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If you’ve got daughters, you need to know about Pearl and Thistle

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Any Lane | Pexels

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 10/10/22

This beautiful workbook and video course teaches girls about their bodies in a way that honors their inherent dignity.

For many women, their own bodies are something of a mystery to them. The intricacies of their monthly cycles can seem too confusing to fully understand.

Christina Valenzuela is a Natural Family Planning educator who found that, again and again, her clients were amazed to learn the full details of their fertility and monthly cycles. She writes on her website:

That common question was part of what led her to create Pearl and Thistle, where she offers “innovative, lifelong learning resources to help Catholics share body literacy with their family, friends, and parishes.”

So what does this have to do with raising daughters?

The coolest part of her work is the body literacy education program she’s created for girls and young women to learn to understand their bodies, all through the authentic lens of the Theology of the Body.

She explains on her website:

I believe there’s a way we can teach our girls about their cycles — their WHOLE CYCLES — to help them navigate puberty, periods, and those awkward conversations with the doctor. And I believe we can do all of that without needing to teach them a full method of family planning. Instead, we can teach them how to chart to look for ovulation as a healthy sign. 

Valenzuela has created a beautiful workbook and video series designed to teach girls all about their bodies in a way that honors their inherent dignity.

She’s even designed the Pearl and Thistle course for different ages, as girls grow up. There are two different tracks:

  • Basic Charting (ages ~11-16) teaches girls how to keep a wheel chart, and to observe simple cervical fluid cues along with moods, energy levels, and other info they’d like to track
  • Advanced Charting (ages 16+) teaches girls how to look for ovulation as a healthy sign, and to assess the phases of her cycle for regularity, as well as introducing options for temping and keeping a graph chart

The colorful 40-page workbook and guide covers the following topics:

  • what happens with hormones during the menstrual cycle
  • how the first few years of cycling are different as your body is learning
  • how to keep various types of charts (including apps)
  • observing signs of ovulation and cycle health
  • tracking moods and energy through the cycle
  • about different types of cycles (long, short, “anovulatory,” etc.)

Understanding monthly cycles and how our bodies change at different times is an invaluable resource for girls and women to understand their overall health. 

Pearl and Thistle is an incredibly helpful option for teaching girls to understand their bodies, and definitely worth checking out with the young women you love!

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Health and WellnessNatural Family PlanningParentingWomen
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