‘Menstruation around the world’ is a series that attempts to show the diversity of menstrual experiences around the world. We portray people from different countries with their personal stories.
Janelle, known as The Nurse Note, lives in the US, but grew up in a large Jamaican family in Canada. As a certifed nurse and health professional, she teaches about reproductive and sexual health over on her blog. In our interview, she tells us which sustainable products make her period easier to manage – even though she only learned about them a few years back. Thanks so much for the interview, dear Janelle!
1. How is menstruation seen in your family, culture or even country?
I’m from a large Jamaican family. We really didn’t talk about periods much. My mom taught me the basics about my body and what to expect when I got my period but this really isn’t a subject that was discussed much.
2. How and by whom were you educated about menstruation?
I was initially taught by my mom where I leaned the basics. I received a more formal education in school. I grew up in Toronto Canada where sex Ed was part of the stands curriculum. We learned about our body part and how they worked.
3. Talk a little about your first period.
I was actually at school of all places. It was the last few days before the end of the school year. I remember having terrible cramps in class. I went to the restroom and discovered I started my period. I was not prepared at all. I didn’t have a pad or anything! So I balled up some toilet paper and made a makeshift pad to use until I went home.
4. How do you feel about your own menstruation? Has this feeling changed over the years?
I’ve been fortunate that my periods have not been too bad. As I’ve aged the have become shorter (yay!) and my cramps are generally pretty bearable.
5. Which menstrual products have you already tried? And how were your experiences with the different products?
I have tried pads, tampons and liners. In recent years I have been introduced to cups and period panties. I absolutely love these! They have made my period so much easier to manage and since they are reusable, they have helped me to save a couple of bucks.
6. What do you like to do when on your period?
I like to sleep (lol). I’m often tired during my period, so allow myself to rest.
7. How are you feeling when menstruating? What kind of food or home remedies help you with menstrual discomfort?
I’m usually a little irritable the first day of my period but content the subsequent days. I often like to exercise when I’m on my period. I find that it helps with my cramps and improves my mood.
8. Who are you talking to about menstruation?
Everyone! My blog and social media platform are dedicated to educating women about their bodies. I often get questions from my followers about their periods so I love to provide them with various remedies and health options.
9. Do you have a particular funny, embarrassing or important story about menstruation?
There was a period of time when I was having break through bleeding… like every day for weeks on end. I made it a priority to check in with my doctor and let her know what was going on. I knew it was important to advocate for myself and my health.
10. Want to share anything else about menstruation (or yourself)?
Yes! If you’re looking for straightforward information about vaginas, periods and sex, you should definitely check out my blog thenursenote.com
Do you want to become part of ‘Menstruation around the world’?
We hope to be able to present the portraits of menstruating people as varied and diverse as possible. And for this we need you – no matter how you feel about your own menstruation or where you come from! If you would like to be part of this series and share your personal experiences and thoughts about menstruation with us, please write us a message or simply fill out this questionnaire (anonymously is also possible). We are already looking forward to sharing your story with the Vulvani community!