5 Things to Tell Your Daughter About Becoming a Woman

Commentary

It’s hard for a mom to watch her little girl change day by day into a young woman. Here are five things to tell your daughter when you start those conversations:

By helping her understand her fertility, you’re telling her you trust her. Your daughter must learn about this topic from you. It’s not so much the content of the information as much as how the information is presented that matters. Most teenagers will ignore you if you simply say, “Don’t have sex because it’s wrong, and I said so.” They first need to know how much you love and respect them, and then they will listen.

By helping her understand her fertility, you’re helping her to decide to delay the onset of sexual activity. For a young girl, chastity means waiting until marriage to engage in sexual activity. By understanding that her fertility is created to bring new life into the world, a young woman is more likely to want to do so within marriage and to understand that with this great power comes great responsibility.

By helping her understand her fertility, she’ll gain new respect for you, her mom. When you come together to talk about your fertility — what all women have in common — this allows for a special kind of bond to form between mother and daughter. You can share with her your memories of how you first learned about this aspect of womanhood. She needs to hear this. She’ll realize that she’s not alone.

By helping her understand her fertility, you’ll empower her to recognize problems in her cycle that can reflect an underlying medical problem. When a young woman begins to monitor the signs of her fertility, she understands that her menstrual cycle has a regular rhythm. She’ll begin to be able to confidently predict her mood changes and physical symptoms, and she’ll be able to recognize when her body’s rhythm is off, which could indicate that she needs to be seen by a doctor. It’s important to find a doctor who supports your approach to sexuality and fertility.

By helping her to understand her fertility, you’ll reinforce that sex and babies go hand in hand. Our society, overwhelmingly, teaches our children that the sole purpose of sex is fun and that pregnancy is to be feared. Our daughters should hear from us that when a woman gets pregnant, nothing went wrong; in fact, everything went just right! We’re living in a society riddled with examples of what happens when sex is disconnected from new life. Girls need to hear that their parents have high expectations regarding sexuality and that we expect them to wait until marriage — and why. Travel this road alongside your beautiful daughter. You’ll be so glad you did!

Dr. Susan Caldwell practices internal medicine and pediatrics near New Orleans. She is a wife and mother of three children.

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy