I read this really great article about youth feeling empowered by period tracker apps, can I find it right now, nope!
What struck me about the article was the claim that period tracking apps normalize menstruation and empower youth to talk about their periods.
It’s a very different perspective than my own feelings around tracking my period. One of the main reasons I asked for a tubal ligation after my second son’s birth was being fed up with tracking and worrying about unexpected pregnancy. My partner got a vasectomy as we had agreed we were each in charge of own bodies and baby making capacity.
Years later at a colposcopy clinic I was getting a follow-up to an abnormal pap. The nurse asked me when my last period was. I didn’t know. She then asked what birth control I was using. In the moment it didn’t occur to me that a one time surgery constitutes “using birth control” so I said I didn’t. I was then chastised for not being careful, that I should know better and how could they take a biopsie if I was pregnant?
That always bothers me, that I am, at all costs, to always take care of any potential child, to always be on guard about being pregnant. Seriously?
I then explained the surgeries my partner and I had. The nurse again pointed out I could be pregnant and not know. I replied that in the improbable scenario that I had become pregnant I’d probably clue in after a couple months.
That was some time ago and I hadn’t really tracked my period as it was fairly predictable and had a gentle onset.
Not so any more! After being surprised a few times by the sudden and furious onslaught while wearing beige pants (I only own one pair! How? How is it always the beige ones?) I started wearing Luna panties every day. Yup. Always ready.
One day my partner offered that I might find it helpful to track to see if my period really was as erratic as it seemed.
I downloaded iperiod in August and started tracking. The cutesie design instantly annoyed me. The euphemism for sex is, get this, a Love Connection with a little heart. Oh ya. No fucking here, it’s all about the love.
I wondered about the design and the assumptions about what is esthetic ally pleasing. If you are interested here’s an article looking at the “girlie” designs of these apps:
So after four months I’ve discovered a few things. First, my cycle does fluctuate between 21 and 30 days. It is more wonky than it used to be.
Second, I regularly get hot flashes, pimples and lower back pain and these are related to my cycle.
I don’t feel empowered with this information, it just is. The tracking has helped me keep it all in perspective but I’m not sure how long I’ll do it for.
I’d be curious to hear about your thoughts on period tracking whether you are a menstruating human or not!