PHOTO: Co-author Jeni Donatelli Ihm talks about the book “Below Your Belt” with a group of young girls.
We were in about seventh grade when we found The Book on a shelf in my friend Roz’s basement.
The Book — I don’t remember what the actual title was — explained the birds and the bees and how our little female bodies were changing. We’d sit huddled together in Roz’s basement and one of us would read a section aloud — but in hushed tones. After all, we didn’t want Roz’s mom to know we’d found The Book. We thought we were so slick, reading from it secretly, carefully putting it right back where it had been.
Years later, we discovered Roz’s mom had put that book there on purpose, knowing we’d find and read through it. This was her way of us getting information we might be too embarrassed to seek on our own.
Now we really know who the slick one really was.
If that scenario were being replayed today, I have no doubt Roz’s mom would be putting this book on that shelf: “Below Your Belt: How To Be Queen of Your Pelvic Region,” written by Missy Lavender and Jeni Donatelli Ihm. The book, which sells for $18.95, is a product of the Women’s Health Foundation in Chicago.
The whole point of the book is to take away the mystery and confusion about pelvic health for young girls. So often young girls get very little, if any, information about what happens in that area of their bodies. Yet, like anyone else, they can suffer from things such as constipation, urinary tract infections and digestive problems.
“Below Your Belt” is very approachable. It tackles its subject in a light-hearted, breezy manner, but all the while dispensing valuable information. There are cute, sometimes comical, illustrations created by Jan Dolby that help to make the book’s readers comfortable with the topics.
The entire tone of the book makes it clear that all these different things that are happening to a young girl’s body happen to others and there’s no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed.
“Below The Book” is filled with so much useful information. There are yoga poses shown that can help alleviate the pain from one’s period. It explains in another chapter the importance of pelvic strength. Frankly, I bet there are some grown women who’d find the book helpful and educational.
Throughout the book it reminds readers that these are their bodies and they are the ones in control of it. The queen, if you will, as the book and its illustrations point out. As “Below Your Belt” book explains in one section, a queen “knows the boundaries and the geography of her territories. She knows her region’s engineering, how and why things work.”
What a great outlook!
I am sure Roz’s mom would approve.