I was 14 when I got my first period. My Mother was discreet about it. There was not a huge celebration, but she did call near and dear Aunties and conducted a small ceremony. I was very confused with the ambiguity of it. While I got my favourite sweets and dishes to eat, I had to sleep on a mat in a corner room for five days. I was very much confused and of course very irritated with the restrictions that followed forever in my life.
As a Mother, I had made certain decisions regarding the ways I would follow in bringing up my daughter and believe me; I arrived at these decisions more out of the day to day experiences. I was 22 when I was married off. I was a bit reluctant; I would have been happy if my Father gave me few more years space. No qualms though since I have an excellent marriage, but I will never decide my daughter’s marriage or marriage age. That’s the important decision I have made. I will only be her guide and mentor. My daughter was the first ever baby I had held in my arms. I grew as a woman after I became a Mother. There were a lot of imperfections in the way I brought her up, but when I look back at the 12 years journey, I see all the good and bad have only led to the development of a confident girl.
She was 9 when I discussed puberty, sex, good and bad touch with her. She is 12 now. It was the day before Holi, I was out for a business meet and returned home at 10:30 pm when she was eagerly waiting for me to convey the news. She knew everything; she waited for me eagerly to share the news with me, she was not a tad bit nervous about seeing the first stain. I was delighted that the discussions I had with her helped. It was Holi the next day and Math exam the following day. I let everything happen as they were supposed to. No, she did not sit in the corner of the house for five days. Yes, I insisted that she should take enough rest and eat well. I took care of the health part and followed the culture to which my heart agreed. She played Holi; I told her that she could only play with dry colours and she happily obeyed.
I did celebrate of course, however in a way that she would appreciate and want. I bought her favourite chocolates, dry fruit sweets, ice creams and as a surprise, I gifted her the book ‘Federer”. She loves the guy and hopes to play like him one day. This is the main reason I did not insist on ‘house arrest kind of a rest’ for her. She is into sports and had always been a strong girl. I did not want her to feel in any view that this new phase in her life would change that part of her. I had to enhance her belief that she can be the same strong and sporty irrespective of this new phase.
She was very nervous about her exam. I promised her that we would take the result positively whatever it is. She could calm her nerves after my assurance. I offered to drop her to school and wait for her until she finished her exam, but she denied. She was calm by then. She took the school bus as usual and came back excited after dealing the paper well. I can say right now that after few years when she looks back and remembers that she took Math exam on the third day of her first period, she will feel proud of herself. That’s the kind of confident girl I want to raise and working on it. She resumed her tennis classes today 🙂