The ability to listen to our inherent body wisdom is a skill that sometimes needs to be learnt. An excellent place to begin is around menarche – a girl’s first period. In many cultures this is honoured as a rite of passage. In the West, the tendency is to play it down, deride it even, and in so doing, girls often learn to be out of step with an essential aspect of themselves.
Extensive research has shown that young girls who approach menarche well prepared—with a positive introduction and emotional support—experience higher self-esteem, fewer negative cycle related symptoms, favourable overall menstrual perception and easier subsequent births.
The positively presented information, activities and conversation around these topics at the Celebration Day for Girls (CDG) workshop can have a profound and lasting impact on girls, in conjunction with the ongoing support of mothers, families and other carers. By enabling a healthy, grounded experience of the changes of puberty we deeply nourish girls’ self-esteem, self-awareness and positive body image. During the Day, girls are warmly invited into the time-honoured, nurturing connection and support women have long shared with each other. Many participants report that their mother-daughter relationship is enriched and enlivened as the doors of communication in this key area of female experience and development are opened wide.
This program is for 10-12 year old girls, irrespective of whether they have started menstruating or not.
During this session, (held a week or so prior to the CDG) we step mothers through the content of the workshop and offer them the chance to express their hopes and wishes for the day. Mothers will also have an opportunity to explore their own personal experience of puberty and menarche and its relationship to the parenting of their daughter through this time.
The morning is spent with girls on their own (typically 10am–1pm) and just before lunch, the mothers join in for the remainder of the day, finishing at about 4pm.
We engage the girls in gentle creative activities, stories and information relating to their unfolding experience into womanhood. Our focus is on creating a strong sense of mutual sharing and support around menstruation.
Sessions are held in one of the participants’ houses, or at the children’s school. Group sizes range from five to fifteen mother/daughter couples.
“Thank you Charlotte for a very empowering and positive day on Sunday. Lily has contently chatted about periods and relayed information happily to me and her father / brothers / whoever happens to be around. It’s great to hear and see!”