What I Learned When My Toddler Started Carrying Around An ‘Emotional Support Tampon’

My daughter is crying. Like most toddlers, she has massive emotions about snacks, which books to learn when mommy or daddy must be allowed to depart the room, and what I, her mom, ought to put on.

On this event, she’s unhappy as a result of we’ve run out of her beloved granola bars and I’ve but to make it to the shop to replenish our provide. Happily, I do know what is going to make my 2-year-old really feel higher.

“Would you like to hold your tampon?” I ask.

The reply to the above query is all the time, “Yeah!”

For the previous few weeks, my daughter has taken what we name her “emotional support tampon” in all places. For instance, the tampon made it to soccer apply and accompanied my child whereas creating chalk drawings on the park. It occupies the identical position in her life as a “binkie” or a “blankey” does for different children. The one distinction? My baby’s “emotional support tampon” attracts much more side-eye than a pacifier.

My child’s relationship together with her tampon started when she noticed one which had gotten free on the counter within the toilet. “What’s that?” she requested, admiring the multi-colored wrapper.

“It’s a tampon,” I mentioned, matter-of-factly. Subsequent, my baby wished to know what it was for. I hadn’t considered when and the way I’d introduce my offspring to the idea of menstruation, however I made the game-time determination to not begin with a lie. In case she remembered this dialog years from now, within the recesses of her thoughts, I wished to be as truthful as potential.

“Um, it’s sort of like a Band-Aid for the inside. People who have uteruses bleed sometimes, and tampons help us deal with that.” Do I believe my baby understood this clarification? Undoubtedly not! Nonetheless, I appreciated the precedent it set in our family ― one in all openness about menstruation.

After all, not everybody approves of our household’s determination to be so sincere about intervals.

As soon as, on the park, a 5-year-old boy sharing the swing set with my daughter pointed to the tampon and sweetly requested what it was. I appeared over at his father with an expression that mentioned, “Is it OK if I tell him? Or would you prefer to do it yourself?” Sadly, Park Dad’s reply was this: “I think kindergarten is a little young for risqué subjects like that.”

I didn’t push the “menstrual products” dialog with Park Dad. In spite of everything, changing into persona non grata at a playground is the worst potential destiny when you’ve a 2-year-old. However I did surprise how anybody may assume explaining the aim of tampons was risqué? It’s not like I used to be recapping the plot of an erotic thriller.

Certainly, the angle that menstruation is a grimy secret that must be stored from youngsters has actual penalties. Conserving children at midnight about physique modifications and replica can result in actual confusion when puberty begins. Analysis reveals many younger folks have no idea what is occurring after they get their first intervals. How terrifying is that?

All of a sudden bleeding out of your vagina ― and never understanding why ― is a traumatic expertise. It would even make a child assume they’re injured or dying.

I went by early puberty. When I used to be 10 years outdated, I used to be the primary of my friends to start out my interval. Whereas I technically knew what it was, I used to be too embarrassed to inform anybody. As a consequence, I walked round with bloody underwear for days.

Typically I wonder if I’d have felt much less humiliated by my interval if the tradition surrounding menstruation hadn’t been so secretive. I can’t bear in mind the ladies in my household or my pals’ households talking overtly about matters like PMS, intervals, or menopause. And the boys I knew have been even worse! I as soon as noticed an older male family member have to depart the room throughout a maxi-pad business. He was a father of two, however I assume the bleeding a part of the reproductive journey was an excessive amount of for him.

Throughout puberty, my pals and I pieced collectively snippets of data from Tampax advertisements we noticed throughout Oprah’s business breaks. However my daughter’s fascination with tampons has impressed me to be clear about issues period-related.

I consider the cultural discomfort surrounding menstrual merchandise ― and the intervals they exist to take care of – is a logo of our basic discomfort with the concept our youngsters will sooner or later undergo puberty, develop up, and discover their sexuality. However youngsters of all genders will probably be affected by menses ― both as a result of they’ll sooner or later have intervals, or as a result of they’ll know individuals who do. Shouldn’t they be ready?

I hope that by by no means making tampons a taboo, my daughter will really feel extra empowered to debate menstruation, puberty and sexuality generally. I hope she’ll really feel assured sufficient to ask any query that involves her as a result of I believe it’s vital to arrange children to change into sexually wholesome adults.

It’s merely my objective to boost a child who’s acquainted with the language of menstruation from day one. I’d quite not elevate an individual who worries they’re bleeding to demise after they attain menarche or who’s afraid to ask for a tampon like I used to be. As an alternative, I’m joyful to be elevating my little tampon fanatic. Lengthy stay the Emotional Support Tampon!

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