I was really shocked to learn recently that in research undertaken by Mumsnet on behalf of BMI Healthcare found that 71% of women would be likely to talk to their partner about problems conceiving, but only 30% would speak to their own mother. Similarly, 62% of women would speak to their partner about heavy periods, but only just over a third would speak to their mother about the condition.
Then I had a bit of a think and wondered what I would do in either of those situations. Sadly I don’t have the option of speaking to my mum anymore as she died of breast cancer when I was 21. I did suffer from incredibly painful periods when I was a teenager, I would spend two days a month doubled up in pain, vomiting and would regularly miss school. I did speak to my mum though and after a quick trip to the family GP I ended up taking mefenamic acid until I gave birth to my own children which miraculously cured my period pains. I really don’t know whether I would have spoken to my mum if we’d had trouble conceiving, I would like to think that I would have, but I’m not so sure as sex (and making a baby has to involve that!) was something I never discussed with her. I remember her giving me a booklet about puberty when I was about 8, we never did discuss anything that was in it, but I devoured that booklet and when puberty hit I felt prepared.
I would like a different relationship with my own daughter though. We are very free and open about the human body and all of its functions in our house. We’re not ones to worry about nudity and as I worked for many years as an antenatal teacher my children are used to seeing plastic pelvises and knitted boobs lying around the house, they’ve watched my birth DVDs and all know the stories of their own births. I also bought this lovely book for my daughter by the fab Christianne Northrup which is a lovely gentle introduction to talking about the growing feminine body which I would really recommend. This one is on my reading wishlist too.
So, back to the research, where did we go wrong? Why do our daughters not feel able to talk to us about intimate parts of their life, why do we feel unable to speak to our mothers? In times past the great feminine wisdom was shared, like a special sacred secretive bond amongst women, just read ‘The Red Tent‘ to find out more. Back to the initial research, which also adds:
“This is despite the fact that family history is a key factor in many women’s health conditions, and seven in ten women surveyed know somebody in their family who has suffered a gynaecological issue,”
It surely has to all stem back to parenting? and how these issues are approached with our children and how we – as parents – deal with our own feelings and upbringing to ensure that we can afford our children the openness that they deserve?
If this has made you think about how you discuss feminine healthcare issues with your daughter I can’t recommend Dr. Christiane Northrup’s work enough, BMI Healthcare also have a pretty good women’s health section HERE. Do you think your daughter would speak to you about heavy periods or trouble conceiving? If not….it’s never too late to change the way you approach this part of parenting, let’s make our generation the one that brings back that shared feminine wisdom again.
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Note: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I was sponsored to write this post by BMI Healthcare.