There is a small amount confusion amongst us mothers from my part of the world. First has been the relief that we can now claim to have ‘seat’ in our husband’s family as a bride is not considered a wife until she has what is called the fruits of the womb. We also have a saying that a bad child belongs to the mother while a good child is the one that has not pointed to his father’s house with his left hand never mind if the child is left handed or not. The world we are now a global village and so we are expected to be part of a global community with our diverse cultures and customs. This is the rub where the old and the new seem to have a divergence of opinion. My mother will tell you that you must do it as it was done in her grandmother’s time if we do not want to eat unripe fruits that will set our teeth on edge! By translation therefore discussion on sex is completely off.
In the old days it was enough for you to announce that your monthly cycle had started for you to be given half hints, innuendoes and unfinished sentences. That was the best you would from your mother or aunts about the meaning of monthly cycle, what it means to you and what you were to expect. You were pretty much left to get the answers yourselves. The dictum was, nice girls do not discuss such things! I remember being mystified each time was discussing with my young aunts about if they had seen their ‘time’ as the monthly cycle was quaintly referred to then. There was the added myth that it was the best time to get pregnant! I remember when I was young I kept away from anything male during that time!
It evolved from being described that way as the ‘time’ to the description we gave it .We simply said we had a ‘visitor’ and therefore excused ourselves from our peers if cramps made the day difficult. The myths and misconceptions had grown and we gleaned from our biological textbooks what sexual education we could if we were interested. The ignorance about an open and frank discussion cost some of us dear, even taking the ultimate cost of lives from illegal abortions.
It is different now, open and frank discussion on sexuality has become the order of the day.The question now is how soon should you start such discussions? We have those who feel that innocence should be maintained for as long as possible. That a child should be allowed to remain a child but there have been increasing cases of paedophiles that makes nonsense of such longings.
We have lost our innocence from the days of accepting sweets from an uncle or aunt and most homes now frown definitely at the idea of live in house helps of whatever sex even heamphrodite! One worried neighbor put up a sign “MILITARY ZONE KEEP MOVING< GUNS AND DOGS ON DUTY’! why, he had teenager daughters and they were a sensation on the street with their skimpy clothes and habit of taking a walk along the road anytime the father had to go work.
One pissed off mom said she didn’t think the girls had mothers. She could not answer the question though when I asked how soon she could start talking to her children about their bodies. To mothers from the Western world they’d probably wonder how far back in the middle ages am I referring to? But my friends who are mothers and from my part of the world, would understand the embarrassment of a mother whose daughter just started her monthly cycle, she well went to the supermarket, they walked along the aisle until they got to the space where sanitary towels (why do they call them towels Mummy?) are kept and she simply picked one up and quickly hid it amongst the other purchases
She sweated looking for opening sentences when they got home. There were no guides about em you know,, er.. your and the child opens up and says ‘oh mum I saw you bought sanitary towels, did you remember to buy mine I will be due for the monthly mayhem next week.
What? May what?
The mother got an education.