Note to Mothers & Fathers from Cycles & Spirituality
As many parents have experienced or been forewarned, puberty and the years that follow can be a difficult time for teenage girls as they must learn to live with their changing hormones and changing physiology. Support from mothers, and even fathers, can provide great encouragement to daughters! For Christian families, it may help girls to hear reassurance that becoming a woman is God’s natural design. But that thought alone may not seem tangible enough to help her get through the day-to-day challenges.
In His infinite wisdom, God gave each girl unique signs to indicate how her hormones are changing every day. Observing these clues can help each girl understand when her period will arrive (even if her cycles are irregular), how hormones may be affecting her emotions, and how to manage symptoms. Cycles & Spirituality presents this information in a manner suitable for Christian teenage girls and young women.
Cycles & Spirituality is not a book on puberty. It does not provide an overview of all the typical changes a girl goes through to become a woman. In fact, the information in this book may be totally new to you as parents. Sure, girls have been getting their periods since the beginning of time and the mechanisms of a girl’s cycle haven’t changed. But our understanding of those cycles, based on each girl’s unique cycle signs, has evolved. Throughout the past century, scientists and medical experts in fertility awareness have come to understand that a woman’s physical cycle signs (particularly temperature and cervical mucus) are correlated with when she ovulates and when she menstruates. This goes beyond circling the start date of her period on a calendar and counting the number of days until the start of her next period. Observing and charting a girl’s unique signs with Cycles & Spirituality can give her insight into what is happening inside her body, physically and emotionally, on any day of her cycle.
Many Christian women who have learned to chart their natural cycles have commented that an awareness of what is happening physically and emotionally actually helps give them an appreciation for their bodies and brings them closer to God spiritually. For Christian parents, raising a daughter with morals and virtues is important. The teenage and young adult years are a time to instill and reemphasize values such as chastity, loving as God loves, and sexual abstinence before marriage. While many secular media sources seem to strive against you as parents in these areas, Cycles & Spirituality can augment your efforts.
If the information in Cycles & Spirituality is new to you, be reassured that charting a woman’s cycles is not an experimental technique, and your daughter is not exploring “uncharted” territory. Charting a woman’s cycle signs is a well-published topic for use in Natural Family Planning (NFP) methods. In this context, married couples are provided specific rules for determining fertile and infertile times of the woman’s cycle to either prayerfully postpone or achieve pregnancy. For unmarried teenage girls and young women practicing sexual abstinence before marriage these specific rules to determine times of fertility are unnecessary. But the benefits of charting and what it can reveal about a girl’s cycles surpass fertility awareness when applied appropriately for each girl to understand her own body.
Cycles & Spirituality presents information girls deserve to know about their bodies in a context compatible with and supportive of Christian virtues.
Cycles & Spirituality is designed for teenage and young adult women ages 14-29. This book is not intended for “tweens” or as a first introduction to puberty for girls. The information in this book can best be utilized by girls and young women who have had their period for a year or more and are gaining maturity and interest in taking care of their bodies. If you, as parents, do not currently chart your own natural cycles, you can also take the opportunity to read Cycles & Spirituality together with your daughter. Even fathers can be encouraging by offering comforting words during emotional turmoil (the topic of female changes doesn’t have to be a secret between mother and daughter!). As Christian parents, you can be supportive of your daughter’s initiative to understand and take care of her own body in a healthy way.