The Empowering Way Black Moms Are Celebrating Their Daughters’ First Periods
Most girls get their first period between 12 and 13 years old, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. On the other hand, Black girls tend to menstruate earlier than girls of other races. Because of this, there is a growing trend in the black community to celebrate the occasion with what’s known as a “first moon party.”
While first moon parties originally popped up because people believed that menstrual cycles synced with the moon’s lunar phases. A theory that has been, of course, disproven.
However, today the ritual is seen as a rite of passage that instills values, principles, and, knowledge of young girls’ self, explains Sesheta Tafari, a certified holistic doula based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Traditionally, first moon parties are held anytime during the first year of a girl’s menstrual cycle, says Dr. Oleka.
The Importance of Celebrating Menstruation
First, it’s important to note that all girls react to menstruation differently. Some are aware of it, anticipate every single change, and are vocal about it. Others are horrified, ignore it, and pretend like it isn’t happening. But it’s still essential to recognize the meaning of life transitions.
There can be a lot of anxiety and negativity projected onto menstruation. Often, that develops from the experiences surrounding that very first period.
Celebrations are also a way to help a girl feel confident in their changing body and proud of what their body can do.
Below, experts provide tips on how to host an in-person or virtual celebration.
Seek Out Educational Resources
The first moon party should have 2 goals:
Help your daughter feel proud of her body.
Reduce the fear and anxiety experienced by the unknown.
To do this, you might gather information from books, YouTube videos, or conversations with trusted medical professionals to share with her. You’ll want to provide options for menstrual products, including organic, natural, and non-toxic options for womb health; teach your child what normal and abnormal periods are; and inform her about the importance of a healthy diet and proper body care.
When it comes to the invite list, the people at the party matter. Gather female family members who are willing to discuss their first experience openly to offer words of wisdom. Also, ask her friends to tell stories of how they started menstruating. By doing so, you’re creating a safe space for another young girl who needs encouragement.
Consider presenting your daughter with a first-period kit, which encourages empowerment, not shames around menstruation. Also, when it comes to what to include in the kit, focus on what she is worried about most when it comes to menstruation, and think of ways to ease those fears, says Dr. Oleka.
Make her a personalized box, things she might like or need most. For instance, a box of pads, chocolate, a bottle of water, and a congratulatory card with a handwritten message are always good picks, too.
Remember: It’s Her Party
Make sure the first moon party reflects who your daughter is—and who she is becoming. If the party is planned, include her in the overall execution of the party theme, decor, games, and party favors, suggests Dr. Oleka.