All posts tagged: Period

The Mazel Tov Slap: The Jewish Tradition You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

When I told my mother I got my period for the very first time, she slapped me across the face and shouted, “Mazel Tov!” It wasn’t a punishment slap — more like the way you’d slap a person who fainted, or something out of the Marx Brothers — and it didn’t feel violent. I don’t remember the moment in great detail, and I don’t remember it as something terrible that happened to me. I mostly remember knowing that it was part of long-standing tradition from shtetl times, passed down from Jewish mother to Jewish daughter, the purpose (supposedly) being to bring the color back to your face (because it’s all draining out through your vagina now!). It’s possible I even knew it was coming, that it was something we discussed in advance — probably with all of my female relatives! — as I eagerly awaited the big day. And yes, I so desperately wanted my period, because at 14, it felt like ALL OF MY FRIENDS had theirs, and I was on the outside of this magical …

It’s Getting Hot in Here: The Sweaty Signifier of Age

I was at the kind of music festival that draws packs of “festies,” young people who travel from concert to concert in the summertime wearing Indian-print skirts and bikini tops, their skin pierced and tattooed, wafting a fragrance that commingles pot and patchouli, with a base note of humid sleeping bag. An afternoon spent among them was making me feel my age, 48 at the time. They were groovy goddesses of their own anointing, with crazy-curly-cool hair highlighted in green and purple, bare feet kicking up dirt as they danced. They looked like beautiful children with their exposed tummies — flat or rounded, it did not seem to matter which — playful and unselfconscious. I was sitting under a dusty sycamore, wondering how weird I’d look if I starting reading my library book, when it struck me: a bolt of searing heat, a sudden scrambling of the brain. A hot flash is a bit like a menstrual cramp or migraine. Even if you’ve never had one, you know it when you feel it. And perhaps …

Rumer TiftMerritt and AniDiFranco

The TueDo List: Period Reads, New Jams and Judy Blume

This week’s issue is about that time of the month, which may or may not be this weekend depending on your life and cycle. But is it ever really a bad time for chocolate, good stories from good women, pretty songs and Judy Blume? Nope. So happy weekend — whether or not there’s a cramp currently in your style. Period Jams No one compares to Karen Carpenter, says this ‘70s child raised on her music. But Rumer’s voice comes pretty close, as do her tunes perfect for a lazy afternoon. Her new album, Into Colour, isn’t out in the U.S. until early 2015, but it dropped this week in the UK and Japan and you can get a free download of the single “Sam” from her website. Meanwhile, I’m catching up on her previous releases and feeling like I’m on a sweet musical trip to when my flare jeans were much tinier. In other women-in-music news, Ani DiFranco released Allergic to Water, and the wildly talented singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tift Merritt joins D.C. area legend Mary Chapin Carpenter and …

How the Founder of HelloFlo is Starting a Revolution, One Month at a Time

You may have seen the hilarious videos Camp Gyno or First Moon Party, both of which went viral with their no B.S. take on getting your period. Naama Bloom is the force behind those videos, a bit of content marketing for her company HelloFlo.com. Bloom was a marketing executive when she started noodling over the idea for a tampon/pad delivery service that would set you up with products at just the right time of the month. But HelloFlo has evolved into more than that — broader health care resources for women during pregnancy, post-partum and soon menopause. I had an illuminating chat with Bloom about how she’s turning the behind-closed-doors business about women’s bodies into something a lot more practical and shame-free. Margit: So how did you get started in the period business? Naama: It started as just a fun, intellectual exercise, honestly. I had a job at a small software company and I was noticing all these subscription services popping up. One of them was for a company called Manpacks, which originally started to …

Why Is Talking About Her First Period Still So Awkward?

The average age for girls in the United States to get their first period is 12 to 13, though the range of normal spans 9 to 15. And some research has shown that even that number is further encroaching into childhood, dipping more and more below 10. As a mother of girls, that’s cause for pause. You want them to be spared of all that a little while longer. It feels like a very adult thing for a child to process and deal with, but the last thing you want is for her to be scared. Even though you’d dread the thought that that totally carefree part of childhood would be gone forever, you want her to be prepared. However, having “the talk” (or at least one of the “talks”) is not the easiest information to give or process. The conversation I’d never have with my daughter: “You see, honey, you’ll be dealing with blood for a very, very long time.” “How long?” “Just 38 years or so. Oh, and it’s every month…. But you get used to it.” Not such pleasant news. Of course it is a sign of good health, but let’s …

16 and Not Even Close to Pregnant

At 16 years old many important teenage milestones had been checked off the list: Drivers permit? Check. Sweet 16 co-ed birthday bash? You bet. First kiss? Well…yeah. A few years ago. But there was one important thing that had hadn’t happened yet. One big thing. No I’m not talking about getting into an R-rated movie or being invited to that kegger in the woods (this was the mid-‘80s, people). I’m talking about getting my period. If getting your period meant that you were now a woman, that meant that despite my big boobs and insanely-intense interest in boys and Mick Jagger, I somehow remained a little girl. My gang of girlfriends, along with what seemed to be the rest of the world, had morphed into adulthood – what was the matter with me? I had been to the gynecologist who said to be patient, every girl develops differently, it would come, just give it time. I started getting sympathy cramps when my best friend Susanne had them. I started wearing a maxi pad “just in …

Hormonal Havoc: Understanding the Symptoms of Menopause

Once we hit 45 years old, a thought goes through all our minds at least once: How will “the change” affect me?  Will I have crazy, uncontrollable bleeding for weeks on end, drenching sweats that happen all day and night or painful sex that makes intimacy with my husband a thing of the past? The path to this change of life, medically known as menopause, affects every one of us differently. There was a time when we got together with our girlfriends to have a glass (or two) of wine and the conversations typically revolved around topics related to our out of control teenage children, financial issues and complaining about our husband’s/partner’s obsession with football. The conversation takes a dramatic shift when you are the first one in the group to bravely admit that you had a sudden burst of fire in your body that caused you to sweat so badly it looked like you just stepped out of the shower. The terrifying look on your 30-year-old friend’s face only highlights the fact that you are entering …

BookMaven’s Picks: My Favorite Heroines of a Certain Age

While there aren’t scores of books out there specifically and explicitly about menstruation (can anyone name many others than Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Carrie and The Red Tent?), there are none — zip, zero, nada — specifically and explicitly about what our parents and grandparents elliptically referred to as “the change.” Go ahead, comb through your mental library stacks, type away on your search engine of choice — you’ll find that no author of fiction wants to be tagged with “menopause, end of menarche, change of life, cessation of menses.” Small wonder. We live in a youth-obsessed culture, and for centuries women’s nature-driven transition from fertile to fallow has been derided, mocked, given the gimlet eye. Women of a certain age in literature were long given this treatment, too: Think of Chaucer’s Wife of Bath, or Lady Macbeth, on and on to Mrs. Danvers and even Miss Jean Brodie. Fortunately, today women tend to think of menopause less as the end of life, and more as “the end of the sentence.” That …

Margit’s Note: A Bloody Good Issue

Period. What other word can simultaneously represent major “ugh” as well as the most innocuous of punctuation? We’re moving through blood, space and time — backwards to when we first screamed at our own undies, and forward to when it all just stops. As Tweens II (you know I can’t bear to say the phrase “middle-aged”), we’re beginning to prep our daughters in a way that feels shame-free and honest; and prep ourselves for the change (pronounced as Linda Richman would) in the same way. We ain’t kicking up our heels and singing along with Menopause the Musical, friends. But the girls are alright. This Week: Jennifer Ha figures out how to have “the talk” with her daughter. Diane Di Costanzo is feeling the hot coals. Karen Gerwin wonders if she should slap her daughter. Lori Ferraro is late, late, late. Bethanne Patrick gives us her favorite heroines of a certain age. We get the scoop on what the heck happens during menopause from the experts at HelloFlo.com. And I interview the founder of HelloFlo, …