Do you remember your middle school or high school reproductive health class?
When I think back to my education about periods and “How babies are made” my memories are brief. I can remember short parts of videos or awkward condom demonstrations and disgusting pictures of STDs. Does this sound familiar to you?
Last month, my 9-year-old daughter was able to attend the Guiding Star Cycle Show. I am grateful to have been teaching this workshop for 9-13-year-old girls for the past 2 years.
The biggest question I get about the Guiding Star Cycle Show is, “Why is it 5-hours long?” As an instructor, frankly I felt the same in the beginning. But it wasn’t until my daughter experienced the Cycle Show that I was able to understand the value of the entire narrative that I missed in my early education about the miracle of life and how each one of us came into being!
When we give young people bits and pieces of information throughout their development, oftentimes they are left with a lot of holes in the story and are expected to put together all of the pieces and understand this very complex concept of how their lives began, how their bodies work and how to go about navigating their health and fertility in a world that is confused and asking the same questions right along with them.
This was me at 31 years old with my first baby, wondering if there was a better way to space our children instead of the birth control pill. I wondered why family planning was so confusing and why I couldn’t put everything together for myself after reading a book about charting my natural cycles. I only had one friend that I knew who followed her natural signs of fertility to plan her family. Why was this such a foreign topic?
In May of 2011, I sat down with my husband and almost 8-month-old baby girl and listened to the Introductory Session of the Creighton Model FertilityCare System. I was in awe that all of the information and the complete narrative overview of our natural fertility were able to be presented in a 90-minute presentation!
All the pieces in my adult mind came together and I was finally able to understand how a natural method of family planning could work for me.
Fast forward 10 years and that little baby who was sitting on my only lap is now 9 years old! She is so very interested in all of the changes beginning in her body and she knows how beautiful she has been created. There is much to teach her and I know she has a lifetime to learn, however, I believe she deserves an excellent and comprehensive overview of “How babies are made” and why the changes in her body are occurring now as she enters puberty.
I shared some parts of the changes she will experience and a bit about what we call the “Equation of Life” at home but then she wanted to know;
“Mom, how does the sperm get into the woman?”
I told her that it was a really great question and that she would learn this in the Cycle Show. You see, I really wanted my daughter to learn about sex in the context of the entire narrative of the miracle of life. In the Cycle Show, there is a 30-second mention of the act of intercourse so the girls are not confused about how this happens. At the age of 9-13 years old, I don’t believe it is the time to sit and have long discussions about the act of sex itself, but in the context of the whole story of the miracle of life, the girls are able to understand how a baby is created and how they came into being themselves. If I had breached this conversation on its own at home I would then be at the mercy of her continuous questions about the act of sex itself. It would be outside of the context of the big picture of why this is important for us all to understand; the concept of the beginning of life and why our natural normal ovulation cycles happen.
Will my daughter remember every detail of the 5-hour Cycle Show? Of course not!
But, She has been given the gift of learning the entire narrative of how a baby is made and why the changes in her body are happening. As she experiences the different changes we can talk and reflect back to the Cycle Show and how this change fits into the rest of what is happening in her body. And as different topics come up in conversation, news, or media we can have an open discussion with a great foundation that has already been laid. We also have the book “What is Going on in My Body” by the Cycle Show author Dr. Elizabeth Raith-Paula. The book has all of the same language from the Cycle Show workshop and we can continue the conversation together.
Knowing that my daughter has received this comprehensive overview we can now dive into conversations about ways to care for the exciting Cycle Show that her body is practicing to perform in her body each month. When the times in her development come to talking about relationships and sex, the conversations will be in the context of her full understanding and we can have an open discussion with correct vocabulary and dialogue.
Would you be interested in hearing Abbey’s thoughts on what she learned at the Guiding Star Cycle Show? She participated in a very candid interview in my Moms of Healthy, Whole Preteen, and Teen Facebook group last week. If you have a daughter you are welcome to join the group and listen to the replay.
If you would like to learn more about the Guiding Star Cycle Show or hear the entire narrative of the miracle of life for yourself you can register for the next monthly Parent Presentation Webinar. You can also Follow the Guiding Star Cycle Show on Facebook and Instagram!