Life

A Fun, Safe Way to Learn about Menstruation with Yadah's Box

By Atinuke | Jul 29, 2022

Grace was 11 when her period started, pushing her into the unending cycle of being a woman. My editor said she started hers around 9 years old and was absolutely clueless about it until some senior girls helped her out. 

At what point should we begin to educate children about menstrual cycles and the other intricacies of the reproductive system?

"I had a general idea of what it was because of school, but I was not well prepared. My mum found out after doing my laundry and was upset that I didn't talk to her about it, but it didn't seem like something we could talk about, so I tried to figure it out by myself," Grace told Document Women. "I used tissue at first, then I got pads from the sick bay at school, and my mum got some for me when she found out."

While Grace did not know what tampons or menstrual cups were, as they are not conventional options in Nigeria, she knew about pads. 

"I learned to use pads through trial and error and from the Always ads on TV." 

Like Grace, many of us knew nothing or next to nothing about periods when we first got ours. Children may be reluctant to talk to their parents about their experience because they do not know what it is, are scared, or do not know how to speak to their parents about it due to said ignorance and fear. 

Most girls start their periods between the ages of about 10 and 15, with some girls getting their first period as early as 8, so it is essential to talk to girls early to ensure they are prepared.

Using clear language like "vagina" and "menstruation" instead of indirect variations conveys the message that those words are not taboo or shameful and do not need to be expressed clandestinely. Parents should also familiarise their children with period care products and how to use them properly. Conversations on the subject should be open and honest as there is a need to destigmatise periods, a normal and natural part of life for half the world's population. 

It is also necessary to teach children about reproduction and contraceptives. Doing so correctly equips them for adult life and will help them take better care of themselves, make informed decisions and avoid misinformation about sex as they grow older.

Learning resources that combine informativeness with fun are more likely to hold the attention of children just starting their menstrual cycles. 

Document Women spoke to Praise Oluwarinu, the Founder/Owner of Yadah's Box, about their new product, "The Period Talk Game", a fun learning resource to teach young girls about their menstrual cycles in a safe, engaging and educative way. 

"I started Yadah's Box because of how tiring periods were for me personally. I've had endometriosis all my adult life, so I hated periods," Praise said. "I figured that as much as I couldn't do away with endometriosis completely, I could find a way to make periods easier, and that's how I started Yadah's Box."

 

A few months ago, Yadah's Box launched the "My First Period Care Box", targeted at young girls just starting their cycles. "We got recurring feedback from parents or guardians who bought the boxes and didn't know how to teach their girls about periods. So I decided to work on a more robust resource to help with that."

For Praise, removing shame was an integral part of making the product. We're familiar with pads and menstrual products being wrapped discreetly at pharmacies, girls gathering and ushering themselves away because of a stain. 

We're familiar with the general hush hush tones we take on when many women discuss periods. Conversations around menstruation have been softened to metaphors like “Aunt Flo." 

"Two things were core to our development process: removing the idea of shame and making periods simple. And so, we simplified the various topics around periods and phrased the questions in realistic and fun ways to achieve that. The tips provided will help stir their learning process correctly, so all players have the right knowledge about periods," Praise added.

Due to the lack of education about menstruation and access to menstrual products, millions of girls around the world have no idea what happens to them when they get their first period, and how to manage it safely and hygienically. 

The United Nations Human Rights Commission notes that 500 million women and girls don’t have the things they need to manage their periods safely, hygienically, and free from embarrassment.

In addition to how periods and shame go together, there's also “period poverty." where women cannot access the basic materials needed to manage it, like menstrual products, private spaces, or even adequate water. 

Document Women covered Period Poverty in May, where a study revealed that 60 per cent of interviewed girls were embarrassed to buy menstrual products and 45 per cent were unable to afford them.

 

 

Editors note; To learn more about the Period Talk Game and other thoughtfully curated menstrual care items, you can find them @yadahsbox across all social media platforms.