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5th Grade Maturation Day

mestration-video-300wDo you remember your 5th grade “maturation day,” you know, the day when all young ladies meet in the auditorium of the Elementary school with their Mamas to learn all about becoming a woman?

I DO! I remember the official looking scroll like invitation given to me with the pretty pink bow tied around it. “Here give this to your Mother, be sure she comes with you”. I remember the curiosity surrounding the big event and all the kids wondering what the word “Maturation” meant. Such a big deal was made that I even picked my favorite dress to wear. Why the big deal? Because becoming a Woman, Wife and Mom IS a big deal!

I listened intently to the school nurse presenting the program; she was matter of fact, clear and honest. She had my total attention as she wheeled in the TV on a cart… and then it happened…I witnessed along with numerous other girls, from a “catchers view” the second birth I witnessed (with the first being my little brothers). While some giggled, looked away or said things like “eww” and “gross” I watched in silent awe.

To me it was beautiful, exciting, completely amazing. As the lights turned back up, I had a newfound respect for my Mama. She had given birth three times, to me she walked on water and I wanted to be just like her.

At some point, I learned that "maturation day" is a term used almost exclusively in Utah.  Other women I have known described their menstration education in school as much less of a celebration, and more of a secret.  I suppose it depends on where you went to school, and what the local attitudes were about sex education in school, but for me, it was a celebration and my opportunity to actually witness what birth was all about.

The "Molly Grows Up" video below is from 1953 isn't exactly the video I saw that day, and maybe it is a bit archaic (probably because it was written by the same "man" who wrote "When Boys Grow") but watching it makes me feel like a young girl again learning about my amazing new role in life.  I know that some people get upset about some of the odd advice in this video, such as avoiding square dancing or bathing in cold water during your period, but looking past all that -- for me, this video reminds me of "maturation day," a reason to celebrate, and the second time I saw a baby being born.

PS. I grinned when Molly's mom told Molly to sit up straight so that her organs wll function better, and I cringed when Molly called it "the curse."

One of my favorite quotes is the last, that "mentruation is as normal and natural and eating or breathing or sleeping."  This is what tell moms about birth, that it isn't a medical condition requiring a cure, that it is a normal and natural body process, a reason for celebration, not fear.