To start things off, we’re talking to Yoppie founder Daniella Peri about her period, her advice to her younger self, and the top self-care tips she has for anyone who needs some time-of-the-month TLC.
Let’s start from the beginning! At what age did you get your very first period?
I was 13 ... I actually had to ask my mum if she remembered because I didn't, probably because it wasn't a pleasant experience. My mother has always been very "girly" and she introduced me to makeup, fashion and the importance of taking care of yourself. So like many mother/daughter relationships, I was her little doll I guess.
How did you learn more about periods? (i.e. parents, friends, a book, online, etc.)
Cosmopolitan... definitely not in school!
Do you remember feeling happy to get your first period, or worried about it?
I knew that periods were something women experienced, but not girls. So from the moment my period arrived, I assumed it came with more freedom and the perks of being a grown-up. BUT I was wrong... I still had rules to follow and my mum to listen to. I also thought that periods had something to do with sexual maturation - so within a day, even though my mind wasn't ready for sex, I thought my body was. It was really scary and daunting feeling.
How were your periods growing up: light or heavy?
I had very light periods, probably due to constant body shaming and weight issues. I struggled a lot with loving myself as a teenager, struggled with bulimia for a couple of years and so by the time I was 17, my periods were very irregular.
My periods then became much, much heavier when I started using the coil in my late 20’s. I used to only use regular tampons, but suddenly I was bleeding through. So I switched to pads and super tampons, used in combination, so that I was certain I wouldn't bleed through!
How about now?
Thanks to breastfeeding, I'm spared the monthly surprise. I have to be honest - I don't miss my period at all, which seems strange when you run a menstrual wellbeing brand.
Do you experience any uncomfortable feelings when you’re on your period? (i.e. cramps, headaches, anxiety, etc.)
Before becoming a mother (to baby boy Max) my periods were very light. I had a hard time getting pregnant, so I guess that's why my periods were light... but when I started using the coil when I was 26, I became a very heavy bleeder.
What do you do to ease this?
To me, moving your body has always been the best way to cure period cramps. Yoga and walks.
Are you team tampon, team pad, or something else?
Team EVERYTHING! I love using pads and YES, I used pads while pregnant - a lot. Again, no one told me about vaginal discharge. WOW!! It's a lot and it’s smelly. Yup, and why am I sharing this? Because it’s time we speak truthfully about it all. So again, pads became my go-to product.
How does your contraception affect your period?
Because I'm breastfeeding at the moment, I'm not using contraceptives. I know it’s a myth but im still very conscious about my fertility and hope one day that I become pregnant again, so, therefore, all-natural for me ;)
What’s your number one self-care tip for when you’re on your period?
BATHS!!!!!! I take a bath every single day. Before I was pregnant, it helped with period pain, anxiety and helped me reduce stress. During my pregnancy, it helped me with my aching body and the constant dizziness. Now as a mother, one of the most precious moments during the day is when Max and I have a bath before bedtime.
How does your mood change during your cycle?
Before starting Yoppie, I never thought or acknowledged my mood swings until my dear friend Nova said, "are you aware of your PMS? Every month you have a few days, where you become the worst employee of the year.” It is like you're running for the "why didn't you do this award!""
What’s one myth about periods that you’d like to dispel?
That periods work on a monthly cycle of 30 days! It's not true. A menstrual cycle isn't 30 days for every woman. It's INDIVIDUAL. Menstrual cycles are very varied with only around one in eight women having a 28-day cycle, did you know that?
Also that getting pregnant is easy. It's not - I waited three years to conceive…
If you could tell your teenage self anything about growing up, periods or otherwise, what piece of advice would you give her?
You're born into this world because you are perfect! You're just perfect the way you are.