For a parent, it’s such a wonderful experience watching your sweet little daughter budding into a beautiful woman. Isn’t it?
Each stage of your child’s development is a remarkable experience for you. And each stage passing through smoothly is a milestone achieved. That’s how you feel. Isn’t it? It’s a similar feeling for all the mothers. I know it well because I am a mother too.
Not a little while ago, your daughter, playing around, would come running and hug you tightly or jump into your lap and cajole you to play with her. No sooner, she was a cute little girl playing with her dolls, has now stepped into adolescence.
Growing into an adolescent
As your daughter grew up into an adolescent, along came, many questions and doubts in your mind when your daughter started behaving differently.
The other day my best friend called me to ask if I had noticed any significant change in my daughter’s behavior when she attained puberty.
The reason for asking so was that she did notice some changes in her daughter during her menstruation and wanted to know if that was normal and if I too had experienced the same.
She said that her daughter remains gloomy, doesn’t interact much with others, and if coaxed to talk, she gets irritated. She feels lethargic, doesn’t like to move around, and shows bouts of mood swings.
It was kind of disturbing for my friend to witness sudden changes in her daughter. I believe, most mothers notice puberty related changes and are concerned when they see their daughters distressed.
Most mothers must also be wondering if this is normal, or there is something to be concerned about.
Well, let us try to understand it this way:
What happens when your daughter reaches puberty?
Puberty is a period during which your body changes from being a child to being an adult.
- It begins when your child approaches early teens.
- It is during this period that your adolescent reaches sexual maturity and develops the ability to have children.
- Puberty can start when your daughter is anywhere between the ages of 8-13 years, though sometimes it can approach earlier or later too.
- But often the initial transformations start happening around 10 or 11 years, in girls.
You might as well have observed these changes in your daughter:
- Experiencing ‘growth spurts, i.e. your daughter picks up height, suddenly due to an increase in certain hormones.
- Her body is becoming curvaceous. She is gaining weight on her hips, and her breasts are developing.
- She has started getting hairier on arms and legs and must have noticed growing new hair under her arms and in the pubic area.
- She is sweating more and becoming a bit smellier. As you enter puberty, the puberty hormones affect glands in your skin, and the glands produce chemicals, that cause body odor in teenagers.
- Her skin has become oilier, and pimples and acne have started appearing.
- During the stage of puberty, there are rapid developments of hormones in her body, which work on her ovaries as well as on her adrenal glands, so that they build more of the female sex hormones – estrogen, progesterone, and androgens.
Well, being a woman, you have undergone the stage of puberty and are well aware of what it is.
Is your daughter depressed during menstruation
During the stage of adolescence, your child undergoes several changes both physically and emotionally, due to which you could experience some changes in her too
Since your daughter has just entered adolescence, she might not be aware of what changes are happening in her body as this whole process must be new and confusing for her.
Where puberty is more about bodily changes, adolescence is the period of psychological and social transition between childhood and adulthood.
The onset of menstruation
By this age, your teenage daughter’s menstruation cycle must have started, and so have the problems and concerns related to it.
Menstruation is a process in which a woman is bleeding through the vagina, from the lining of the uterus. It happens about once a month, starting from the stage of puberty until you reach menopause.
Menstruation is also known as having a period. A girl can start her period anytime between the ages of 8 and 15.
What happens during the menstruation?
It is a normal process, that females go through as their bodies prepare themselves for a potential pregnancy. During this cycle, your hormones cause the lining of the uterus thickened, getting ready in case of pregnancy. Your hormones also cause an egg to be released from an ovary. This process is known as ovulation.
If you don’t become pregnant, your periods start about two weeks after you ovulate. This discharging process lasts about 3-5 days.
What are the signs and symptoms of menstruation?
Before the onset of the menstruation cycle, your daughter may experience symptoms and signs which may include:
- headache, pain in the lower abdomen, tiredness, acne, bloating, mood changes, diarrhea, and breast soreness.
- Mood swings, stress and anxiety.
- These symptoms may or may not occur to your daughter, because it varies from person to person.
- Moreover, these symptoms are not something to be worried about as they are likely to fade away as soon as the periods are over.
What bothers most mothers is – Is their daughter depressed during menstruation?
How you can help your daughter deal with the emotional changes during menstruation.
During this period your daughter must be undergoing various emotional and psychological changes, which she might be striving hard to get adjusted to. Experts have a belief that these emotional changes occur due to fluctuating hormone levels.
Let’s see how you can help her:
1. When she is anxious
While your daughter’s body is adjusting to all the new hormones, so is her mind.
- She might be having strong emotions and feeling confused, all that she has never experienced before.
- She may be feeling anxious and may have questions about why menstruation happens, ‘why is her body changing’, ‘how her changing body looks like’, and so on.
I could sense the same in the case of my daughter when she was menstruating, as she looked gloomy, and stressed.
I consoled her and so should you to your daughter by assuring that these sudden physical changes occurring to her body are normal and it’s a part of a growing process. Boost her confidence by saying that she is turning in to a fine lady, and gradually moving towards adulthood to become more responsible for her life.
2. When her mood swings
Sometimes, during her menstruation, it might be difficult for her to deal with her emotions.
- She might have started appearing ‘moody’ and might be overly sensitive or become easily upset.
- She might be losing her temper more than usual and get angry at her family members or friends.
While she can find it difficult to adjust in the beginning, it will gradually become easier for her to manage her emotions. Take her into your confidence and assure her that you are always there for her if she ever wants to share the burden of how she is feeling.
Not only you, if she is comfortable sharing it with her friend, older sibling, or a school counselor, either way, it’s fine. All that matters, is her expressing and sharing out her anxiety. This will help her to co-relate her situation with others who have gone through this before.
3. When she is depressed during menstruation
Feeling depressed, sad, or anxious is common among women before and during their periods.
- Your daughter might feel like crying and can’t even figure out what’s wrong.
- As menstruation and ovulation can cause rise and fall in hormone levels, throughout the month, it can affect the way how your daughter perceives, both physically and emotionally.
- These fluctuations of hormones are the reasons why her emotions may be chaotic for weeks before her period. These feelings are often a part of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
If your daughter is feeling depressed and stressed, counsel her to understand that Premenstrual Symptoms (PMS), occasional heavy bleeding, and cramps are all, part of normal periods, and there is nothing to be concerned about.
Help her relate to you that you too have undergone this situation during your adolescence, and these symptoms may gradually subside over a while as she grows up in years.
You can even persuade her to talk to her close friend to make her feel better, as her friends also might be going through the same sort of experiences as she is.
4. Include Nutritious food in her diet
You can do a few more things to ease her PMS symptoms.
- It’s important for your daughter to take a balanced diet which includes all the nutrients – protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
- Consume plenty of water, and avoid caffeine and carbonated drinks like tea, coffee, and colas.
- Avoid processed snacks like chips and wafers.
- Reduce the amount of salt intake in her diet.
- Be sure that her diet contains food rich in iron and zinc, as women are likely to become anemic and feel lethargic, due to loss of blood during menstruation.
5. Set up a sleep routine.
Sufficient and sound sleep is vital for your daughter’s health.
- Irregular sleep can add more to her stress and hormonal imbalance during menstruation.
- Set up a sleep routine so that she feels energetic throughout the day.
7. If her periods are painful
Occasionally, periods can be painful to your daughter and may cause cramps.
- Heating pads or warm baths can help her with cramps.
- Regular exercise can cause cramps less painful and help her with PMS symptoms.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help, but I suggest you not to take pain killers unless otherwise prescribed by your physician.
8. When to consult a doctor or a psychologist
Sometimes, Pre-Menstrual Symptoms (PMS) can lead to extreme depression and hopelessness in your child.
If you notice that PMS symptoms and her periods are hindering her regular activities and keeping her home from school, then it’s time for you to speak to her doctor and follow the suggestions. Her doctor can suggest ways to help her feel better.
At the end of the day, no one can understand your daughter and her problems better than you. Help your adolescent child to manage her stress during menstruation, as you are the closest friend she can have.
Disclaimer: The views expressed and suggestions are given by a caring mother like you and are true to the best her knowledge. It is not advised by any doctor. Please seek medical help if required.
Krishna is a Management graduate in Human Resource. She is an avid reader, knowledge seeker, and an adoring mother of two lovely kids.