New Norwich coming of age course for mums and daughters tackles period myths and misconceptions
PUBLISHED: 19:00 26 February 2020
Is menstruation magical? Should periods and puberty be celebrated? Two Norfolk mums are helping mothers and daughters banish myths, break taboos and explore the joys and challenges of being a woman.
When Kerry Dolan wanted to talk to her daughter about puberty she realised the subject was fraught with misinformation and embarrassment - and decided to do something about it.
She and a friend are now running special coming-of-age course for mothers and daughters. The first was fully booked, the next is filling up fast.
"We are finally living in a world where women and girls are beginning to be heard. With role models like Greta Thumberg and Malala Yousafszai, girls are demonstrating just how powerful they can be. But traversing puberty is still a challenging time and there are a lot of myths, misconceptions and taboos around menstruation," said Kerry.
Inspired by traditions from around the world, as well as their own training and experience working with adolescents, friends and colleagues Kerry, a hypnotherapist specialising in women's health and wellbeing, who lives in Hellesdon, near Norwich, and Charlotte Evans, of Norwich, a nutritional therapist and women's health coach, devised a course for girls and mothers to talk about their changing bodies and roles.
Each nine session Mother-Daughter Circle is centred around the chance to share, listen and learn. There are games, crafts and cake alongside discussions, meditations, and information about puberty, menstrual cycles and products, healthy relationships, staying safe and being assertive, photoshopped advertising and social media pictures, all while navigating sometimes turbulent emotions and complex teen culture.
"There are lots of these groups springing up to cater for a need for a more personal introduction to adulthood than schools can provide," said Kerry. "I looked at my own daughters and realised that, whilst they had a lot of excellent female role models, there wasn't anyone else talking openly with them about what it was really like to have a menstrual cycle, to have children, to have a career and manage relationships."
Eleven-year-old Lucia attended with her mum and said: "It's so fun and you can just can share anything, and you feel like no one is going to go back and say anything to people you know outside the circle. The best bit is all the crafts we did. It feels really nice to be there with your mum. You should totally do this, it is the best thing ever!"
A mum, Catherine, said: "It's been such a wonderful time for me and my daughter to bond, it creates talking points that we can then go home and discuss further together, she feels safe to ask the questions she may not have asked otherwise, and I'm so happy to have such an open, honest and nurturing relationship with her as she goes into her teenage years. This circle will be something I think we will remember and cherish for the rest of our lives.'
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Charlotte said some of the most common menstruation myths and misconceptions she has come across are:
Periods are always horrid and painful.
You loose at least a mug full of blood each day.
You loose your virginity if you use tampons.
Tampons can get lost inside you.
If you have painful periods you just have to put up with it.
Mother-Daughter Circles are for girls aged nine to 12 and their mother or closest female figure. An introductory two hour session for mums is followed by eight fortnightly meetings for mothers and daughters.
The next course, at Inner Space, St Benedict's, Norwich, begins on March 3. For further information and to book visit themother-daughterway.co.uk
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