I decided to take an informal poll of young women from lots of different backgrounds to find out how their mothers came to know of their sexual activity. A few key themes surfaced from the poll: A few women had a my-mom-read-my-diary situation. These sort of patterns point to an unfortunate reality: Here are some tips, which can also be applied to talking with your dad, aunt, other mom, etc.
Ask your mom about her own experience. Based on my poll and my own experience, a key thing mothers want is for their daughters to avoid making the same mistakes they feel like they made. Break the ice with a joke about something relevant you share.
You can always commiserate about period side effects, especially cramps or bloating. There are many things that bond us as women—leverage them! Tell your mom you want to do the responsible thing and take advantage of preventive health care services.
I learned these tips the hard way. At the time, my mom discovering my sex life seemed to mark a low point in our relationship, but ultimately it brought us so much closer together. How my mom found out I was talking on my home phone. It was a very teenager-in-the-earlys setup. As the story goes, my mom picked up the phone to check if the line was available so she could use the Internet. Instead, she found herself listening to my phone conversation with my best friend, in which I mentioned my concern that my period was late.
The confrontation A few days later, after getting home from school, my mom called me to the kitchen. She and my dad were sitting at the counter, quiet and avoiding all eye contact. My mom spoke with a straight face: Trying to talk At the end of my freshman year, I met the guy I would date for most of high school.
This pushed us further apart. The moment of truth The day after the argument, my mom picked me up right as school let out. She said she was taking me to the gynecologist. We sat side by side saying nothing, waiting. When the doctor walked in, her expression communicated that she would be reinstating the argument my parents and I had put to rest.
Did he pressure you into it? It was my idea. If anything, I talked him into it. I could feel my mom getting angry next to me—she was shaking slightly. Also, this woman was sort of a bitch. My mom said nothing as she exited the room so I could undress.
A few minutes later, she and the doctor returned, and the exam started. I held it during the whole of my first gynecological exam, and squeezed it tightly. After the exam, my mom and I sat and waited for the doctor to come back with her final consult, or as I see it, final insult.
We stared at each other with teary eyes and angrily contorted faces that were beginning to soften. The doctor came in and invited us into her proper office, where she sat behind a large mahogany lawyer-y desk. She handed the birth control prescription to my mom and smirked. Just go schedule an appointment for a month from now with the nurse up front.
We have to schedule another appointment, remember? Then I smiled because I realized my mom was offering to take me to a different doctor. To do it, she had to swallow her pride and trust me as a young adult instead of as a child. I am knowledgeable about my sexual and reproductive health because my mother knew it was my right to be.
The benefits can heavily outweigh the disadvantages. Chelsey Delaney is a designer, writer, and comedic womyn. She works as a UX designer, concentrating on the user experience of health care websites and applications.
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