Anyone who menstruates and wants to know how they can use their cycle to their advantage.
In a nutshell:
Author Hill looks at different aspects of one’s menstrual cycle, as well as different challenges and complications people face and how to possibly address them.
“The mental switch you need to make is to realise that your feelings here are very real and have nothing to do with your hormones, but your hormones are helping you to give voice to them, and it’s on you to do something about them.”
Why I chose it:
I order my menstrual products from a company called Ohne, and they had this book. I thought it would be maybe 100 pages and small (almost like a gift book). Nope. It’s beefy!
What it left me feeling:
I am in my 40s and learned a lot of menstrual health that I feel like someone should have maybe mentioned, I don’t know, 30 years ago?
The book is broken down into three sections: one that provides an overview of what all is going on with the vulva / vagina / uterus etc. It’s VERY descriptive – there are even drawings. This section also talks about the different hormones, when they are released during a cycle, and what that can mean for one’s body, energy, and libido. Fascinating.
The next chunk is all about the cycle. Hill wants all of us who menstruate to start tracking our cycles so we can really get to know ourselves and when we might be best suited to tackle certain things in our lives. It’s not about being controlled by one’s hormones or cycle; it’s about having knowledge and making adjustments. Sort of like if I get a great night of rest, I try to take advantage of that to do a harder workout. But if I get a rough night of sleep, I’ll take it a bit easier on myself so I can recover.
Hill breaks the cycle down into seasons: Winter (when one is on their period), Spring (the week-ish after leading up to ovulation), Summer (ovulation and the week after), and Autumn (that week when a lot of us might start feeling a bit blech as the period is about to arrive). Each chapter shows what part in the cycle she’s going to discuss, as well as a chart showing what the different hormones are doing at that time (specifically testosterone, oestrogen, and progesterone). Each season chapter includes a description of what is going on in one’s body, and lists ‘superpowers’ and ‘dangers’, as well as ways to care for one’s self. The thinking here is that after people track their cycles for a few months to see length and such, one can start to anticipate and perhaps plan for events and actions during the part of the cycle that is most conducive to that. The last chapter in this section deals with changes: starting one’s period, perimenopause, trying to conceive, etc. A lot I was able to skim over because it doesn’t apply to me, but it looks like it could be helpful to those to whom it applied.
The last 100 pages are about self-care – different ways to address possible hormonal or menstrual issues. This part I found to be a little less helpful / relevant (I’ve been lucky with my own menstrual experiences), and some if it was questionable (anyone who suggests sugar is addictive, let alone more addictive than cocaine without any context is going to get a side-eye from me), which is why this book gets four stars from me. I think the concerns of women and others who menstruate are so often fully dismissed that there is a danger of us grasping onto anything that seems promising. As I said, I skimmed a few of the chapters that weren’t relevant to me, so I can’t speak to the advice offered in those, but most of what I did read seemed reasonable.
Also, I have to say that I loved how inclusive this book was. Yes, she talks about women menstruating, because the majority of people who do are women. And that is why it’s received so little support and attention in society. But she also recognizes that some men and some non-binary people also menstruate, and they shouldn’t be excluded from the discussion.
Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it:
Keep, Recommend to a Friend