Period People: Bettina

Period People: Bettina

Your name - what should we call you?
Bettina

What do you prefer - He/she/them or something else?
She

Your age:
38

What do you do for a living?
Building an app for exchanging travel tips

Where do you live?
Østerbro, Copenhagen

When did you start menstruating?
Must have been around 8th grade - so somewhere around 14 years old

What’s your earliest menstruation memory?
Two things sticks out - 1) wearing my Adidas set to school (yes, neon orange jacket top and black trousers) and felt that I had to keep pulling the top down to cover my bum so no one would notice I was wearing a pad.

2) attempting to use a tampon, not getting it right at all, the most uncomfortable feeling and then having to take it out 3 minutes later. Was so scared after that and it took me years to try again (those illustrations for instructions give nothing!).

What words would you use to describe your feelings around your period those first period years?
It was a hassle, I was an active horseback rider and like most sports it is not that compatible. In school the boys started to make comments like ‘Aunt Flo’ etc. and if that happened to correlate with you actually having your period you would be so flustered.

It was like this bad kept secret - we all had our periods, but no one really spoke about it or addressed it. So overall I don’t think I have any particularly fond memories.

Have they changed? How do you perceive your period now?
In my ‘adult’ years and pre-children it was almost easy, very regular 1-2 days of light-medium flow and that was it. Though it was never convenient, it was manageable and I was a bit more comfortable in my skin than in my teenage years.

Post-children it varies quite a bit from month to month and it doesn’t feel as ‘controlled’. I am not loving it, but now we’re just two old friends who meet once a month - you know, just checking in to make sure all is alright with both of us.

How do you feel the days leading up to your period and during?
I get snack hungry and like clockwork one day later my period will come. I feel bloated, tired and probably a bit more emotional

If you have kids, how do talk about periods or plan to talk about them with them?
My children are still too young, but having two girls leaves all the responsibility to create an atmosphere where they feel safe and having their period is safe. I think it is important to be open, say when I have my period and whatever that makes me feel.

Also answer any question that they might have. One very important thing is I refuse to call it anything but menstruation or period - no negative words!

What’s your go-to ritual on those first cycle days? Eating specific things? Cuddling? Cancelling plans?
On the lighter cycles, it doesn’t change too much. Maybe a bit more chocolate. The heavy cycles can require a couple of pain relievers, a hot water bottle and a nap.

What’s your go-to period product?
Haven’t found THE product - maybe it will change with Flow. But tampons were my go-to pre-children, now it is pads.

Finnish the sentence: “The world would be a better place for menstruators if only…”
all of us (women, men and everyone in between) understood that it is only blood after all. Nothing disgusting or unnatural, just blood.

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