Talking about periods… with your sons.


There is still a huge stigma around talking about periods isn’t there? I mean, no one wants to talk about them, especially not to males…

Unless you need to pee when you’re on your period and you have two young males who see your bathroom breaks as an opportunity to discuss important things like how Percy pulls the Mail on time or why James is so vain. Choo, fucking choo.

Which is pretty much what happens to me, every damn month. So, not one to be ashamed of my body or shy away from an opportunity to talk to the boys about bodily functions, I got it in my head that these sudden questions wouldn’t be a bad thing. I normally use tampons but recently I’ve been using pads and bleeding quite heavily after having a D&C, so when I sat on the loo and my posse decided to join me, I was immediately presented with Toby: “Ugghhhhhh why you got blood”, at which point Reuben, with his head bobbing like an owl to see more, shouted, “Mummy, your bleeding!!! Why?! Are you going to die?!” Que a small chuckle from Adam in the bedroom.

“Well boys, when you’re older… And you have a uterus… You bleed sometimes from your vagina every month.”

This was ok right? I mean, it made sense and it was the truth so there, parenting win.

If you have kids, you know what’s coming. It’s always comes.

“Why?”. Sigh.

“Well sweetheart, it’s a part of having babies. When you have a bleed, which is called a period, you lose the lining of your uterus and it ‘resets’ ready for if you are having a baby”… Now I have to say, I was pretty chuffed with myself at this point. It is the truth, we used some big words and we got a touch of science in the goal as well. I was smugly high-fiving myself and accepting the award I receive every time I make a parent win (it’s chocolate based). What I expected was blank expressions and a quick change of pace, perhaps a swift move onto whatever toy request they had next… They like to bust those out during uncomfortable discussions in the hope that they will be given something under duress. It usually works.

What I was met with was a big grin from Reuben and a shriek of absolute excitement, “Are you having another baby?? Oh mummy! Daddy, mummy’s getting us another baby!!”

Well boy, your timing is impeccable. Toby, on the other hand, made me feel better by promptly looking totally mortified at the prospect of yet another small being entering our home and usurping him as the “baby”. I quickly explained to both of them that it meant quite the opposite in fact, ladies don’t bleed (often) when they are pregnant, but that the bleeding allows our bodies to have a spring clean and get ready in case we do want to have a baby”. I also dropped into this little explanation that it can be really painful and uncomfortable for women, and it can make them feel sad or angry.

Fortuitously for me, both boys seemed to lose interest in the conversation after that, but it did leave me wondering if 1.) they would bring it up again at the worst possible moment (which they did), or 2.) Explain to their teachers, grandparents and everyone they know that mummy has blood and has perrioddddds.

Also, as someone who is very open and unashamed of bodily functions, I was surprised to find that I was, in fact, a touch embarrassed especially when Roo came back to the loo the next morning and asked to “have a look at the blood”. I don’t want to raise the boys to think that periods are something to be embarrassed about, that they are something that they can’t talk to their partner (or friends) about when they are older. Adam is very good at going and getting tampons for me and never embarrassed, he’s changed a lot since Edith arrived and is now there for a cuddle or to get me a hot water bottle if I’m suffering with cramps. When we were younger he would often say “urgh I don’t really want to hear it” and it would upset me.

I want to raise boys who are kind and compassionate when their friends or family are struggling with periods, I want them to understand the whole process and not be assholes who think it’s something gross or something that they don’t need to know about.

So, talking to our sons about periods… Do you cringe or just get on with it? Any tips?

H x


  1. Avatar September 12, 2016 / 10:56 pm

    Great post! I totally recognise the situation and yes, I think that is definitely the way to go! I think it is easier to explain them now while they are young anyway, maybe the embarrassment will come later when they don’t company you anymore in the bathroom!

  2. Avatar June 22, 2016 / 2:52 pm

    My son is only 8 months old but I regularly have to have this conversation with my daughter as I am not allowed to go to the toilet in peace either. xx

    • Harriet June 23, 2016 / 8:38 am

      Haha well you clearly expect far too much if you want to 😉 x

  3. Avatar June 22, 2016 / 1:38 pm

    I think its great your talking about it with your boys – its so important x

  4. Avatar June 22, 2016 / 3:03 am

    I don’t have a son but I remember my younger brother asking about it. I just explained it technically and personally. It’s totally fine to let your sons know about it and let them realised how lucky they could be that they will not experience it. Lol

    • Harriet June 23, 2016 / 8:41 am

      Haha yes, that is an angle I hadn’t thought of!

  5. Avatar June 21, 2016 / 9:37 pm

    A great post, and I’m with you all the way on this. My OH won’t talk about it at all. Any mention of it and he’ll say urgh and walk out! He can’t really moan about squeamishness given a) he’s not going through it and b) he’s a farmer with dogs who get in season. You’d think he’d be able to factually relate even if not emotionally. I don’t think he’d ever shop for sanitary protection either.

    Generally N doesn’t come to the toilet with me any more, the only time is usually when out shopping, so it would be an embarrassing comment. I’ve told him before that mummy’s sometimes bleed as part of being a woman, but I can’t remember how it came about and any more details. But he knows the facts about how babies come about and come out (naturally, and the options for 2 mummies because in his class a boy has 2 mums) so periods would just be another thing to talk to him about like that.

    • Harriet June 23, 2016 / 8:44 am

      That is fab that he knows that Emma! I think it’s a generation thing for men too!

  6. Avatar June 21, 2016 / 9:05 pm

    Whilst growing up things like periods were not mentioned or discussed and definitely not in front of men. I have two girls so I have never had to be in this situation although I did explain about periods to my girls when they were about 8.

    • Harriet June 23, 2016 / 8:45 am

      Oh that is so rubbish Nayna! Sadly it is too frequent an occurrence!

  7. Avatar
    Jessica McDonnell
    June 21, 2016 / 7:36 pm

    This is such a good post. Everyone needs to be open about periods and it’s a lot more reassuring when guys are taught about periods and they don’t freak out about it. Due to having many issues with my periods, my husband knows all about mine and doesn’t freak out and when I had my first period, my mum was on holiday so I had to break the news to my dad as I’m an only child and I was the first to start out of all my friends.

  8. Avatar
    Tori Gabriel
    June 21, 2016 / 4:39 pm

    I never even thought about discussing this with boys. I have two girls so I will definitely be having the talk but I never thought about what if I had sons. Well done for talking to them about this.

  9. Avatar June 21, 2016 / 4:20 pm

    Yes, fabulous post! If I had young boys in the family I would do exactly the same.

    • Harriet June 23, 2016 / 8:47 am

      Thanks Tara! It’s so important to make sure they understand it’s NOT somehting to hide or be ashamed of!

  10. Avatar June 21, 2016 / 3:50 pm

    Oh god, fair play to you on being upfront with them. I too am frequently interrupted on the toilet. (who knew this was what motherhood was ?!) but have always just mumbled something about being a grown up if I was asked. Fortunately my son is not a curious character!

  11. Avatar June 21, 2016 / 11:00 am

    Thank you for posting this, I can really relate.
    I remember my mum telling me in no uncertain terms that no-one needed to know that I had started my period, not even my dad, and to make sure that I am always modest and never talk about (I was 10!). Even now, despite feeling the exact same way as you and wanting my boys to grow up respectful and knowledgable, I am embarrassed to talk about periods! I wish I was more brave!

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 11:19 am

      Ahhh that sucks lovely, but it was the way of the former generations unfortunately. All very hush hush and anything to do with the female reproductive system was taboo. You will get there, little by little, I guess it’s just a case of putting yourself in that position more, even when you feel awkward. You got this mama. H x

  12. Avatar June 21, 2016 / 9:39 am

    I think it is great that you’re so open with your children about things. We are trying to teach them to grow up to be nice and kind, and lying all the time as parents isn’t a great way to achieve that is it! One day they may just make lovely husbands to someone, hopefully, the kind who can talk about anything!

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 9:50 am

      That is so true Katy! Thank you 🙂

  13. Avatar June 21, 2016 / 1:41 am

    I never really had a real conversation about this with my son. Growing up with a sister, he probably had a general understanding of it though.

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 8:39 am

      Ahh mine are just so damned inquisitive!

  14. Avatar June 20, 2016 / 9:38 pm

    I’m lucky as my son can’t talk just yet so he is no where near asking about these things.

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 8:39 am

      Haha soon Melanie… soon…

  15. Avatar June 20, 2016 / 9:22 pm

    I love your honesty here, thank you for sharing this! It’s such a normal part of life so I think it’s wonderful to be able to talk about it so openly! x

  16. Avatar June 20, 2016 / 8:31 pm

    My poor teen son has lived with me and his older sisters and our openness about everything ‘womanly’ I am always open about when I am on my period, how I feel, what happens etc. He is only 13 but a bit of an expert already! Kaz x

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 8:41 am

      Haha he will be the best friend/boyfriend/husband when he gets older then Kaz!

  17. Avatar June 20, 2016 / 5:29 pm

    Lol you are brave but I think it is great that you are so open about periods and the female body with your sons. I think it is really important to raise awareness and teach them that it is a normal part of female life!

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 8:42 am

      Thanks Ana – I really don’t want them to grow up thinking that it’s “just a woman thing”, it’s something that they need to be there to support partners or friend’s with if they ask!

  18. Avatar June 20, 2016 / 5:01 pm

    Ekk good luck – I have to admit I probably talk about periods as little as possible as I have such a horrid time with them. x

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 8:42 am

      Oh sorry to hear that Sarah, but it’s the exact reason I want to make sure they grow up knowing about them… some women suffer so badly right?

  19. Avatar June 20, 2016 / 4:22 pm

    I don’t have boys, so will just have to explain to my girls. My friend was once in the supermarket and her son shouted look mum do you need the things you put up your bum, whilst pointing at the tampons!!!

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 8:42 am

      Bahahahaha. This will be me…

  20. Avatar June 20, 2016 / 4:12 pm

    What an honest great topic!

    I don’t have any children myself and have to say I’ve never thought about how would I approach this topic so sadly I can’t give you any tips. But I just wanted to say I admire that you are not hiding it from boys. This will definitely develop a healthy attitude towards women.

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 8:43 am

      Thanks Evelina, I really appreciate that! x

  21. Avatar June 20, 2016 / 3:31 pm

    I love this, if I ever have children, I would want to be as honest as I could be about everything, no matter how embarrassing it might seem x

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 8:44 am

      Yes, best way to be Rachel x

  22. Avatar June 20, 2016 / 12:45 pm

    I only have a daughter and so talk quite openly with her about periods she has an odd obsession with wanting to help with the tampon! But I think if I had a son I would probably be the same way to be honest!

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 8:45 am

      HA! Tayla I love it, they are so blunt with it too aren’t they… Roo was like, “Mummy can I look at your blood? Can I see where it comes from and touch it?” NO YOU BLOODY WELL CAN’T BEASTLY CHILD!!! Ha, you have to laugh or you will cry! H x

  23. Avatar June 20, 2016 / 12:35 pm

    I think it’s so important for boys to know about periods too. It’s not just something that girls need to know.

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 8:46 am

      Yes Dannii too true! H x

  24. Avatar June 20, 2016 / 12:28 pm

    I only have a daughter. I’ve explained periods to her, she calls it “pyramid” and asks “Can we bath together mum or do you still have your pyramid?” As for boys, I guess they are curious about the blood. While I’m also open, I think I too would cringe a bit if I had to explain periods to boys. x

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 8:46 am

      Bahahahahahahaha. Made. My. Day.

      I love when they do that, Toby calls the radio a ‘radiator’!! Ha!

  25. Avatar June 20, 2016 / 11:02 am

    I think it must be tough to talk to your sons about something like this but it is very important to do so. Think you handled it really well x

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 8:47 am

      I think it is, but it’s so important to do – thank you lovely x

  26. Avatar June 20, 2016 / 8:38 am

    I think it’s great you’ve told them what is going on. My husband is useless when it comes to knowing about anything ‘lady’ issues wise so I wish someone had told him everything!

    • Harriet June 21, 2016 / 8:48 am

      Ha, some of Adam’s friend’s won’t even get tampons/towels for their WIVES. Mate, if you can do the things you do with a wife, then I’m pretty confident you can buy her a tampon!

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