Well Red Book Club
At the Period Purse, we want to gather a community of like minded people to discuss topics and themes that matter. This summer, we're launching a book club to bring together eager learners with a love for literature and...PERIODS!
Our first book, Heavy Flow, written by Amanda Laird (@amandalaird) aims to challenge the existing narrative on menstruation - SPOILER ALERT! Amanda took some time to answer a few of our pressing questions below!
1. In the book, Heavy Flow, menstruation is framed as the fifth vital sign - providing health insights into our bodies, how do we as individuals push for better recognition of the menstrual cycle as a vital sign in the medical establishment?
Amanda: We can push for better recognition of the menstrual cycle as a vital sign by talking openly and without shame about menstrual cycles not just with medical professionals but in general! Advocating for ourselves when it comes to pain and menstrual health -- speaking to our doctors, asking for a second opinion and providing feedback to providers if it feels safe to do so.
2. How do we bring non-menstruators and men into the fold of period acceptance and awareness and support them to become agents of change?
Amanda: Having frank conversations with all kids and teaching them about menstrual cycles during puberty education will go a long way in normalizing periods. When we keep periods secret we are missing an opportunity to break the curse.
3. If you had the power to change policy around menstruation and menstrual health overnight - what would your first change be?
Amanda: I would definitely ensure menstruators are included in all health studies and drug trials with specific controls for menstrual cycles - looking at how symptoms might fluctuate throughout the cycle and how medications, testing and illness affect the menstrual cycle. Flexible working arrangements for all workers with paid time off for illness and rest. And of course, free menstrual products in every restroom!
4. How can we, as individuals, support other menstruators who experience regular and intense pain?
Amanda: First and foremost recognizing that period pain is real pain and also just because pain might be common doesn't mean it's normal! We must also be careful not to gaslight these individuals based on our own experience. Saying things like "it's just cramps" is not helpful for someone with a serious illness like endometriosis who may experience debilitating pain at any point in their cycles.
There you have it folks! We hope you get a chance to grab your copy of Heavy Flow and start changing the narrative around your period. If you want to hear more from Amanda, join us on Wednesday August 4, 2021 from 7:30-8:30pm EST for an online book club chat and interview.