Yumi Stynes is one of those capable people who do all kinds of things well. She’s now written Welcome to Your Period, a book about, you guessed it, starting your period. The book is co-authored with Dr Melissa Kang. Dr Kang is an ex-Dolly Doctor, which is a fact that makes any mother in their forties want to race out and buy this book immediately. Such intrigue and comfort were offered by Dolly Doctor during our adolescence!
“When Yumi suggested a book on periods, I thought ‘this is kind of like a dream come true’,” Dr Kang told the Booktopia Books Podcast. “I wrote for Dolly Magazine for 23 years, so I’m talking thousands and thousands of questions, many of which were about periods.”
Another book about starting periods? Really? Yes! And necessarily so, I feel. There really can never be enough books about getting your rags. There just can’t. Finding the perfect book to guide your tween through is one of those essential things we mothers of girls need to do. Up there with teaching assertiveness and insisting we chop the jeans into shorts, not our daughters.
This one too: 6 good books about starting your period
Welcome to Your Period sits in the ‘frank and funny’ category of tween hand-holding. This category has basically been owned by Kaz Cooke for generations, but Yumi looks set to slide nicely into position. I genuinely laughed out loud amidst the cringing as I read the book. There’s something to be said for a write who can make awkward into comedic relief. Perhaps it’s an essential quality when one is writing a book about periods.
“Part of the challenge of writing this book was to roll back to when we were quite naive and ill-informed and try and speak to that person, and really remember what it’s like to be freaked out about your period,” Stynes said on the podcast.
If Stynes brings the light humour, Kang brings the science. She answers Qs with Dolly Doctor-style As. We’re not talking in-depth analysis here, but the basics are covered in a way that our tween girls will understand and absorb. Kang was the original and longest-serving Dolly Doctor, so she’s well aware of the kinds of questions that girls really want the answers to.
It helps that Stynes and Kang have also added plenty of personal anecdotes. Both their own and others gathered from a diverse range of women to bring warmth and personality to the, let’s face it, rather startling issue of bleeding every month for decades. Stynes recalls the visceral reaction that her daughter’s friends had when she spoke to them about getting their periods.
“I remember that panicked feeling,” says Stynes. “And also that feeling like, and this is so common but strange, of ‘how am I going to tell Mum’… It’s so easy to forgot how hard that was…”
I’d buy Welcome to Your Period for any tween who ‘doesn’t want to talk about it’, and even those that do. You can do the mum-dodge and just leave a copy of her bed one afternoon. The pretty cover and word ‘welcome’ will lure her in. Once she starts reading, all traces of cringe will be quickly absorbed by Yumi and Melissa’s reassuring, been-there-still-standing cuteness.
Never mind the girls! Are you ready for your daughter’s first period?