Who are you (we’d love to get to know you!) and what are your preferred pronouns?
My name is Sarah and my preferred pronouns are she/her! I am the CTO (Chief Tampon Officer 😉) at Twelve and also work in technology consulting recruitment. I am very lucky to do something that I love with an organization that lets me explore areas of interest and even generously hosted a donation drive for Twelve earlier this year! Outside of work, you will find me running or watching reality TV (aka I’m either active or a blob, there’s no in-between).
How did you first learn about periods?
I am not positive if this was the first time I learned about periods, but I do remember finding my mom's tampons at a young age and asking her about it. I was horrified when I learned about what a period was and that it was something I’d go through EVERY month.
Do you remember your first period conversation? Who was it with and what was that like?
I vaguely remember learning about it from my mom (see above) and some conversations with friends. To be honest, in some ways it feels like it’s something I’ve always known.
When did you get your first period?
I got it at the beginning of grade 8 - so I would have been 13. I remember being grateful, because I wasn’t the first person in my class to get my period and I wasn’t the last – I was comfortably in the middle and in terms of getting your period that felt like the perfect place to 13 year old Sarah.
How was it? What happened?
I was at my best friend's house at the time. I was so excited - other girls had gotten their periods already and I was excited to finally feel caught up (which is so funny to think about now). I remember proudly marching back from the bathroom to get a pad. I grabbed from the pads that had been in the small pocket in my backpack for months! Suddenly these objects that had sat their uselessly for all that time felt like gold. I proudly announced to my friend that I got my period and returned to the bathroom to use the pad. I feel really lucky because I was in such a safe space and was able to celebrate the moment as a step forward in maturity. I think about those who get their periods for the first time in precarious situations and felt the need to hide it. We all already feel so much shame about our periods and I am appreciative of the fact that my first experience was a positive one.
Do you try to take extra care of yourself while on your period? If so, how?
In some ways! All things considered I don't feel like my period has a huge impact on my life in the same way that I know others face! When I get cramps I do try to push myself to exercise because I find that for me it makes me feel better (even if it’s really hard to get myself out the door). However, it is actually my mental health I feel needs the most attention during my period. I came from a competitive running background where size was something that was very sensitive, and my own self-love journey is still evolving. Periods can make it especially difficult with bloating and cravings. I always do my best to be kind to myself and to not to worry if my pants are a little snug that week!
What are your favorite period products?
I am personally a big fan of the Tampax Pearl line – brand loyalty in period products is definitely a tough thing to shake! It’s a time that you want comfort and consistency. However, recently I have been trying to be more mindful of my environmental impact and I think it’s about time for me to try my first menstrual cup!
Is there anything else about your period experiences you want to share?
There are many things I’ve shared that I’m grateful for – but I also wanted to say that I’ve been very fortunate to be surrounded by people who didn’t make me feel ashamed about my period. I grew with two brothers and a dad who showed empathy and didn’t make me feel like I had to hide my period. My mom was open with me and never told me it was something to be ashamed of. And finally, my boyfriend founded Twelve with the purpose of providing menstrual products to those in need – so you can imagine how open with periods he is! I am so thankful for all them! I truly don’t take for granted how important their influence has been on how I feel about my period.
On a less positive note I will say that I wish I’d had better health education through my school. I tried tampons for the first time at the end of grade 8 while on a trip with my family. I spent an hour crying in the bathroom because I couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t fit…I didn’t know there was a second hole. If that doesn’t tell you about the quality of menstrual education at my school I don’t know what will. All I want to say is teach us more about our bodies and teach it without shame or any political agendas!
Have the last challenging months affected your period and if so, how did you best navigate?
In some ways I feel like it has been easier for me in the last few months because I’ve been working remote full-time. Not having to commute, get ready, etc. while on my period definitely helps on those days when I’m not feeling 100%!