Category Archives: Periods

Period! Magazine

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I am delighted to introduce you to Paula Kragten, the founding editor of Period! Magazine. I love the layout! Love the articles! Love the mission of Period!

Thanks to Paula, for filling us in on how the magazine came to be and her vision for its future. (And don’t miss the last line, which swings us right back to menopause). Take it away, Paula:

I’m an editor/journalist from the Netherlands. For several years I worked for so called women magazines; mostly lifestyle features about interior design, architecture, travel, food, fashion. After 25 years, my workinganniversary so to speak, it hit me: I wondered why every single topic has its own magazine, except the one and only thing all women have in common: menstruation.

So I decided to start an online magazine. The Dutch edition went online in 2014. Aprils Fools Day seemed the most logical date. Most colleagues thought I was hit by the wings of a Dutch windmill.

Of course Period! is also the result of my personal interest. That started right after my own first period: at age 12. I wondered why there were so many mixed signals. On one hand: “Wow. Congrats.” But on the other: “Periods are gross so you better hide them. You should be ashamed.” That really puzzled me.

I was curious how women coped with menstruation in the dark ages or in prehistoric times. And also if periods were seen as a negative phenomenon in all cultures. Sadly I couldn’t find a single soul with the same interest.

So I went to the library – this was before the Google era – to get some answers. There was hardly any information there, besides from how things biologically work. Since then I have been collecting all the interesting publications and books on the topic I could find. That’s quite an archive right now.

About the launch:

Period! Magazine was originally intended to be a small project. Just for Holland. What happened really surprised me. Site visitors found us before I even realized the magazine was online. Lots of attention in the media. No harsh criticism at all. The involvement seemed huge. Also surprising – thanks to the translate button on social media – readers from abroad. A year after the launch in 2014, the English version went online.

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About the future:

At first I expected readers would be women like me: who know how things work biologically, but who are interested in the quirky side of the topic and use the magazine as a box of chocolate, selecting which posts which posts and subjects appealed to them most. That was the basic idea: a feel good magazine, colorful, surprising, entertaining. But when it comes to menstruation, thousands of years of civilization haven’t really brought us much. You can understand narrow mindedness in rural areas. But in a modern western society with internet?

It’s annoying enough that we menstruate ten times as much as we did a few centuries ago, that in total we’re on our period for six years of our lives and that we have to deal with the subject for about forty years. Menstruation isn’t even a condition for successful procreation. Rabbits don’t need sanitary towels. There’s no mammal that menstruates as enthusiastically as the human. Apparently, this gives us some evolutionary benefits. Interesting, isn’t it?

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However, periods are still an enormous taboo. When it comes to menstruation women are rather narrow minded. Period! is trying to carve a way by looking at the subject from as many different angles as possible. I strongly believe that is necessary.

More humor and self-mockery and less embarrassment would be nice. And some more consideration. On one hand everything has to be 100% ecologically responsible, while on the other we throw away at least 13,000 tampons and sanitary towels in the trash bin, without a second thought.

Many women don’t even know what a menstrual cup is. Or they suffer from serious menstrual complaints, but don’t do anything about it as they have been led to believe those problems are just a part of menstruation. Unpleasant odors and leakage stains are NOT the worst that can happen. This negative attitude has to change. We do humanity a favor by menstruating!

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Period! Magazine can go on forever. There are so many interesting period related things to write about. Last March I also published a book on the topic: Mooi rood is niet lelijk (best translated as Beautiful Red Isn’t Bad).

 

Periods became my full time job. That’s funny, for a woman in menopause 🙂

Photo Credits: The bottle is from Mentrosity. The other images are Period Magazine/Shutterstock.

Falling Off the Roof

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For your viewing pleasure, a painting created exclusively for Friend for the Ride:

Falling Off the Roof

My mom painted this young lady falling off the roof, inspired by a recent conversation with her friends.

During their high school and college days, in the forties and fifties, Mom said they felt oh so sophisticated confiding in one another:  “I fell off the roof.”

Meaning:  “It’s that time of the month.”

We wondered where this expression came from.

I had no luck googling, so I checked with Harry Finley at MUM, the Museum of Menstruation.

Harry doesn’t know either, but he remembers a visitor to the museum in 1994 who was writing a book on expressions.   The writer thought “falling off the roof” came from the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Perhaps, but when I reported this back to Mom, she commented that the  girls in Baltimore and the girls she met at Duke certainly knew it too.

Harry’s MUM site boasts an incredible online archive of materials related to menstruation.

A pamphlet titled As One Girl to Another, is dated 1943.

Produced by Kotex, the page below refers to the “crazy nicknames” girls have for their periods.

Yep, one of those crazy nicknames is “falling off the roof.”

Menstruation Booklet

But I still have no idea where the expression came from.

Any ideas?

Falling Off the Roof

My mom, Nancy Kiehne, paints in acrylics and watercolor. To see more of her work, check out her Tumblr site.

I Didn’t Pause for Menopause

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When blogger Ruth Crates told me that she flew through menopause, I asked her to write us a post to present that side of  the story.  Take it away, Ruth!

Menopause?

I think I was so busy I missed it.

Since I am now 62, and I haven’t had a period in a while, I am pretty sure it happened.

Let’s back up just a little bit…

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When I reached the age where periods were probable, my mom sat down with me (briefly) and we had a talk.

What I remember most about the talk was the fact that my grandmother never told my mother about the entire process.  Some subjects were just taboo in the 1930’s; this was one of them.  When her first period came, she seriously thought she was going to die and was afraid to tell anyone.   Luckily, her older sister intervened.

Even though Mom didn’t really give me a lot of information during the talk, she at least wanted to spare me the fear of the unknown.

She  gave me a little book created by Kotex  called “Now You Are 10”.  It explained everything very nicely and even had a diagram explaining how to use the little belts we had to wear to hold the sanitary napkins in place.   I never did get the hang of that!

now you are 10

Girls are always at some hormonal point in their lives.  I figure we get 10 years of no worries.

Then you have:  Premenstrual, Menstrual, Postmenstrual,  Pregnancy, Post pregnancy, Perimenopause. Menopause, and Post Menopause.  It’s the never-ending story!

I have gone through all those stages (some of them several times).

Unfortunately, now I have reached the stage which I have taken the liberty of calling “Oldness.”

I may be done with all of the above afflictions, but now there are new things  like memory-loss, confusion, arthritis, joint-replacement, and the ever popular incontinence.

As for the menopause thing, I had a pretty easy time of it.

My periods were never  regular except for a brief time in the 70’s when I was on “The Pill”.  So I can easily dismiss that symptom.

I don’t recall a single hot flash.

I did have night sweats for a long time…. maybe even as long as 10 years, but I blamed it on my mattress.

Since my periods were irregular, they were sometimes “super-heavy” and unpredictable.  I bought a rubberized bed cover to protect the mattress.  I always thought that the rubber discouraged air flow and  resulted in the sweats.  Maybe it was actually … menopause!

This I am sure of:  paranoia is a direct result of menopause.

When I turned 57, I had not had a period in several months and I began to have thoughts about being pregnant. It could happen.  These thoughts took on a life of their own and I began to obsess about it.

I had several mini-panic  attacks thinking I was pregnant.

I actually went to the doctor and had a pregnancy test done.   My doctor, thank goodness, is a woman, so I think she sensed how disturbed my thoughts were and wanted to put these fears to rest.

Of course, the results were negative, and I was quite relieved. I guess the funniest part about this obsession is that my husband had  a vasectomy 20 years earlier…. I mean, really, what were the odds!

I have always thought that obsessive and unrealistic thoughts were a side effect of menopause, at least in my case, because usually I am pretty sane.

Every woman’s menopause is different.

We should be careful not to compare our experience with others too closely. Experiencing an uneventful menopause is definitely preferable to having a difficult one.

Taking your menopausal symptoms seriously is sound procedure.

Visiting your doctor on a regular basis is just good sense.  The better your doctor knows you, the better chance you both have of being able to figure out what is going on with your body.  That is something we all need to be aware of no matter what time of life we are in.

Regardless of how you deal with the stages of your life… they are your Life.

Enjoy the changes and embrace each stage because there is always another one on the way!

Ruth profile

Ruth Crates was born and raised on a Midwest grain and livestock farm and has  lived her entire life within a 30 mile radius.  She’s  been married to a grain and livestock farmer for 41 years, and they have three children (An attorney, a carpenter, and a librarian) and three grandchildren. Ruth taught for 35 years. She’s now retired and loving it! She started blogging to record stories for her children and grandchildren. Check out her  blog at Retiredruth: Life in the 50’s and Beyond.

Menopause: Save the Sisters!

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Menopause + Definition

Although the subtitle of this blog is “Encouraging Words for the Menopause Roller Coaster,” I must give you a

Whine Alert!

I thought the great day would come when we’d stop having periods.

No cramps.

No worrying about going sailing for six hours at that time of the month.

No birth control.

Just free wheeling.

I figured the definition above, which I snipped from a Google search of “menopause,” was an honest one.

Not!

 Menopause is so much more.

No cramps slips into other concerns: achy feet, insomnia, extra dry skin, weight gain, bloating, and on and on….

No birth control remains a blessing, but one’s enthusiasm can wane when vaginal dryness and atrophy appear.

I was tricked!

No one warned me, really.

Or maybe they did, but I missed it.

Menopause, physically, is not simply the cessation of periods and the end to the possibility of pregnancy.

I cry NOT to the definition above. Or perhaps that should be “THAT’S NOT ALL!”

Do I wish I had known?

Yes!

I’m of the forewarned is best persuasion.

The Girl Scout motto “Be prepared” stuck with me.

What about  you?

There’s plenty to celebrate with The Great Pause.

Liberation from some of the “shoulds” and “musts.”

A willingness to toss out what’s not working.

The courage and confidence to find new hobbies, activities, travels, relationships, and even careers.

The mind-changing stuff rocks.

But to the physical stuff I say

Yikes and Yuck.

So what are the encouraging words?

Point one is that there are remedies, at least in part, for some of the ailments.

Point two is that the mind-changing stuff is cool.

Point three is that I think it’s time we

Save the Sisters!

Just like an older sister informs a younger one about periods, we should let those who come after us know what lies ahead.

I wish I’d been warned.

I would have appreciated my youth more.

And not been so shocked by the changes to my body.

So it’s time, with encouraging but honest words, to clue in the sisters.

Agree?

Disagree?