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Like many parents, I frequently have an audience while in the bathroom. It started when my daughter and son were babies. I brought them along in order to keep an eye on them. With my daughter it was because she was my first and I was hyper-vigilant about attending to her. With my son it was mostly to make sure his toddler sister didn't draw on him or something.
Now that my daughter is potty-trained and attends preschool, she's starting to understand the concept of privacy. While I prefer to go to the bathroom in peace, I find it's easier to deal with visitors by leaving the door unlocked (or heck, even slightly ajar) rather than risk the frantic door pulling and knocking. That piece of wood doesn't stop the barrage of questions anyway.
With the bathroom being the second most popular place for me to hangout with my kids, it was only a matter of time before they began asking me personal questions. We've taught them proper terms for all of their body parts and the kids love to identify them any chance they get. Overall, it doesn't phase me.
Once I finally got my period back 13 months after having my second child, initially I insisted on privacy. I was afraid it would scare them. It didn't seem like something they should see. Of course, my kids still tried to follow me into the bathroom every chance they got. I was still using pads at the time, so it wasn't too hard to conceal what was going on if they wandered in. They asked a few questions, mostly wanting to know if I was OK and if I had an owie.
Considering I didn't know much about menstrual cycles until I was nearly ready to start mine, I figured it was better to begin teaching them about it early.
That all changed when I switched to a Diva Cup. There's a bit of a learning curve for using it, and I required privacy and no children pounding on the door or shouting for me while inserting it. It's significantly more intimate than a pad, and more intriguing, apparently.
One day, out of habit, I didn't lock the door. Both of my children paraded into the bathroom as I was removing my Diva Cup. Their questions were amusing and caught me off guard. They ranged from asking if I took it out of my butt to wondering if it was a removable vagina.
Considering I didn't know much about menstrual cycles until I was nearly ready to start mine, I figured it was better to begin teaching them about it early. I think it's important for my children to grow up comfortable and knowledgeable about their bodies. I had to stop considering it a taboo topic and approach it the same way I did everything else related to their bodies.
Sometimes it feels a little weird having an audience when attending to my cup, but both of my children are learning periods are not scary. That their bodies are not scary or shameful. My daughter has asked if she'll get a period too, so we talked about how our bodies change as we grow up. I also want my kids to be aware of menstrual care choices. I remember being overwhelmed the first time I tried to pick out pads and tampons on my own. (And my poor dad seemed just as confused on what to get!)
I wasn't even aware of menstrual cups until after my daughter was born, but it took a few more years before I was willing to try something different. I was uncomfortable and slightly grossed out about the idea of using one. Hopefully by letting my kids see my cup and answering their questions, it'll normalize this part of life.
If nothing else, it's opened the door for lots of future conversations. Some parents have the car for tough topics, but we have the bathroom.