Name: Madeline (Maddie) Adams
Work: Mom, part-time at non profit school for adults on the autism spectrum
Period Type: Heavy, irregular
Do you remember when you first got your period?
It was just weeks before my 14th birthday when I first got my period. I remember asking my mom to confirm it because I wasn’t sure. I remember feeling a range of emotions at the time. Excitement, fear, anxiety, etc.
The worst experience you had with your period:
I don’t know if I have one experience because it has been more of a collection of hard experiences. I remember spending many days curled up on my bathroom floor gripping my abdomen and back in tears. My menstrual cramps were so debilitating that I often had to miss school and work during my high school years. No amount of ibuprofen, Motrin, or Advil relieved my pain. I remember desperately implementing everything I could find on the Internet and realizing my period was interfering with my life.
During my sophomore year of high school, my gynecologist recommended birth control to manage the pain. Although the pill helped alleviate my pain, it came with other unpleasant side effects including hormonal imbalances, acne, infections, fatigue, anxiety, and irritability. I tried several different birth control options over the years and remember feeling defeated. I felt like I had to choose between the cramps and the birth control side effects and that was discouraging.
How you currently try to combat problems regarding your period:
I am currently breastfeeding so it has been awhile since I’ve had my period. I’m nervous about what it will look like a postpartum!
What’s your period “hack”?
I don’t know if I have any hacks. Does practicing self care during your period count as a hack?
What do you wish other people understood about having a period?
It shouldn’t be taboo because it affects so many of us. When I’ve openly talked about my experience, I’ve found that many women have had similar experiences. There are a handful of women in my life who suffer from even more serious conditions such as PCOS and Endometriosis. I believe we need to really see women and need more innovation in women’s health (go The Girls Co)! It’s important we work toward eliminating stigmas surrounding periods and period pain. After all, they are a normal part of our lives.
What do you wish you understood when you were younger about having a period?
I wish I understood that periods look different for everyone and to let go of expectations. I wish I understood it was never anything to be ashamed of. I felt ashamed that I hated my period and felt ashamed of my period altogether at times. Sometimes I find it wild that it’s totally acceptable for people to rest and take care of themselves when they’re sick. Yet many women are expected to suffer through their period because it’s “just the way it is” or because it’s a continuous cycle.
What would you tell young girls about their periods?
You shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed. It’s important to advocate for yourself if you are in pain. Your hard experiences related to your period are valid and though they can be difficult, they can help you recognize your own resiliency and empower you.