In the second installment of our “let’s ask a...” series we caught up with the fabulous Jade (known as @findingme_inmy30s on instagram) - a married mother of two girls in her mid-30s who loves thrifting, everyday creativity, and what she dubs “dopamine dressing” (the most perfect description of her style). JADE SPOKE TO US ABOUT GUIDING HER DAUGHTER THROUGH HER MENSTRUAL CYCLE, LIVING WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS, AND THE ADVICE SHE’D GIVE HER TEEN-SELF NOW AS AN ADULT.
As a mum, how do you help your girls feel comfortable with their period?
My oldest daughter is Autistic so it's really important to navigate this from a sensory perspective also. 'The Autism friendly guide to periods' is a fantastic book written by an autistic person. I've been reading this with my daughter since she was about 7. She will be 10 this year and has been showing signs of her periods starting for a while now.
She has a pack I've made for her in her school bag. It includes teen sized pads, spare knickers, wipes and fabric zip bags. We have a similar pack ready at home. I think it's so important to have these conversations and build trust. I was 9 when I started my periods and my primary school didn't even have a sanitary disposal bin in the girls toilets. They had to buy one and even then they put a sign on the door saying 'year 6 girls only' I however was not in year 6!
Now as an adult, what's something that you wish you knew when you first got your period and something you want your daughters to know?
As an adult I wish I wasn't told 'it just means you are a woman now' when I started my periods. I don't think periods and adulthood or even womanhood need to be mutually exclusive. In todays society we know that not everyone who has a period is a woman and they certainly are not all adults. I think it made me feel a sense of needing to grow up that wasn't necessary.
Why do you think it's important to break the stigma surrounding menstruation?
It's so important to break the stigma attached to periods, for ALL people. I have exclusively used cloth sanitary protection in one form or another for years now and when I tell people this they look so squeemish. I also cloth nappied my children and again the faces I'd get. I think however we choose to equip our periods we just need to talk openly about it. It's not a taboo subject, it's not bad or wrong. We also need to be inclusive of all people and their feeling surrounding menstruation.
Can you tell us a bit about your experience with getting diagnosed with endometriosis - did you face any confusion/misinformation/delays in getting diagnosed?
My Mum suffered dreadful periods that took a huge toll on her being able to live a normal life. At the age of 27 she was given a hysterectomy. Unfortunately for myself I have followed a similar path and despite Doctors telling me it's likely I also have endometriosis I haven't been formally diagnosed as yet.
What advice can you give to someone who's been recently diagnosed with endometriosis? Do you have any tips or tricks to share to alleviate pain/discomfort?
Pain relief for me looks like listening to my body as much as possible. Resting where I can, using a hot water bottle and eating nutrient rich foods really help. Whilst I really don't want to moving my body in some capacity does help also.
I was medicated for most of my menstruating life but a few years ago I said no more as I realky didn't feel that the 3 types of medication I took were making enough of a difference.
Did endometriosis have any effect on your pregnancy?
Pregnancy wise it took us quite a while (4 years) from initially stopping birth control to falling pregnant. My consultant reccomended trying to get pregnant quite soon (if we wanted) after my first baby and we did. I fell pregnant with my second just after my first baby turned 1.
Were you initially hesitant to try period pants, and if so, what was your biggest concern?
I've always been really hesitant to try period pants as quite honestly I couldn't trust them. I'm so heavy and as a plus sized person needed to know that the width of the pant and the length of the absorbance would work. I'm Ohne period pants have fully changed my mind. They are absolutely amazing!
How have ohne period pants helped your period?
They've given my freedom to feel safe on days out and take back control over what I can wear and feel safe in, knowing I won't leak through. Just this weekend I wore them in my bridesmaid dress and danced the night away. I've never hidden my periods, the emotions and feeling that come with them or the products I use.
Image credit: @findingme_inmy30s