• Catherine Hansen MD, MPH

What if this were your daughter?

Updated: Jan 28, 2020

I recall the very day that my menstrual period started in grade 6. It was a wonderful day for me. I had anticipated, with great excitement, the day that I would finally be "all grown up." And when it arrived, I was prepared both psychologically (as best I could be) and physically. I had become a woman! My friends and my health teacher had feminine hygiene products that I could use and my mother had given me loving instruction on how to use pads. Her pads had belts but I got the point and I felt comfortable using protection and asking for the help that I needed.

From a young age, I had been empowered to love my body and all the beauty it was capable of, one of the reasons that I wanted to become a gynecologist:)

My twin girls have kept a small, dainty, feminine hygiene kit at school all year. Sadly, a few "bullies" at school made fun of them for having pads at school. They even tried to steal the makeup bag from their locker to humiliate them but, as a family, we were grateful for the opportunity to discuss both bullies and menstruation in the same conversation!

Today I want us to imagine a young girl, with natural insecurities about her changing body. Imagine her response as people start to see her differently. She's no longer cute, instead she smells funny. She has emotions she doesn't understand and feels alone a lot of the time. No one understands her and she is scared. Daddy stops hugging her the same way and Mommy starts warning her of dangers she can't even imagine. She'd rather be playing in the sandbox than learning how to hide her shame.

But the shame is overwhelming.

She has started her period and she has no idea what to do. Her mother is terrified for her safety after this sign of womanhood arrives, knowing men in her community will see it as a sign of maturity and permission to use her young body. Her father grieves the loss of his little girl and she can't figure out what she did wrong. Her sister is busy with boys and her brother doesn't want to play with her anymore.

The blood keeps coming and the only outfit she has is now damaged irreparably.

She has nowhere to turn.

In some communities she is forced to live away from the family or even under the house until the bleeding stops. Sometimes she is required to sit on cardboard for days and no one brings her food or water. There is no way to clean herself and the odor makes everyone stay away.

She is so lonely that she sits and cries.

Sadly, this is reality for many, many young girls in the developing world. And this reality is the impetus behind the creation of Days For Girls.

Our very own, Empowered Women's Circle leader, Carolina Batres engages with the Friendswood Chapter of Days For Girls and needs YOUR help and support.

These young girls NEED YOUR SUPPORT! The passion we share for helping women & girls around the world is one of the threads that bind our Circle & we are sincerely interested in understanding what fuels your heart too!

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