I guess my poor kids are just destined to be little harlots, full of all that sexual knowledge about breastfeeding and nursing. Since I want either one child or two, with a big spacing between them, theoretically I could have a pre-teen son *gasp* see my breasts as I nurse his sibling! Shock of all shocks, he could theoretically see the birth and all the nasty vaginal blood that comes with it!
FWIW I got my period at 12, and thanks to my extensive knowledge it never freaked me out. I have no issues with my period whatsoever, and actually love it because there's nothing better than satisfying an intense smoothie craving
NMY, uber-crunchy, college student, doula-in-training, health food store worker and future librarian
I just wanted to say, just because she didnt want to have those conversations in front of her DD does not necessarily mean her DD has had no education in those matters. When I was 9 I knew what menstruation and breastfeeding were. I even knew that sometimes women can have problems like cramps etc. However, my mother has NEVER discussed her menstruation or breastfeeding in front of me. I didn't even find out she had a hysterectomy a few years ago until after the fact. I think some women simply think that that sort of information about their bodies and personal experiences is private. I mean, you can tell your kids about sex, but many people would not give their children details about their sex life. Giving them information about the process is different from giving details about personal experience. I'm not saying I agree- there is certainly information that would have been helpful to hear from my mother- I didn't menstruate until I was almost 15 for instance, I have NO idea when she started, but if she started late too, it would have been comforting to know. However, I did know all the general information by that age.
My son (11 years old) knows quite a bit about breastfeeding, conceptually, because I was a breastfeeding counselor for several years and he's heard me give lots of advice. But I have never discussed with him my personal experience (though I would probably answer if asked, but I can't imagine why he'd want to know at this age). And I certainly wouldn't bring up or discuss in front of my children personal experiences of menstrual problems. Some people just think some things are private (though that doesn't translate into "dirty") or they don't want to share everything personal with their children. I don't see anything wrong with that. You can give a daughter all the information she will need and be available to discuss problems/concerns/questions, without sharing about the horrible clots that you passed last month.
My sister wont let me babysit her children because someone might find out that i breastfeed. Not that shes worried her son will SEE a boob, but she doesn't want them to even know about breastfeeding. In their (her and her dh) opinion, bottles are for babies and boobs are for men and breastfeeding is an unspeakable perversion.
My dp as well, was freaked out when he found out my 1st son nursed until he was almost 4 and he has issues with him (my 8 yo son) seeing me nurse the baby. DP has come a long way, tho, and is an advocate for breastfeeding now.
I would gently challenge your friend out of the earshot of her daughter. Maybe she isn't aware how close her daughter is to puberty and doesnt realize it is time to start preparing her.
Mama to 3 boys
I'm starting to wonder if I read the same OP as some of you. This has nothing to do with normal puberty education.
If you have a 10yo DD, would you find it inappropriate to discuss these topics? I have a DS and DD and I am VERY OPEN about whatever they ask. However, they are only 3 and 5yo, so maybe I am talking out of my arse?
I was visiting a dear friend, and she said she found breast feeding so hard and did not get proper support at LLL meetings. She then asked me if I found it hard to breast feed. I said later on it was great, but described how difficult it was in the beginning - latch, pain, clogged breasts.... I was talking normally but she kept whispering, because her 10yo DD was with us. At one point, my friend said "you can tell your children what you want, but my DD does not need to hear this." So I whispered. I was in her home, her guest, so I respected that. But in my mind I was thinking, this is all basic stuff, not dirty hush-hush stuff, and maybe just what her DD should be listening to!
Fast forward a week later, and my friend quietly told me about being in a horrid mood from her period. Again her daughter was in the room with us. I told my friend how I was bleeding really really heavy the last two years, and now I was concerned it might mean I had a problem with my iron levels. She cut me off and said "we can talk about this quietly, or we can't talk about it at all."
In both instances, my friend brought up the topics. In both instances I respected her wishes to not discuss it around her daughter. But I felt really weird about that, as if I was promoting breast feeding and menstration to be hush-hushh, dirty tpics, instead of normal, natural processes. I couldn't figure out why my friend didn't want her daughter to hear these things, and she didn't tell me why not. If you won't talk about these things with a 10 yo, can you tell me why not?
Whispering that she is in a bad mood because she got her period is not on the same level as discussing how heavy and clotty your periods have been and how you think it might mean something serious.
With the BFing, again she just said she found it hard and said she didn't get the support she needed and asked if you did. She didn't get into specific details as to how and why.
It sounds like you took the conversation past her comfort zone. It doesn't mean that it's a dirty subject, or she hasn't educated her daughter. It just means that in her opinion the conversation has reached a level of TMI.
I talk openly about these things with my 10 year old, even though I'm quite confident HE won't be menstruating or breastfeeding any time soon.
Our DD is 9.5 yo and we've always talked very openly about breast-feeding, body parts, menstruation, and now my impending menopause. DD nursed until she was almost 4 yo and it was all very natural (even though my mom didn't nurse and was hush-hush about a lot of stuff so it goes to show you that you don't have to continue the style of your family of origin.)
I don't really understand why a mom wouldn't want her child to hear the "negative" issues surrounding breast-feeding, menstruation, etc. As long as it's modeled to a child that you don't let these things debilitate you and that you persevere, they shouldn't be fearful. Our DD is aware of some of the "less than favorable" aspects of bodily changes like pms and hot flashes. However she knows that it doesn't happen to everyone and many times, I make light of my hot flashes.
Every family is different, but I think that mom is doing a disservice to her DD and her DD will end up actually being fearful b/c knowledge helps prevent fear.
living with alopecia universalis (google it), learning alongside my children DD 2003 DS 2007DD 2011
my mom recently told me that when she was 7mo pregnant with my sister ( at age 14 ) she asked the doctor when she was going to get the new hole that the baby would come out of! we need to empower our girls to be strong young women. girls who know the ins and the outs and how sacred they are will be more carefull about losing their virginity at a young age.
I agree with Arduinna that talking "period in general" is a different level than discussing heavy bleeding, clots and whatever. (Or, for that matter breastfeeding as opposed to plugged ducts, trush, and mastitis.)
Still, the other mother started to talk about BF and menstruation. As an adult she should be well aware that the conversation might steer in that direction. So, if you don't want that to happen in the presence of your child - why bring it up?
Andrea , wife to K , mother to
I was surprised by how well she handled it all. Not just the injury and the exams, but the information that was thrown at her all night. The ER doctor drew a picture of her vaginal area on the table-paper and showed her where the tear was. He had her slather herself with numbing gel in hopes of being able to examine her with less pain. He explained how a speculum worked and showed it to her. (She still talks about it as "that duck bill thing.") He explained what a gynecologist was (because he had to call one in). A nurse, who had made the comment "that looks like an episiotomy" during one of the exams, answered DD's questions about what an episiotomy was. Then, lo and behold, into that ER came a woman who had just delivered a baby in a car and happened to have an identical tear to the one DD had. So there was lots of talk about why it happened during childbirth and how it would be repaired. The gynecologist came in and explained to DD what was going to happen when they did DD's repair surgery--the anesthesia, the speculum, looking in her vagina to make sure there weren't any deeper tears, then a few stitches to make sure everything healed up good as new. They kept it very kid-appropriate, but there was no way DD could avoid the explicit subject matter.
I believe DD's acceptance of it all was helped by the fact that she already had some degree of understanding of her body and how it worked, and also some understanding of childbirth. Before we even went to the hospital that night, she got an early course in how to use a maxi pad and, after she got home after surgery, a peri-bottle. She endured my examining her (to make sure the bleeding and bruising were staying contained within what the docs told us to expect), six weeks of itchy stitches and bleeding, and the follow-up appointment with the gynecologist. All in all, a terrible experience, but one that would've been much, much worse had she not already known what was down there, what it was for and why it was important to fix it up so it would work properly later in life.
I realize not every kid is going to have to endure an experience mine did (thank goodness!), but I hope that your friend is at least preparing her daughter for life's normal stuff. Because if the girl is 10, it's probably coming soon!
Mom to three very active girls Anna (15), Kayla (12), Maya (9).
OP, I don't think I would bother to call her out on it, but if she brings up a "touchy" subject again, in whispers, I might politely change the subject. If she asks why, you can tell her you have perceived that she has a different comfort level than you do, and you don't want to violate that.
Mommy to kids
Or it could be that the mom doesn't want to scare her. I remember when I was about 10, a few friends and I were playing Truth or Dare with my mom and my aunts. My aunt got asked the question of when she'd lost her virginity, and gave way too many details, including (and I still remember her exact phrasing) "and I woke up *covered* in blood!" I was horrified and really scared about having sex until I was old enough to read/hear other less scary accounts. My kids are still little, but they know most of the basics, including how babies are made, but I wouldn't talk to them about possible problems until they were at that point in their lives. We've kept all discussions positive and healthy.
I'd ask in private, either through email or on the phone, what specifically is okay or not okay to talk about, and what her reasons are. You can keep it polite and friendly, and just pose it as, "I want to make sure I don't slip up and talk about something you guys aren't comfortable with.." - then if it's for one of the above reasons or something similarly understandable, you can let it be. If you find out that she's not giving her daughter any information, you can gently encourage her to at least share the basics.
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