Do you agree that growing up is hard enough without your body suddenly deciding to change you?
Of course, it is! If you’re a girl between the ages of 8 and 14, your body is gearing up for puberty. You’re about to experience growth spurts, body hair in new places, and your first period. You may feel excited, anxious, confused, or all of the above.
This blog post will walk you through what to expect during female puberty, how to handle challenges like your first period and tips to help you feel more confident in your changing body.
Let’s get into it!
Everything You Need to Know About Puberty
If you’re going through this stage of your life then don’t worry, every girl goes through this, and while the changes can feel weird and uncomfortable, they’re normal and natural.
Going through puberty is a rite of passage into womanhood, and with the support of friends and family and advice from those who have been there, you’ve got this!
Puberty may make you feel like everything is out of your control, but by arming yourself with knowledge, you can feel empowered during this transition.
Menstrual Cycle 101: What’s Happening When You’re Menstruating?
Getting your first period is a big milestone on the road to womanhood. Understanding how your menstrual cycle works is key to navigating this transition smoothly.
Your period happens when the lining of your uterus sheds because the pregnancy did not occur. This usually happens every 28 days or so but can range from 21 to 35 days for teens. The menstrual cycle has two phases:
- The follicular phase starts on the first day of your period. During this time, estrogen levels rise, triggering the growth of follicles in your ovaries. Each follicle contains an egg. Usually, only one follicle fully develops. Ovulation happens around day 14 of your cycle. The follicle ruptures and releases an egg. The egg travels down the fallopian tube where it can be fertilized.
- The luteal phase begins after ovulation. The follicle turns into a corpus luteum, which produces progesterone to thicken the uterine lining in case of pregnancy. If no pregnancy occurs, hormone levels drop, the uterine lining sheds, and your period begins again.
Getting to know your unique cycle pattern and how long each phase lasts can help you feel more in tune with your body. While the changes of puberty can feel uncomfortable, being prepared for what’s ahead will give you confidence in yourself as a young woman.
Talk to a parent, doctor, or counselor if you have any concerns – you don’t have to go through this alone!
Physical Changes to Expect During Puberty
Puberty is a wild ride, ladies, but don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Some of the biggest changes you’ll experience during this time are physical. Here’s what you can expect:
- Your body will develop curves. Your hips will widen, your breasts will develop, and fat tissue will increase in places like your thighs and rear. Don’t be surprised if your weight also increases. This is all normal and helps give you that feminine figure.
- You’ll get your first period. Menstruation usually starts between ages 10 and 15. At first, your periods may be irregular, but they’ll eventually settle into a pattern. Make sure you’re prepared by keeping pads and tampons on hand.
- Skin and hair changes. Oil glands become more active, which can lead to acne. You may also notice hair growing in new places like your underarms and pubic area. Shaving and over-the-counter creams can help reduce unwanted hair.
- Growth spurt. You may gain 3 to 4 inches in height and shoe size during puberty. Your body is just trying to catch up to those developing curves! Stay active and practice good posture to keep everything in alignment.
Focus on embracing and loving your body – you’re becoming a woman! With the support of other women around you, puberty will be a little easier to navigate.
Emotional Changes During Puberty: Mood Swings and More
During puberty, your hormones are changing rapidly. This can lead to frequent changes in mood and difficulty controlling emotions. One minute you may feel happy and carefree, the next irritable or upset. This is normal, though it can feel frustrating. Some tips to help cope with mood swings:
- Expect mood changes and be patient with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over them
- Exercise regularly to release pent-up energy and tension. Even taking a walk can help
- Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep intensifies mood swings and irritability
- Talk to someone you trust about your feelings. Let others know if you need support
- Take time to yourself to relax and unwind. Do an enjoyable activity to boost your mood
As your body changes, it’s natural to feel awkward or self-conscious at times. You may feel like you’re being scrutinized by your peers and worry about how you look or how others perceive you. Some things to keep in mind:
- Your body is developing in a normal, healthy way. Try not to be too critical of yourself.
- Focus on the qualities that make you uniquely you – your talents, personality, accomplishments, etc. Your worth isn’t defined by how you look.
- Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who appreciate you for who you are.
- Remember that everyone goes through puberty – your peers are also focused on themselves, not judging you.
- Talk to others you trust about your feelings. Getting reassurance from those who care about you can help you feel better.
Practical Tips for Navigating Challenges
Talk to a Trusted Adult
Going through puberty can be an awkward time, full of changes you don’t quite understand. Don’t suffer in silence – talk to someone you trust, like a parent, teacher, or counselor. They can offer guidance, reassurance, and advice for navigating challenges. Let them know if you have any questions or concerns about the physical changes your body is going through.
Do Your Research
In addition to talking to others, do some reading on your own about what to expect during puberty. Check out books from the library or look for reliable information online. The more you know about the stages of development and timeline of changes, the less uncertainty and anxiety you may feel. Understanding that every girl goes through this and that it’s a normal part of becoming a woman can help put your mind at ease.
Take good care of yourself during this transition by maintaining a healthy diet, staying active, getting enough sleep, and finding ways to relieve stress like journaling, yoga, or spending time with friends. Your body is going through a lot of hormonal ups and downs, so self-care is especially important. Staying in tune with your needs will help you feel more balanced and better equipped to handle challenges.
Be Patient with Yourself
Puberty doesn’t happen overnight. It can take several years for your body to fully develop into that of a woman. Learn to be patient with yourself throughout the process. Don’t compare your progress to others. Every girl develops at her own pace, so try not to worry if changes seem to happen slower or faster for your friends. Focus on embracing the changes in your own body and appreciate how beautifully and wonderfully you are made. With patience and self-love, you will navigate this transition gracefully.
Puberty can be a rollercoaster, but remember that every girl goes through it. The changes in your body are normal and natural, even if they feel weird or uncomfortable at times. Focus on embracing the journey and being kind to yourself along the way.
This new chapter of life may bring some challenges, but it also brings opportunities to learn and grow. Your body and mind are awakening to a whole new world of possibilities. Though the road ahead is long, stay positive – you’ve got this!
The girl you’re becoming is going to be amazing!