As a mom to brand-new baby girl, it’s been on my mind a lot what I can do to raise a daughter whose hormones are balanced. How can I help her avoid some of the pains I experienced?
When it comes down to it, we all want the best for our children. We don’t want them to suffer from painful periods or infertility or miscarriage or even the less obvious symptoms of hormone imbalances such as eczema or insomnia.
We can’t protect our children from everything. As much as our mommy hearts would love to, it’s impossible to make the world a perfect place for them.
But we can take what we know to teach them and help them make smart decisions for themselves.
Here are 3 things I plan to do to help my daughter grow up with healthy, balanced hormones.
1. Educate her about her body
I know so many women (myself included) who reached adulthood knowing the bare minimum about how their bodies work. And I was a nerdy encyclopedia reader… But somehow the details of the female body eluded me.
We know we get periods so we can have babies. We know we have vaginas and uteruses, but beyond that it’s like we’re shrouded in some kind of mystery.
Why don’t we talk about our bodies? Maybe it’s because our reproductive organs are hidden away from view, unlike those of our male counterparts.
I sometimes wonder if some of the fertility problems I dealt with later in life could have been avoided if I’d had more knowledge going into adulthood.
So in what specific ways can we educate our daughters?
Correct names for her body parts.
This goes beyond “vagina” (which is correct only for the birth canal). We may use other, more specific words as she gets older, but for now the words we’re using in our house are “vulva” and “vagina.”
Honestly, it still feels weird to say the words. (“Penis” came a whole lot easier with my firstborn.) But it’s important.
Knowing correct body parts will help our children be more comfortable learning about how their bodies work. They’ll be able to tell us when there’s a problem. And it can help protect them from sexual abuse.
The different phases of her cycle.
I remember how confused I was as a teenager and young adult about the fertile fluid my cervix produced every month around ovulation. I didn’t realize it was normal and thought there was something wrong with me.
By the time my daughter has her first period, I want her to know how her body works during each phase of her cycle.
It will start out at a high level, but eventually she should know about the hormones that affect the different phases, what “normal” should look like, and what kinds of signs she might see if things aren’t normal.
I don’t want her to worry, like I did, that there’s something wrong with her body when it’s just doing what it was designed to do. If she has questions, I want her to know that she can come to me because I’ve set the stage by being open with her.
And telling her what to expect can help her catch problems early if there are any. The earlier you catch a problem, the sooner you can do something about it.
So if she does notice a sign that something is not normal we can start acting on it right away.
Factors that can negatively affect her hormones.
Toxic ingredients in personal care products or hormonal birth control or even the food she chooses to eat can all negatively affect her hormone balance.
I’ve personally seen firsthand the way these disruptors can affect a woman’s body. That’s not something I want for my daughter. So I intend to teach her the keys of natural hormone balance.
2. Teach her about healthy diet and exercise
I don’t want my daughter to obsess about her appearance or weight. What I do want is to emphasize healthy habits that will make her body and mind strong.
A very common modern hormone imbalance is excess estrogen. Since estrogen is stored in fat cells, estrogen dominance is even more common in people who are carrying extra weight.
The fat cells hold on to that extra estrogen, resulting in a hormonal imbalance. Maintaining a healthy weight is key to keeping your hormones balanced.
We’re not perfect around here–snack foods sneak in way too often. And sometimes we make a pretty good effort to keep the local Chick-fil-A in business.
But I do work hard overall to emphasize a healthy diet that is full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and clean animal products. We eat organic when we can.
Regular physical activity also goes a long way toward keeping the whole body healthy. I want to emphasize to my daughter that exercise doesn’t have to feel like punishment.
Exercise can be fun and bonding. We take walks together as a family and go outside to play. We run around at the playground and ride bikes. Any kind of movement counts.
3. Fill our home with safe, clean products
One of the most frustrating parts of my own journey toward natural hormone balance was finding safe personal care products.
Bear with me a minute because this might sound a little crazy. But I’m often reminded of the television show Stargate. In the episode titled “2010” (Season 4), an alien culture attempts to sabotage Earth’s population by making humans infertile.
If I were a bit more suspicious I’d feel like that’s what’s happening here. Sometimes it feels like every single product on the grocery store shelves contains ingredients that affect hormone balance.
Makeup, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and others often contain parabens or phthalates. Studies show that these chemicals can disrupt hormone balance.
What you use matters too.
It’s not just the products that your daughter uses that matter for her hormone health. It matters what’s in your makeup and other products too. Your physical contact with your daughter exposes her to the same ingredients that are on your skin.
I can remember putting on my mom’s makeup and lotions when I was a little girl so I could be “just like mommy.” (OK, let’s be honest. I still do it when I visit her.) It’s so important that the products you’re using for your whole family are safe and healthy.
Are your cleaners really clean?
Cleaning supplies are another huge offender, including all-purpose cleaners, dish detergent, laundry detergent, and so on.
Most contain some nasty chemicals that not only affect hormone balance but can also cause other issues, such as birth defects, cancer, and more. That’s why it’s crucial to check the labels on your cleaning supplies.
Check her monthly products
Even the products that your daughter uses for her period can be problematic. Conventional pads and tampons contain chemicals that can negatively affect the body.
I use cloth pads (aka “mama cloth”) and a menstrual cup. It saves money, and I avoid the bleach and artificial fibers in conventional pads and tampons.
I do know from experience that it can be extremely difficult and time-consuming to research and find products that are safe for your family. I’ve spent countless hours doing the research, trying to figure out what’s safe and what isn’t.
Then I’ve followed up that research with what feels like hours of standing in the grocery store aisle. I’ve painstakingly chosen something I thought was safe, only to take it home and realize there was an ingredient I’d overlooked.
I know it’s frustrating. That’s one of the reasons I personally buy Young Living products for all my family’s personal care needs. I trust their products to be clean and safe for my family, and their product line is diverse enough to cover nearly all of our needs.
The world is far from perfect. Our daughters will make their own mistakes and face their own struggles. But I plan to do what I can to make the journey more enjoyable for my little girl.
As moms we have a huge responsibility to raise children who are kind and healthy. When we keep the lines of communication open and talk to them about the important things, I think we’re well on our way.
My plan is to educate my daughter about her body and healthy diet and exercise, as I fill my home with non-toxic products that will support her body rather than tear it down.
How about you? What do you think are the most important keys to raising daughters with healthy hormones?
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