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Girls Growing Up!

'Girls Growing Up' is a one day workshop for mothers and daughters facilitated by Amrita Hobbs. It is designed to be experienced when the girls are approaching menarche (the arrival of menstruation). Using story and song in a safe nurturing environment, Amrita, helps to prepare the girls for this approaching passage to womanhood. Amrita's passion is to encourage a more accepting and empowering set of beliefs around bleeding than is prevalent in our society today. Girls' Growing up! welcomes the new generation of women into their cycling nature and into the circle of their sisters.

How the work began

'After working with hundreds of teenagers through Harmony Holiday camps, I began to realise that girls had a negative and sometimes self destructive attitude about themselves. I set about researching this and through work in schools found that many girls resented their cycling nature and wanted to be like boys. I realised how difficult it was to change attitudes about cycling and menstruation, once the girls had moved into it, and decided that they needed to be reached earlier. I believe that with embodied education about the mysteries of womanhood, much of the negativity can be avoided. From parents feedback the 'Girls Growing Up' workshops succeed in that.'

The menstrual taboo

'The taboo around menstruation is all encompassing. I rediscover this in just about every programme I run, when girls talk about their embarrassment or shame around this normal, natural and special function of their body. I believe this negativity affects our physical emotional, mental well-being and also our self image. I believe that there is some correlation between our attitude to our menstrual cycle and low self esteem, teenage pregnancy, and eating disorders. Society says that we are to look a certain way, do certain things and hide the fact that on a monthly basis we are deeply affected by something that is not only normal, but vital for ongoing human life on the planet.'

Sharing the journey

Girls Growing Up! has evolved out of my own research, my connection with my own cycle and to the power I feel as woman. I take the mums and daughters on a journey. Through story we weave magic into the process of growing up. Through our changing bodies we are preparing ourselves, emotionally, mentally and spiritually for the onset of puberty and menstruation for growing up! We sing songs together, eat glorious food. The girls make special mementos to remind them of the day. The day provides a landmark for the girls embarking into the mystery of femaleness. There is a ritual and honoring in a deep sharing between mothers and their daughters.
Many mothers have open and honest communication with their daughters about bleeding, but many don't. I play an important role in the workshop at this point. Because of the strategies I use, girls are able to get an embodied sense of what happens to them when they cycle - fear, dread and shame are released. Girls are more comfortable about the changes in their body after attending this workshop.

Puberty made easier

Mothers tell me that the transition for their daughters is smooth and the attribute this to attending Girls Growing Up! Others tell me their daughters desired to express themselves in a more feminine way afterwards. Girls have created special circle time for their friends.They are prepared not only for their own changes but also to be knowledgeable and supportive to their friends.

Comments from girls

When the course was over I felt light hearted, happy to have learnt more and privileged to be a girl. Closer to my mother and closer to myself. Linda, (11) London, England

Today was like nothing I'd ever experienced. The ceremony I had really felt like a welcoming stage for me. Marja (13) Perth, Australia

It was heart-warming to know that there was someone who cared about children and decided to tell young girls about menstruation so that they don't get a fright when it happens to them. Sara (12) Cape Town, SA

If I hadn't have come I wouldn't have known how to ask mum. I will find it easier now. Hana (11) Cape Town, SA

Today I have experienced something that I don't think I would on a normal day. It really gave me a chance to connect with my mother. It really made me confident and ready for when I first menstruate. Rhannon (12 ) Tilba, NSW, Australia

I just feel happy. Sarah (10) Blue Mountains, Australia

It was very special. I've never been able to be this close to mum before and I've never been able to talk to her in this way either. I'll remember it always. Cas (11) Sydney, Australia

Comments from mothers

Many thanks for the opportunity to show my daughter of way for women to be together in total acceptance and support. Jaki, Bellingen, NSW

I brought my daughter to Girls Growing up! as a gift for her. I'm not sure who received the greatest gift. Helen, South Africa

The day has been magical, loving, connecting and very rich. The beauty, the warmth, the love, the femininity, the openness between three generations of women is awesome. Robin, Fremantle, Australia

I felt like today has freed me from old limiting beliefs I've had about femininity from my mother and grandmother and brought back the honoring of the female energy and cycle. The sacredness of sisterhood and women feels like it has been returned to me. Vicki, Perth, Australia

Organising a Girls Growing Up! programme

If you would like to organise a Girls Growing Up! programme in your community contact Amrita with your details and she will let you know what that involves. Amrita is also available to train women to run this workshop. This is an effective way to prepare girls for their journey into womanhood . It would be wonderful to have as many girls as possible experience it. Make contact if you would like more details.

See also A Story about a Girl
one of the powerful stories that Amrita uses in the circle of her gatherings.

See Amrita's book for young people Getting Real ... About Growing Up

And Amrita's own website www.amritahobbs.com

Our Rites of Passage kits will help you understand, honour and celebrate your life season with conscious ceremonies to honour the important transitions in your woman's life.

Also check out the Temple of the Blood CD, a guided meditation to assist
in reclaiming the power of your bleeding time

.

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