My daughter journeyed the rite-of-passage of her menarche, one year ago, with grace and aplomb! I was and am inspired and heartened by how she has been able to talk about it as and how she wants to.
I am delighted and still surprised that the pattern or imprint around this whole ‘being female’ thing can be so different, seemingly not so loaded in the way it was for me.
I share this special story, one annual cycle later, now that it has settled into our bones and wombs, in the hopes that it might sing up possibilities and empowerment within your family and community.
My daughter is happy for her story to be shared.
* * *
On the day of her first blood, we were out and about, celebrating my Mum’s 60th birthday. So, as it happened, the three of us in this Red Thread ancestral line were together in physical space and time – what are the odds?!
And the menfolk in our family could also know of and celebrate this significant experience.
Later, I went around the house pulling out all the gifts that were stashed away, and wrapping them (half of them were wrapped already).
Her menarche blanket and shawl pin, crystals, fuzzy pyjamas, egg-shaped candle, temporary tattoos and a set of Gaian tarot cards (her choice). We’d bought beautiful cloth pads from Mense Sense earlier.
I picked beautiful red and pink flowers from the garden to decorate them – it felt like a loving, expressive pile of gifts!
My daugher and I had dreamed of this significant event, on the same night nine months earlier, and it was this experience that galvanized me into action, collecting present ideas, ceremony ideas, and slowly stockpiling presents… (see the ideas and resources here)
The following day we celebrated my daughter’s menarche at home.
I wrote her a long card (in a beautiful Lucy Pierce creation!), with all my love, which I share here as a prayer for the menarche maiden within each of us:
Blessed are we to be celebrating your menarche, this day long-anticipated, but still a surprise! Blessed are we to be with you as your journey from one phase of life to the next, from Childhood to Womanhood!
I have been so blessed by your openness to share your experience through the years: your questions about menarche, your waiting and wanting it to come, doing the Celebration Day for Girls together, and now you sharing that your blood is actually here! Because I never felt able to speak of my experience of my own menarche at the time, I always feel that it’s AMAZING and MARVELLOUS that you can!
My prayer is that this sense of Normalcy, Cleverness and No-Shame around your body can flow into your Womanhood. That you can always feel like your body is Normal, Clever and Worthy of Respect, in all the ways it and you change and grow over time.
Our culture has so many opinions about how we should be: like that we ‘should’ be beautiful and so we ‘should’ shave our legs. My prayer is that you can try out all these things if you want to, but that deep down you know you are always Beautiful and Strong and Valuable and Able, regardless of how you look or what anyone else thinks.
My prayer is that you can remember your Maiden Self, your Childhood Self, and all the things she liked to do, before the messages of our crazy culture got louder, telling you what to do. And that you can hold on to these joys.
My prayer, and my knowing, is that as you get older, you will help rewrite the story for women, helping us all remember our Power and Wholeness. Because you are already Powerful and Whole, and these things are already rippling out to others in your life.
This collection of beautiful gifts is a very small reflection of our love for you. We are so so so so so proud of you. you hold yourself with such grace and wisdom, you are such an inspiration to us all!
So much love,
* * *
It felt like Christmas, as the family gathered together for present-opening!
My auntie had put together an amazing box of gifts, not just the hot water bottle cover that she had ‘baggsed’ making months ago, but also a face mask powder, henna kit, a mug with lovely words and pictures on it, a crystal, a bag for pads and other bits and pieces.
It felt very special to have something that wasn’t from me, and I so appreciated her organisation to pull this gift together and get it to me in advance! I had it on a shelf in a cupboard for months!
My daughter loved her menarche blanket! Amazing to think I started it basically four years before, in October 2013, using a square at the centre that my grandmother and I had created when she taught my how to crochet years earlier.
Over the years my daughter has witnessed me making it, asked about the symbolism woven within it, and chosen particular colours. She also requested a shawl pin so she could ‘wear’ it – I found one at Epoche.
I finished the blanket earlier this year and it felt amazing to have this gift all finished and wrapped up! As I keep saying!
I really did feel supported by the preparation that had happened before this event, and if I can pass anything useful on, it would be an invitation to think about how you might like to celebrate this significant time with your loved ones, and what you might need to get ready beforehand.
Pay attention to your dream channel!!
My husband’s gift was to take my daughter to the Hot Springs a bit later in the month, closer to ovulation. A nourishing and sensual affirmation of her body, and quality time spent together. So glad to be with a man who know the importance of such honouring – and he thought of the idea himself.
Also, very significantly, my daughter chose a deer hide and started making a frame drum!
On her Day 2 she cut the face and lacing, punched the holes mostly herself, and set the hide to soak in the bathtub that I had set up a few days ago in the backyard, hoping to have an outdoor soak – perfect timing that it was sitting there!
I off-handedly suggested she may want to incorporate her new blood in some way, and she chose to add the blood from her first ever pads to the water soaking the hide.
So this drum is a powerhouse of once-in-a-lifetime, wildly potent medicine! I cannot fathom the magic that ripples from this act, and will ripple from this drum whenever she plays it…
On her Day 3, my daughter and I sat in circle together, lit candles, spoke our intentions for the day. She slowly created her drum, and I midwifed both her and myself in that process – the magic, the mundanity, my ease and discomfort, my patience and impatience.
And so began this many-year journey, cycling with her womb, cycling with each other…
Now it’s one year later. My daughter and I went out for a cuppa to celebrate, to quietly honour, such a significant bodily experience and identity shift. She said she doesn’t always appreciate having her period, because she’s an active person and it can feel like it gets in the way. She gifts her blood to the plants in the garden, sharing it around rather than giving it to just one.
I believe we are cycling together for the first time, this month, having come into a slow synchrony. Our drums yet wait to be played together, separated on opposite sides of the world for now. I look forward to that special day…
Blessed to be journeying alongside her, one of the most significant teachers in my life!