be controversial, but as anyone who has ever found themselves reaching for Midol and a pair of sweatpants at the same time as their BFF can attest, it seems pretty legitimate.

10. Menstruation is still considered taboo in some places. While pre-teen girls in America may have to endure teasing from their less-than-understanding male classmates, in places like rural India girls are told not to cook food lest it be polluted, not to touch idols lest they be defiled and not to handle pickles because they will go rotten.

11. Always was the first company to show blood in an advertisement for sanitary napkins — in 2011. They broke the “women bleed blue liquid” trend but the ad still only appeared in print. Guess the taboo factor still stands.

12. The average age a girl in the United States gets her period is 12. Girls are getting their periods younger than ever and it is unknown what’s causing the puberty speedup, with theories ranging from environmental factors to higher fat diets to stress.

Full Throttle

Yesterday, Danica Patrick became the first woman to secure the top spot for any race in NASCAR’s premier circuit when she won the Daytona 500 pole with a 196.434 mph lap.

“I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl. That was instilled in me from very young, from the beginning. Then I feel like thriving in those moments, where the pressure’s on, has also been a help for me. I also feel like I’ve been lucky in my career to be with good teams and have good people around me. I don’t think any of it would have been possible without that. For those reasons, I’ve been lucky enough to make history, be the first woman to do many things. I really just hope that I don’t stop doing that. We have a lot more history to make. We are excited to do it.” — Danica Patrick

I wonder…what are we instilling in our girls?

My hope is we are encouraging them to embrace life and live it full throttle!

When Words Won’t Flow

Have you ever had days when you just can’t find the words?

Communication is harder and though there may be a conversation going on in your head, getting it out and sharing it with others is nearly impossible.

Rambling, disjointed thoughts jotted on paper are the extent of and result of any writing exercise.

Why is it some days we just can’t seem to find the words to express ourselves?

Can it be that hormones are to blame?

Dr. Laura Berman, in Hormones 101, says yes.

Hormones are the driving force behind our bodies, minds, and bedrooms.

Researchers have found that hormones control almost all our physical, emotional, and sexual functions. Hormones dictate hunger, sleep, sexual response, weight, and even your mood.

While her post centers on hormonal fluctuations experienced during menopause, she offers sound advice for all of us, no matter where in our menstrual experience we find ourselves.

We all experience frustration. We all experience days where we wonder what the heck is going on and if our minds/bodies will ever get in sync.

On days like this, patience is truly a virtue.