Category Archives: Break Taboos

Let it Flow

I was treated to a wonderful opportunity lately when a close family member required repeated hospitalization over a span of two months – I was the designated caregiver.

Throughout those hospital stays, often of two weeks at a time, I was able to observe multiple women as they cruised through their menstrual cycles.  Those observed varied in age, socioeconomically, race, education, occupation….

Doctors, nurses, techs, family members and friends of patients – all exhibited indicators of where they were in their cycle – and if they cycled.

PMS.  Fatigue. Irritability. Frustration. Tears. Talkative. Anger. Impatience. Hyperactive. Forgetfulness. Confusion. Desire to be close. Need to be alone. Quiet.  Loud. Aggressive.  In pain.  In the bathroom. Wearing black. Wearing white.  Craving chocolate and carbs.  Pigging out on pizza.  Sags and bags and dark circles under the eyes. Happy. Gregarious.  Helpful. On task. Cold. Chilled. Sweating. Stomach upset. Pimples. Headache. Stomachache.  Bloated. Sexy (or saw themselves as such).  Invisible (or wished to be).  Outgoing. Secure.  Insecure.  Inward focused.  Outward facing. Open.  Definitely closed. Period proud.  And, period disgusted.

Pads and tampons (often doubled up). Scented product as well as plain. Thongs. Granny panties. Undershorts.  Compression shorts.  Period panties.

But, no cups – at least not among any of the nurses or doctors I encountered and engaged in conversations, period wise.

No cups.  Most were not aware there was such a thing as a menstrual cup and had no clue as to how one would work.  Or, if it would work for them.

One pregnant doctor was overheard commenting to a nurse that she much preferred being pregnant to having her “monthlies.”

Menstrual aromas were everywhere – and, you should know…scented pads/tampons and liberal use of feminine hygiene spray shout “Hey, I’m on my period! And, I have something to hide!”

Women do it – cycle that is. If we don’t – we did at some point.  And, those who haven’t yet, will.

So, what’s with all the hush hush about menstruation and our natural cycles?  It’s a part of who we are any given day of the month.  Let’s embrace those changes we encounter when we cycle and stop fighting them.

Embrace menstruation – in yourself and in others.

Let’s relax, period wise, and let it flow.


Dear Kate, My First Time Was…

I love this.


Dear Kate’s First-time video is…well…take a look for yourself.

OH!  And, be sure to page down…all the way down to the bottom of the page – down to where it says “SHARE YOUR STORY” 😉

Dear Kate’s wonderful period wise advice is –  “so, let’s talk about it.”

For the Freedom to Bleed Red


“Come and see the blood on my skirt!” is the invitation given by Shambhawi Vikram.


…to demystify the taboos and create a healthy, sustained debate around menstrual hygiene and reproductive health.


…carry pads, tampons and other products…around proudly.


April 10, 2015


Pads Against Sexism that started in Jamia Milia Islamia University has found momentum in Jadavpur University and now in Delhi University – against rising sexism in our society. You can read more such stories from campuses across India at Campus Watch, and #RaiseYourVoice!

That affects me how?

People need to be comfortable with the fact that as they walk down the streets, there are women walking around wearing sanitary napkins and tampons fixed firmly so that not a drop leaks out; as they sit in classes there are people who have blood trickling down their vaginas and it may or may not affect her demeanour, her mood or her ability to solve a mathematics problem! And no, this blood is not impure or unclean in any manner. This is precisely the kind of discourse that tries to reify women’s body by reducing her merely to her womb, wherein her sexuality must be curbed, her body and person either raised to the divine (render her sexless) or cast her as a whore (demeaning and conveniently eroticising her). It is this discourse that reduces a woman only to her reproductive roles and thus conveniently discriminates against her with menstruation being the most obvious and ugly reminder of her fertility. (Read more.)

For more details please go to


Menstruation – a Threat to Community Safety

I first saw this picture while scanning Facebook.  My first reaction was to smile. My own sleep leaks came to mind – and a reminder that I”m part of something so much bigger than I.

My eyes drifted to the caption below the picture.

This Photo Was Removed By Instagram.

I looked at the photo again.

The warm fuzzy feelings I’d had earlier evaporated like raindrops on a hot rock.  I clicked on the link and began to read.

Someone at Instagram removed Rupi Kaur’s picture because it didn’t conform to their interpretation of Instagram’s Community Standards.

(How would a picture of a sleeping menstruating woman be a threat to community safety?)


(that Instagram would pull this picture)


(that Instagram would consider this picture to be inappropriate)


(that’s what Instagram’s reaction is)


(an apology does not erase it – change is required)

Uncalled for!

(the ignorant and asinine reactions of the few who dictate to the many)


(that’s what this is and we can’t sit back and be silent about it)

Rupi Kaur has lifted the banner high and we must join in the movement to unfetter menstruation. Let our voices be heard in support of the freedom to menstruate uncensored.

Menstruation is not shameful.  It is not pornographic. It is not nasty. It is not something that should be hidden or denied.

Menstruation is glorious. It is beautiful. It is natural. It is creative. It is something that should not be hidden and must never be denied.

Ignorance must come face to face with truth and who better to speak it than those who menstruate?!

Speak up! Speak out! Let your voice be heard about all things period wise, and let no one censor you, period wise!

Follow Rupi Kaur.

Venus Matters

There’s a nifty little idea that could come in handy for all sorts of bedtime situations and appears, at least in idea, to beat towels and old blankets hands down when it comes to protecting sheets and mattresses.

It’s a Venus Pad.

The Venus Mat is a cotton-covered, absorbent, waterproof and washable mat that keep stains or wet-spots off the bed linens. (Learn more.)

According to the website, Venus Matters to a lot of women.

  • women tired of menstrual stains on sheets
  • women with new babies
  • teenage girls concerned about night time leaks
  • women experiencing night sweats and heavy flows
  • sexually active women
  • women concerned with the perceived curse of menstruation

Take a minute and watch the video.

Know Thyself

I am blown away of the number of women unfamiliar with their bodies and who have never been “hands on” apart from the minimal touch required to keep it clean.

Tell me, Ladies, how many males do you know who are NOT hands on with their genitalia? From infancy on up until the day they die, males are hands on.  And, it’s accepted as the norm.

So, what’s up with us?  Why are we any different?  Is it just because ours doesn’t hang out in front and wiggle?  Or, because we don’t need to wrangle it when urinating to keep from spraying the wall…floor….? Does that give us a reason not to know and understand and handle what we have?

Or, is it more?

Is it that most of us are born with a hymen and social taboos prohibit us from doing anything that would harm that precious piece of skin lest we be considered to be of less value simply because our hymen is torn, stretched, or missing?

Is it because of misinformation that says that girls who handle themselves and are aware down there will become promiscuous?  (Did you know that’s the very reason some moms give for not wanting their girls to use tampons?)

When’s the last time you were hands on, genitally speaking?  When’s the last time you encouraged your girl to be hands on?

Look, Ladies, much of what we have is internal and what is visible, isn’t to us unless we take a mirror and explore the wonderful world down-under.

It’s time we do so – explore that is.  It’s your body, I don’t care how young or how old you are.  You’re responsible for her.  Know her – every millimeter of her. Know what she feels like.  Learn how she responds.  Decide what she likes. Understand what she dislikes and know why.

Be hands on.

There are two rules to hands on exploration.  Be gentle. Have clean hands.

Here’s a little homework for you when you’re not on, period wise.

  • Get a mirror and find your urethra. (Simply put – that’s where your pee comes out.)
  • Slip your finger into your vagina and feel for your bladder.  (This is best done when your bladder is full.)
  • After you locate your bladder (and even if you don’t), feel for your rectum and lower bowel.  (You might find that the meal you ate two days ago has neared the end of its journey and is approaching the exit of your digestive system as a lumpy, bumpy mass.)
  • While your finger is within your vagina, Kegel (tighten the muscles used to prevent or regulate urine flow) and see how tight you can squeeze.
  • While you have the mirror handy, see if you can find your hymen, or the remnants of it.
  • And, check out your inner labia.  Do they match? Do you notice any spots, freckles…warts?
  • Oh!  And, while you are down there, if you’ve given birth and had an episiotomy, see if you can find your scar!

There’s so much more to learn and do – it’s your body. Get to know her.  Understand her.  Appreciate her  Love her.  She’s dependent on you to take good care of her. How can you if you don’t know who she is?

Want some links?  Look below. Be advised. (Some contain simple drawings while others, actual pictures.) Be body wise. Be period wise.

Vaginal Self-Examination

Vagina – what’s normal and what’s not

What does a “normal” woman look like down there?

Female Anatomy – your ultimate guide


Female External genitalia: Vulva


Say it with me – Vagina.

Again – Vagina.

One more time.  Vagina.

Now say “vulva.”

Say it again – Vulva.

Now wasn’t that easy?

And, wasn’t it faster and less complicated than saying, “um, my, ah, private lady parts, you know, haha, um….” Because, no, I don’t know and apparently you don’t either.  And, neither will your doctor.

Vagina. There’s nothing dirty about the word. And, there’s nothing nasty about vaginas.

I have one. You have one.  Your mother has one. Your daughter has one. Your girlfriend has one.

Vagina. Vagina. Vagina.  What’s the big deal with saying vagina?

Why are we embarrassed by the word?  Are we embarrassed to have a vagina?  Are we ashamed of her?  …afraid of her?

Why is it so hard for so many to say “vagina”?

Or, vulva? Or, vestibule? Or, labia? Or, clitoris?

We have no problem saying ear, fingernail, belly button, nose, elbow, or big toe.

Why can we not accept these feminine parts of our anatomy as good, honorable, delightful and worthy of kind consideration?

Why deny their existence? Why hesitate to speak their names?

Period wise, we would be up a creek without a paddle if we had no vagina to hold our tampons or menstrual cups and no vulva against which to place our pads.

We are women, body proud and period wise. Let’s honor ourselves and our femininity through our confident use of delightful words that spell out who we are.

Taking the Lead

True movers and shakers arise and become leaders because they address a need for change, provide a new focus, shine light on new possibilities, and reveal differences that require addressing. Their difference is intriguing and irresistible.

They work behind the scenes (usually just being themselves) while others take notice of their unique qualities and the difference their presence makes. Others begin to follow, to seek to conform, to become a part of the change.

Leaders step in when a gap is created – not because they seek power, but because they are busy living who they are in such a way that makes taking the lead a natural progression of simply living into being themselves.

Who do you know to be a mover and shaker, an advocate, an innovator, a change-maker…a leader in things period wise?

I”ll start the list – you finish it for me.

What Do You Fear?

For many years I feared that which I could not control and had no control over…my flow.

I could not control when it started or how long it lasted.

I had no control over how heavily I flowed or if I leaked.

That was unnerving.

Tampons were my go-to from the moment I thought flow would begin until after all color had departed.

And, when I say tampons I mean the biggest, most absorbent, baddest, fattest tampons I could find.

I didn’t just use one…I would use two…three…and have been known to use four or more at a time to achieve a sense of control over my flow.

I hated leaks…hated leaking.  The fear of embarrassment was overwhelming.

And, as I watch girls, teens and women, I know the fear is universal.

It saddens me.  Does it you?

What do you fear? And, why?

What would happen if you set aside the fear and just…lived, loved and embraced menstruation as it comes?

Let’s address the fear and find a solution.

Breaking cultural / social menstrual taboos is a good place to start.

And, so is taking a good long look at menstrual products.   It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway.  Not all menstrual products are created equal. And, they are not one size fits all.

Let’s accept menstruation as normal (it is) and not as an embarrassing or shame-filled experience (it’s not).

Let’s model a healthy and period wise attitude toward menstruation and let’s pay it forward to the next generation.

Let’s empower ourselves and others – knowledge is power – and, let’s choose products that are as healthy as they are helpful.

Be wise when it comes to period matters.




Gia Allemand – Beauty and the Beast

Yesterday on the Dr. Phil Show, the mother of reality TV star Gia Allemand talked about her daughter’s tragic suicide.

Donna Micheletti — who was on the phone with the former “Bachelor” star when she hanged herself — described her final moments with her daughter to Dr. Phil, explaining Gia had a history of drastic mood swings around the time of her period.

Donna said, “At that point, with how she felt with her menstrual cycle, she could not see clearly … It was like night and day. It would come out of nowhere. All of a sudden, something would click in there and she would say ‘This isn’t right. He doesn’t love me.'”

Donna acknowledged that Gia had been upset for various reasons — including recent fights with her boyfriend and father — but believes the hormonal extremes are what ultimately drove Gia over the edge. TMZ

I watched the entire hour of Tragic Beauty: The Exclusive Story of a Bachelorette’s Suicide.

It broke my heart to know that Gia suffered horrible mood swings during her cycle and “that time of the month” was a tremendous burden for her to bear emotionally.

There are those who discount the effect her hormonal changes had on her and wish to blame her suicide on other things.  But, from one who experiences things similar to what Gia’s mother described…I know how difficult it can be to see clearly in that dark place once you enter it, and how confusing everything seems.  And, I know how difficult it is (at the time) to believe that in a day or so all will return to normal.

Were there other factors that led to Gia’s suicide?  Most likely, yes.

Did “that time of the month” play a role? Yes, I believe hormonal changes did play a large role in this.

And, I also know this is not a popular position to take.  Don’t believe me?  Just check other blogs online.

Menstrual taboos keep us silent.  It’s time we speak up and speak out.

If hormonal changes in your cycle bring about depressed feelings, especially those that lead to thoughts of suicide, get help. Talk to someone.  Share what you are experiencing. And, don’t stop talking until you find someone who can help you.

You are not alone.  Many others experience this every cycle.  Don’t let fear or embarrassment keep you from getting the help you need.  Break the menstrual taboos that keep you a silent prisoner.

If you experience drastic emotional swings during your cycle, be period wise – keep a CD (Cycle Day) journal.  Within that journal write down what you experience, how you feel, what you think.  Keep track of the changes you experience each day of your cycle.  Share it with your doctor.