Monthly Archives: January 2013

On Your Own

How old were you when you realized you were on your own, period wise?

This became a reality for a 12 year old friend of mine when her period began while at church

It was unexpected and she was unprepared.

And so was her mom.

(You know how it is – you don’t miss something until you need it and that last pad used during your last period, that wasn’t replaced, sure is missed when you start somewhere other than home.)

I asked if she had requested a pad of any of the women present.

No, that thought didn’t even enter her mind.

When asked what she did, she proudly announced that she put toilet paper in her panty and tied her jacket around her waist.

Then she said, “It really wasn’t a big deal.”

(Wasn’t a big deal….  I’m glad it wasn’t.  As we know, It could have been a really big deal – and may be the next time she’s caught unprepared.)

I left her with several suggestions, period wise.

  1. Keep a pad in your purse and one in Mom’s purse.  You never know when you/Mom/or someone else might need it.
  2. Stash a few pads at church, in the women’s restroom or someplace you can quickly and easily access.
  3. Place a pad in your mom’s/dad’s car (dashboard glove compartment is ideal).
  4. Consider using a small makeup bag for keeping pads, wipes and a spare pair of panties handy. (can be kept in Mom’s trunk, under the car seat, restroom at church, locker, backpack, purse)
  5. Be sure to replace any of the stashed pads used – that way you are always prepared.
  6. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for a pad. Women have periods and many keep something in their purse for “just in case” and will be happy to share.
  7. Talk with your church’s women’s group and ask about creating a “for emergency” bag which can hang on the hook inside each stall in the women’s restroom (small gift bag containing a wipe, pad, liner, tampon)

Unexpected and unprepared are two words that often equal “big deal” when used in regard to our periods.

And, we often feel we are on our own when it comes to managing our periods. We deal with it, like my 12 year old friend, privately. We make do, the best we can with what we have, and hope it doesn’t become a big deal. When in reality, we don’t have to “go it alone!”

It’s so much easier when we menstruate in community – open to sharing, to discussing, to learning. Imagine this precious 12 year old saying to you, “My period started, do you have a pad I can use?” and you saying to her as you reach into your purse, “Sure! Here, I’m so glad you asked! Don’t worry, it’s happened to all of us!”

What period wise suggestions would you offer a tween or teen new to menstruation?

On Finding Normal

There is a part of me that yearns to share my story – my experience as I go through it now – to tell what it’s like to talk with others about it and no longer be able to experience it myself.

There is a part of me that is angry – angry that age has robbed me, that hormones have betrayed me.

I feel like a girl entering puberty – only in reverse.  A girl becomes a woman.  What does a woman become? Old? Shrived? Dried up?

Some say that with menopause comes freedom and a carefree attitude like girls experience before puberty burdens them with moodiness and steals their innocent laughter.

But, girls do not know of life, have not lived it apart from as a child.  Women have lived and loved and experienced life on a level far above that which any girl can experience it.

Puberty is an awakening to possibilities.

Menopause appears to close more doors than it opens.

And, one of those doors is menstruation and not just menstruation, but ovulation and natural cycles of my moon.

I miss that.  I won’t lie.

I miss my hormonal cycles.  I watch the moon in the night skies and I know where I should be in my own moon.  I know what I should be feeling and experiencing, both physically and emotionally.  And, I know that I’m not.  And that I never will again.

My mind forgets and believes my body is responding to hormonal cycling, when in reality it’s just hormonal fluctuations that cause confusing physical manifestations and mental distress.

Lost, oh, so lost.  I feel as though the me that was is no more. And, I’m left with someone I do not know – cannot relate to, nor understand.  And, in truth, do not want to know, relate to or understand.

Women tell me that life begins at menopause.  I understand what they mean – no more fears of pregnancy, no messy periods, no cyclic hormonal upheavals, no PMS, no need to purchase products, no longer a slave to emotions or the body.

I know.  And, I know I should be experiencing joy at moving into this stage of my life.

As a girl moving into puberty, I find that my thoughts and desires, hopes and dreams are changing.  My likes and dislikes, my joys and that which I find important – all changing as I change.

As a girl changes into a woman – I am changing inside.

Deep where no one sees…no one knows.  No one but me.  I know.  I see.  I feel.  I am aware.

I cannot stop it.  I cannot change it.  I am powerless, caught up in the flow of what is to be…in the reality of what is.

That which was important to me….  I shake my head as I look around me and wonder why I have all of this…stuff, this accumulation of things and why they were ever important to me.  I find a desire to live simply, to let go of, to give up what I’ve held onto for so long.

I am afraid.  Afraid to let go of menstruation…to set my thoughts and focus on things other than cycling…to see my days as something other than CD something and see it as CD nothing.  To lose the strengths I found in each day – the strengths unique to each and every day of my cycle – gone, all of it.

I’m lost.  I don’t know how to function – or how to find myself and my strengths.  I hope as my hormones settle and the raging ends I will find a pattern that I recognize as normal once again.

Oh, I know – it will be far different and unlike anything I’ve ever known before, but perhaps it will be better, if that is possible.

Yes, perhaps better.

I say that as I look down at my wrinkled hands and forearms.  My skin in the past 3 months has changed and looks like that of an old woman.  I have aged surprisingly fast as my hormones have slowed to a trickle.  It’s amazing what estrogen does for a woman.

No, I’m not doing hormone replacement therapy.  I decided to go the natural route. And, I’ll be honest, there are days when I wonder if I made the right decision.

In writing these words and giving expression to these thoughts, I feel relieved of some of the burden.  Where I go from here, I’ve no idea.  But, I do know that I will return here from time to time and unload my heart and my mind, expressing here what I am unable to express elsewhere.

I need this outlet.  I need this opportunity.  I need to share this, even if only with myself.

Ban on Women in Combat to be Lifted

Yesterday, FoxNews reported that the ban on women in combat will soon be lifted.

Women in all branches of the military soon will have unprecedented opportunities to serve on the front lines of the nation’s wars.

… the policy change…would open hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war, the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday….

The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule banning women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units.

FoxNews also reported that women comprise 14 percent of the 1.4 million active military personnel.


What period wise advice would you give a young woman entering the military?

Giovanna Plowman Tampon Video Goes Viral

If you go to YouTube or Google and search “girl sucks tampon” or “Giovanna Plowman” the results will surprise and likely shock you.

While there has been much discussion about her video, including whether she really removed and sucked on her own tampon (for the record she has said it isn’t real), the larger issue is about the intrigue it created.

Over a million views in a day.

Clearly people are curious about menstrual matters.


  • What if a video went viral that provided real menstrual wisdom?
  • What if you were to create it?
  • What would your video include?

If You Ask Me

Sunday morning at church, just as I was preparing to take my seat, I was asked by an older woman, “What do you do? Do you work?”

I glanced quickly around me, then back at her.  “Yes.  Yes, I work,” I replied.

“Where?” She asked.

“I work online,” I replied with a smile.

“For a company?” she inquired.

“Um, yes,” I answered.

“For a company here?” she asked.

Uh, no. The company isn’t here,” I replied.

“What do you do? she asked.

Glancing around again, I spoke low and clear. “I reply to inquiries and do other things.”

“Oh,” she said, then asked, “What’s the name of the company and what do they do?”

As I took a deep breath and prepared to jump into the answer, the Praise Band announced the beginning of the service with loud music.

I smiled at her, shrugged my shoulders and took my seat.

As I sat there, I watched as she took her seat and wondered what her reaction would have been to what I was prepared to tell her (and the mixed group sitting within earshot that would have easily overheard).

I don’t know that I’ve ever said “menstruation,” “menstrual,” “vagina,” “periodwise” or “menstrual cup” in church.  And, I truly doubt she has ever heard those words within the sanctuary of church.

The hesitancy I felt in openly sharing what I do when she first asked was based on two things:

  1. her probable reaction considering the setting,
  2. and, the reaction of those nearby who were forced to listen.

Should I have just jumped into what I do when she asked her first question?  Perhaps. Had she been younger, I probably would and without concern about causing embarrassment to her.

Would I like to sit down with this older woman and explain to her what I do and why?  Oh, yes! And, I hope I have opportunity to do so soon.  I think she would have a lot of period wise words.  After all, she’s had a lot of experience, period wise.


When I joined Twitter – I had so much to learn.  For example: every Friday I would see #FF in tweets.  I had no idea what it meant until a veteran tweeter explained Follow Friday – a day when people recommend other Twitter users worth following.

What a great idea!

Want to know what I think is an even greater idea?

Imagine a world where we boldly share our menstrual status – where #FF stands for Flow Friday and women everywhere shake off menstrual taboos and via tweet, Facebook post, blog, email, clothing, jewelry, (Feby) bracelet…we share our menstrual status.

And, in doing so we create menstrual community where #periodtalk becomes the norm and no woman ever feels isolated by or in her menstrual experience.

Left Out

No one likes to be left out…for any reason.


Especially not when that reason is as easily resolved as…

Don’t be sidelined – check out menstrual cups.

If you use them, don’t be shy – be period wise – tell your friends.

No one likes to be left out…for any reason!

PeriodWise Launch Press Release

For Immediate Release 1.14.13

Suzan Hutchinson, menstrual activist, Toxic Shock Syndrome survivor, and educator, announces the launch of PeriodWise, an online experience designed to provide community, raise awareness, break taboos, educate and empower girls and women of all ages about the benefits of embracing the entirety of their menstrual experience.

The hub of PeriodWise is a website,, featuring relevant resources and conversation about menstruation. Additionally, PeriodWise has a strong social media presence:

PeriodWise is dedicated to open discussion about menstruation and frequently asks the questions: how are you, period wise? and, what is the periodwise thing to do?


Suzan Hutchinson  –


Meet Laura Wershler

Laura Wershler describes herself as a pro-choice menstrual cycle advocate on the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research’s blog re: Cycling.

I’ve been a menstrual cycle advocate since 1979 when, during a year of post-pill amenorrhea that totally freaked me out, I began to research the ill effects of hormonal contraception. It is not an understatement to say that reading  Barbara Seaman’s national bestseller Women and The Crisis in Sex Hormones changed my life. It started me on a path of self-discovery, and commitment to the idea that healthy, ovulatory menstruation is integral to women’s health and well-being.

As a menstrual activist myself, I find Laura’s work informative and spot on.  I hope you will take the time to visit Society for Menstrual Cycle Research and check out Laura’s thoughts on women’s issues and menstruation.