I hopped out of bed. I didn’t hear anything. I sensed my daughter in distress. I opened my bedroom door to darkness and she was standing in her own doorway. “Daddy, it hurts”. Tears ran down her face. I felt for her and immediately started praying, hugged her, and said, “I know sweetheart. Did you take an Ibuprofen?”
I cracked a joke to make her smile and went back to bed but couldn’t sleep. I was helpless. There was nothing I could do. My strength was a little shaken because I believe in the power of prayer, yet I also realize that there are things as a man I will never experience in my body. I get an occasional hot flash twice a week which lasts about 90 seconds. I’ll never know what menstrual craps feel like for myself. I’ll never know what it’s like to be awakened in the middle of the night in sheer pain from physiological changes.
Yet, it’s the burden every woman and adolescent girl must carry. It makes me think how fortunate I am as a man, a husband, and a father. It causes me to be still, quiet, observe, and learn how to best support the women in my life. Starting first at home, then at church, at work and in the community.
When my daughter first started her menstruation a couple of years ago, I called my wife and asked her to get the women in the family together and make it a celebratory moment. I didn’t want her to feel any shame or embarrassment as part of her journey into womanhood. How can we help, men? I encourage every man, husband, and father to understand the ease in our body and the convenience we will always experience. Even further, ask the women in your life how you can help as their opinion matters more than ours.
Women are to be cherished, daughters are to be embraced, wives are to be celebrated. It’s shame it took the #metoo movement to restore dignity that women are born with by design.