In my last article I discussed a rather non traditional (controversial for some) way of introducing my daughter, now seven, to her vulva. This casual biological reveal was done with a mirror and myself next to her, while we navigating our private parts from our toes, on route to the solar plexus, via the vulva.
I was mulled into a false sense of security thinking her curiosity had been satisfied since then. But alas she popped the question.
“If I was made in your uterus, womb, tummy (it rotates according to her memory) and I came out of your vagina ( YES, she got it right) – how did I get in there? “
Damn – You would think being in SexTech I would have the already prepared speech. And I sort of did but quickly realised that my answer was more prepared for a 4 year old. How quickly motherhood trumps can feel irrelevant.
It still amazes me how six month in kid life is an evolution in adult life. Thankfully I was saved by the bell – literally.
So, I decided to revisit my motherhood storyboard. “I had the most amazing, holistic, informed, empowering judgement free sex education” – said no one ever.
While I trolled through books and information finding very little for little girls, I ended up scrambling back to my very own sex education, all of which left me reeling in anger.
Soon realising that I MUST right (and re write) all the wrongs. The shortcomings and damage I believe sex education has burned into our core has me, excuse me for a moment, as a woman – fuming mad, as a human – unforgiving and as a mother – left disorientated and fearful.
I point the finger to centuries of male, medical, political and religious centric socio-scripts that at first opportunity chose to illustrate and communicate puberty haloing boys and their ejaculations. Positively communicating penises associated with pleasure, wet dreams, orgasms and biological rights laden with a sense of conquer and power when one becomes a “MAN”.
Books with graphics of male torso’s (sometimes even with faces) while us girls were merely a faceless bleeding uterus!
Some, we didn’t even crack the nod for a full torso, unless breast formation was included. Instead our puberty and for vast majority, still does, come with just a warning label ( BEWARE PENIS & DO NOT GET PREGNANT)
Faceless and invisible, our puberty threw all connotations and understanding about pleasure, self validation, connectivity, sexuality, self esteem, beauty, feminine power, appreciation for birth and life, orgasms, gratitude or any sense of appreciation for all that our vulva and her accompanying bits could do for us.
An appreciation and sense of self care for our vulva like we do our cholesterol or sugar levels. I think I learned more about what carrots can do for my eyesight and sugar to my blood. In the times when we new so little about feminine pleasure, I may be lax to empathise with said blames.
You can not teach what you do not know. But what is our excuse now. There is none. And as a mother I will no longer choose to accept that my daughter will grow up invisible. Her sexuality, her pleasure, her self esteem has the right to be heard.
When her curiosity springs upon me once again, I will let her know that before she learns how babies are made, I her mum (before any teacher /institute/ religious group/politician has the chance to) will share with her what happens all the years leading up to making babies.
I will share with her all the experiences she can choose to have leading up to this moment. Experiences so beautiful and powerful (Like how you felt when you won best basketball player, or rode a scrambler motorbike for the first time, or walked the bar in gymnastics, like that but even better).
Some she will discover on her own, some she will want to know more about and can ask me anytime. Feelings and sensations her friends might discover sooner or even tell her “you should not try”. Don’t listen to them, come ask mum and I promise you, if you let me, I will hold a safe space for you, judgement free, where you can ask me anything. Even if you don’t want to talk to me about it, I promise as your mum I will offer you books, pictures, how to’s that will show you just how beautiful it is to be a girl growing up to become a woman.
I want my daughter to think back to the first time she felt pleasure and it remind her of the day, she met herself.
She may not understand this now at seven, but one day when she looks back in appreciation (please Big G, I get this part right) – her sex-esteem is not founded on being pressured into pleasing someone else or performing an act but rather because she understood her own self care included sex care and pleasure was hers to own. Her right to share, give and receive when she decides.
I promise you Ariella, you will not grow up… invisible.