I don’t know about you, but I am really enjoying this series and part of me kind of wishes I could ‘binge read’ it…. Right? But, good things come to those who patiently scroll and ingest in stages.
If you’ve ever met me in real life, I have probably got into your bubble and asked a really personal question and got to know you quite quickly – do I remember your name? uhm, I can try to do it, but I have to talk to you longer than 4 minutes to really get it squared away in my mental files. The mom that I’m about to swing the doors open on today was at an event that I went to and she turned out to be a fantastic companion beside me, about 2 years ago (yoh! I can’t believe how time has flown) – and her name stuck because she is such a peaceful soul.
Anyhoo, at these kinds of events, the usual thing to do is exchange social handles and build relationship from then on (should you choose to). We both won prizes that day – which was awesome and those that know me, know how much I like to win #winkwink – so after having an awesome time winning – a funny “brown person” moment happened. (I’m saying this to be kind to any American readers – the term we call ‘our’ particular race in South Africa is ‘coloured’ – yes! Spelt with a u – and we don’t find it offensive at all…..) moving swiftly along – the “brown person” moment.
I think it was a day after the event, she messaged me and said, “I finally realized why I recognized your surname – I’m related to your hubby. My uncle is your hubby’s cousin”
I love that we’re connected like this, but why I say it’s a “brown person” thing – here in the southern part of Africa – before you start a relationship (dating) with anyone, you have to make sure that your families aren’t linked because, let me tell you now – that kind of mix aint going to go down too well genetically. That’s what made me giggle because our world is so small and this is a lesson I’ll have to chat to my children about one day #facepalm.
Since then, we have walked along – meandering through the joys of our individual journeys and peeping in on each other when motherly connections happened. I must admit that I do admire her photography skills and how she captures her everyday with her amazing children – if you haven’t been over to Nicole’s little piece of heaven online – (after reading her story) go and just indulge your visual senses with her gentle approach to parenting, mothering, being a woman and her unique perspective on the many challenges we as women face through our every day.
Now just before you scroll into her unique story as a young girl, becoming a woman – I feel it would be fitting to parenthesize and “knead” the thinking in for this series, that every journey is unique and assumptions, judgments, criticisms or malice have no room when it comes to being in a place of learning, especially from another human being – I have fallen prey to these ugly traits, let me tell you. But questions, suggestions, solutions, open hearts and ones filled with love for another humans experience, are what we need to grow – and would you believe it, even more so towards and from our own children…….
Shoo, that was deep – I didn’t mean to dampen the mood – but I do want you all to cherish these stories, learn from them and take what you can from each one, apply and grow.
Okie, dokes, I now hand over to the gorgeous Nicole and her precious gem, Kirsten.
Can you describe your childhood – being a little girl and what that was like?
Growing up – I was always looking for adventure – I had such a vivid imagination, I remember being a mixture of a real tom-boy and the girliest girl. I loved performing for an audience, putting on ballet shows, singing shows. I always felt the need to do anything creative and this, has to this day, stuck with me my entire life. Growing up as a girl was wonderful –I remember the little things – the smiles, the giggles, the constant need to be in the water – any water, be it a pool or the sea or even a lake/dam – I remember being enthralled in all things. Gymnastics, the sight of an ice cream made my heart beat faster and the sound of the Bashews Lorrie coming to deliver our weekly drinks, was the best! I remember a sense of awe and wonder when looking to the sky and staring at the clouds rolling by.
Did you have anyone in your life talk to you about the changes that were going to happen in your body? if yes, how was that journey for you? if no, what do you wish had been done different?
No I did not. My parents are extremely open – however when it came to these discussions I remember reading about them in a book – not a face to face discussion.
When your body started to change, how did you feel about it?
I was shy and embarrassed, as my body started to mature I felt uncomfortable – I did not enjoy the changes. However, I do remember when things changed – it was when I got my first training bra – I felt on top of the world that day – I wanted to wear that training bra all the time. It made me feel better about my ever growing boobs.
How long did it take you to settle into being fully comfortable with being a woman?
I think that came when I was around 14 years old. I felt like I was finally around other girls who looked as I did and that made me feel comfortable. I think this had to do with the fact that before this, all my friends/peers only started developing around 13/14 years old – I started early from 10/11 – so I always felt out of place.
What products did you use (basic description is fine) and what products that are available now do you wish were available when you were a teen?
I only use disposable pads – I have tried tampons but I cannot get used to them.I see that menstrual cups and cloth pads, as well as hygiene wipes are now available – I wish I’d had access to these when I was a teen.
What has your relationship been like with your daughter with regards to talking about this stage in life?
We have not as yet had the BIG discussion with Kirsten, however she knows a lot already. She knows what menstruation is, she knows how conception works, just not the act of conception. My husband and I have not yet decided on when we will discuss this full-on – but, I do think it will most likely happen very soon.
Do you/Did you feel ready for the transition? Did you recognize the changes as they started happening?
I was never ready to be honest. Kirsten has premature adolescence – which means she started to develop at 8 years old already – her body is two years ahead of time according to the doctors. She started developing even more earlier than I did – it was a complete shock for me, as I was not ready, I though I still had time – I thought I still had my little girl – but she is growing exponentially faster and faster day, by day, and it’s a little overwhelming for me to witness – however I have to remember how this must be for her too. I’ve learnt so much from her – in fact she impresses me everyday – with the amount of understanding she already possesses.
What memories have you made or hope to make around this time? Have you/did you plan specific events or moments to make the change easier for your daughter/s?
I have planned a special celebration and gift/care package for my daughter on the day of her first period. I would like her to feel loved and celebrated and at ease when this day comes. Rather than her feeling like this is a burden I would like her to embrace the fact that she is becoming a woman and all the amazing things that are to come from being a woman of this world. I definitely would like this journey into womanhood to be as gentle and care-free as possible for her.
What do you hope your daughter gains from you as you journey through this stage with her?
I hope she gains better understanding of her body. How her body works, reacts. How her body creates and will eventually bear life. I want to teach her to embrace herself in all her glory – I want her to know that we must change in order to become more – and that growing up into a lady is a beautiful journey of life. I want her to know to protect her body, to love it and to maintain it. I hope she gains self-confidence and self-empowerment from what I have to give her through this experience.
How special, right? I think there are a lot of moms that have the same sense that Nicole shared about “not being ready” – “she’s so young”. Know that you are not alone and there’s a village our here that can hold your hand through the journey – just reach out and we can exchange tips and tricks.
I think also at the heart of Nicole’s concern would be one of Kirsten losing her whimsical innocence once the change happens. I really want to encourage any mom out there that may be feeling this anxiety about this journey – know that your daughter will take her cue from you and there is a way to maintain that beautiful, childlike nature while stepping into the beautiful journey of being a woman.
If you’re looking for an amazing resource to aid you in your journey – check out the book in the giveaway on my instagram.