A mother shares her experience of her competitive swimmer daughter coming of age

She is 11, 12, 13, 14… questions were asked.  Has she hit puberty? Not yet?  WOW that’s late.  Finally she did get her period and I did not know, if I was relieved or upset or elated.

Relived due to the social pressure.  Upset as initially I thought  it was a pain to deal with and elated as it means that one day I could be a grandparent.

Whilst these are probably the emotions every mother has the difference here was the fact that my kid is into competitive swimming. Here is a bit on how my kid and I dealt with it.

As any competitive sport, training is rigorous and sometimes punishing.  Again while a period is any other day in the life of a girl/woman, for a swimmer does it get different?

I say not really.  Like all they too may cramp, have nausea, feel bloaty or just nothing.

The difference is the swimmer worries if she is “leaking”  and whether she will show in the water.

Again this is mostly an unfounded fear.  Whilst swimming the swimmer cannot leak.

While earlier a swimmer just depended on the knowledge of not leaking in water, but having a Lactic Training or Critical Velocity session could have been traumatic as it may mean standing outside the water waiting for your turn.

This tension, also applied during competitions, as the girl has to be in a racing suit, which cannot be put or taken of easily, as the time of the race cannot be predicted.   After all a child should be focused on her impending race or the practice she is doing rather than wondering what is happening to her body.

Today, however,  there are the tampons and menstrual cups.

Prior to a child hitting menarche [ 1st period] my suggestion is that you ensure that your child is educated properly about mensuration.

Ensure your child is aware it is as natural as breathing.  There is NOTHING dirty about  it. Contra studies have shown that a women who menstruates actually gets a better chance of detoxing herself as against those who don’t.

Let your child be ready to embrace the changes in her life. 

Let your child be ready to treat the changes as part of her everyday living. 

Let your child know that having a period is not the reason to stop any activity more so swimming.

Also educate your child about hygiene. Its best practice for the child/swimmer to keep herself absolutely clean, prior to entering into the water and keep her hands sanitized, while using a pad/tampon/cup.

I would also suggest that you consider getting the child to get used to a tampon or a cup, so the child is free to stand out of the water, move however or wherever she wants whilst having her period.

Let your child be comfortable to go with the flow rather than treating it as a period.

Swimming Matters, towards enabling a billion Indians to enjoy swimming safely and correctly has partnered with Menstrual Hygiene Day to spread awareness on menstrual hygiene during swimming.

#Menstruationmatters #NOMoreLimits #TransformingIndianSwimming #billionindiansenjoyswimming #MHDAY2018

 

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Chetana is a mother to a 14 year old competitive swimmer

1 Comment

  1. It’s a really good and informative article. And I’m glad this has been written. There are so many myths related to swimming and this is a one of the biggest myths and reasons why alot of girls/women eventually leave swimming. I hope this spreads the much needed awareness.

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