Written by Laura Barnes,Grace Kabaghe, Jacqueline Mphatso Kalenga, and Amess Nthala Mwamdaza
M (Mom): Good afternoon, Cynthia. How was your day at school?
C (Cynthia): It was good Mother, thank you. How are you?
M: I am well. I have been thinking about how fast you are growing up. God has given me the responsibility of teaching you all about Jesus and his salvation and the way he wants us to live as Christians.
C: You and Dad have taught us so much about the Bible.
M: Today, I want to talk to you about what the Bible teaches about sex, about God’s plan for sex.
C: My friend says that this topic is too shameful to discuss with our mothers.
M: I agree that it is a very private topic of conversation and I don’t want you repeating what I share with you to the neighbors. The Bible teaches that God gives parents the responsibility to teach their children about how he wants them to live. The Bible has a lot to say about sex. In fact, people that don’t know the Bible don’t understand it the same way. What have they taught you in school about your changing body?
C: They have told us that our breasts will get larger and boys’ penises will get longer and larger. Both boys and girls will grow hair under their arms and in the private area. They have said that we will also smell under our arms when we sweat and that we need to be sure to bathe every day. Also, we learned that women have a vagina, located between where we pee and where we poo. The vagina leads to the uterus. The uterus will be where a baby will grow.
M: That is correct. I am happy that you are paying attention in class. Did they say anything about periods?
C: Yes. They said that every month girls will bleed from the vagina. Will it be like when I pee?
M: No. The bleeding will come a little all throughout the day and night. It last for 3 to 7 days. It’s actually not a lot of blood, but we can’t control it. For this reason, I want to be sure to teach you how to take care of yourself during this time of the month. For most women the period comes every 28 days. It’s a good idea to mark a calendar, so you can be prepared for it to start each month. But for some women, for girls that are first starting their periods, and older women the bleeding can come at anytime. They have irregular periods.
C: Do you have to stay in the toilet all day?
M: No. I use reusable pads to collect the blood. You attach a pad inside your panties like this. When your pad is full, you remove it and put it in a bucket of water to soak. At the end of the day, you can wash the dirty pads and put them over the edge of the bucket to dry. It is helpful if they can be exposed to the sun as this will help keep them clean. You are old enough now to wash your pads all by yourself. You can carry a pad to school with you in case you start your period while you are at school. Some women use cloth to collect the blood and others may use disposable pads. The disposable pads must be wrapped in tissue or put in a plastic bag and thrown away in a trash can or pit. They are not to be put in the toilet because it can stop the drain and break the toilet.
C: My friend said that when I start my period I am going to need to start putting my fingers in my vagina to wash it well with soap.
M: You should not put anything in your vagina. God made our bodies so that it naturally cleans itself when you have your period. You could scratch yourself or get an infection if you put your fingers up your vagina. But, like your teacher said, you should bathe everyday with soap including the hair near your vagina. Do you have any more questions about the periods?
C: Is it painful?
M: There should not be any pain at the opening of the vagina or when you bleed. Some women have abdominal pain a day or two before they start their period and maybe a few days into the period. Others have headaches during this time. I have also heard of women that get sick and vomit, but that is rare. The hormones in our body that cause us to start our periods can sometimes make us feel sad or irritable.
C: That all sounds awful. I think I’m just going to stay in bed whenever I get my period.
M: That is not possible for you, Cynthia. Do you see me lying around once a month? Actually, you will find that you will feel better if you get up and move around. If the abdominal pain and headache are severe I can give you some Brufen. Also it’s helpful to eat more foods with iron during this time of the month, like beans, greens, and red meat. Having a monthly period is a healthy, normal process, getting your body ready to have babies.
C: I want lots of babies.
M: Not this early, I hope. I still want to talk to you about how babies are made and God’s plan for sex. I think we have talked enough for today. Put a pad in your school bag so that you are prepared in case you start your period at school. Let’s keep talking tomorrow. I need to check on your baby sister and you need to do your homework.