It’s the topic that makes men and boys around the world turn scarlet with embarrassment, but one dad has shown that it’s perfectly possible to view periods as what they are: normal.
The unnamed single father explained in a lengthy Reddit post that he has primary custody of his daughter because his ex-wife works out of town and he’s able to work from home.
“My daughter is ten year[s] old and she just got her first period,” he wrote. “I grew up with sisters and I am not a complete idiot so I had read up on what to do. I had also talked to my mom and sisters about it.”
He continued: “I had been prepared since she was [eight]. I gave her the boxes of pads and tampons. I explained to her that it was normal and healthy. I watched a video with her that was a tutorial on what to do. I also asked her if she would like to talk to either my sister or the woman I'm seeing about how to do everything right.”
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He said the little girl decided to speak to her aunt about it all over the weekend. And, after dinner on Saturday, his sister told him he had “gotten the basics correct and there were only a couple of things she needed to explain or correct”.
However, his ex found out the following day and “yelled at [him] on the phone” for “excluding her from a milestone in her daughter's life.”
The Redditor recalled: “I asked her if it had happened during her week with the kids if she would have told me about it. She said that wasn't the point. It was a mother-daughter thing and that I took it away from her.
“I said it was a parent-kid medical issue and that made it a me thing.”
He ended his statement by asking if he had been an “a**hole” for not immediately informing his ex of the development, adding: “I am a man so maybe I just don't get it.”
But streams of commentators were quick to reassure him that he really did get it.
“Seriously, if every father/brother/man etc treated their daughters/sisters/ etc with such respect, the world would be such a better place,” one wrote.
While another said: “I absolutely [detest] the idea that this should only be a mother/daughter activity, that tampons/pads should be hidden so the boys won’t see, refusing to let Dads be a part of the discussion (as long as the child is comfortable), etc. We need to normalize periods; they’re a part of life that’s absolutely unavoidable.
“My dad would take me for supplies (including chocolate!) and I felt no shame in letting him know if I happened to be on my period or was experiencing terrible cramping. I felt supported and safe through the process, and he was actually a LOT better than my mom.”
Scores of other Redditors weighed in with happy memories of their fathers, with one writing: “I started my period unexpectedly when my mom was in the hospital after giving birth to my little sister, and my dad handled everything.
“He bought me pads, he checked to make sure I knew what to do [...] and he even bought me plenty of chocolate and made me brownies because ‘your mom likes this so I thought you might too’.”
They added: “We need more men who will do this for the women in their lives.”
However, others had been forced to endure less positive experiences.
“I wish I had your dad instead of mine,” one wrote. “Mine sent 14-year-old me crying, red-faced, and embarrassed into the store to get my own because ‘I was gonna have to buy them myself eventually anyway’."
A second commented: “[I was] raised super religious and my first period at 11 was handled pretty much the way it was in Carrie by Stephen King. My mother was absolutely HORRIBLE to me. I had no idea what was happening to me.”
Meanwhile, a third struck a note of optimism when looking towards the future: “I'm a trans guy, my partner is a tentatively cis man. I remember how my first period was handled (read: I was told nothing of it until it happened at school and I was terrified and got a pamphlet from the school nurse. Nothing else.)
“I cannot wait to not only do it much better for any children I have that menstruate, and to do so as a man.”
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