Welcome to Period Routines, where we spotlight different members of the LOLA community to learn how they manage their period. We want the ins and outs of their monthly routines — how they feel, how they deal, and what they can’t live without.
Want to share your period routine? Leave a comment below.
Today, we’re talking to Rebecca Minkoff, entrepreneur and fashion designer. Rebecca talks to us about all the methods she’s tried to alleviate her menstrual cramps, and how her relationship with her period changed after having kids.
Industry: Fashion & Venture Capital
Location: New York City
Children: Luca (age 8), Bowie (age 5), Nico (age 2)
First Period Story
I was thirteen and I had these unimaginable back cramps. I didn’t know what they were. I went to the bathroom and saw that I had gotten my period.
I think, having been jealous of my cousin getting hers before me, that I’d wanted to get it…but sometimes you want something without knowing what the consequences are. I just remember feeling like, “Why did I want this? What part of this is anything that someone should want?”
I called my mom and said, “Can you come pick me up at school? I got my period, I don’t know how to use a tampon or maxi pad, and I’m in a ton of pain.” My mom has never been one to have sympathy so she said, “No. Go to the nurse’s office, get your pad, and you’ll come home after a full school day.” So I went to the nurse, she gave me a maxi pad, and the rest of the day really sucked!
My Period Routine
My period usually comes every 28 days, but the last few months have been a complete gamble. I’m still nursing, so that’s made it an exciting game of “When is it going to happen this month?” It also lasts longer lately: it used to be more like five or six days, but now it’s seven days. My flow is really heavy for the first five days. And then the two days after that are less heavy.
I dealt with debilitating cramps and discomfort up until I had my first kid. I do still get PMS, but not like what it was. Even up until the second baby there would be typical symptoms — like bloating and breakouts — but since having my third child, there are no breakouts anymore (Thank god!), and the bloating is less. I don’t know why.
Now when I PMS, I crave sugar and chocolate and carbs like a mad woman. I haven’t always had that craving, but since I’ve gotten older it’s gotten stronger. I’m not specific about the type of chocolate I like to eat when I’m craving. Whatever someone has at their desk, that they’re willing to share, I will take.
I’m definitely more tired, more cranky, in the days leading up to my period. My mood swings used to be a lot more noticeable, but I think having kids evened them out. The highs aren’t as high, and the lows aren’t as low when I’m PMSing.
Dealing With Cramps
I’ve tried a few things over the years to help my cramps. I kept trying to figure out ways to not have to take drugs for days every month. I thought for a minute that if I had a shot of alcohol that would get rid of the pain. So I tried that. Then I arrived at the office in the middle of the day having had, literally, a shot of vodka, and that was not sustainable.
Before kids, I would rely on Advil to deal with the pain. Then, I was overseas in France and someone recommended this product called Nurofen. Everything is better in France, from the butter to the sugar to the bread…and so are the painkillers. I would go into the pharmacy and stock up on enough Nurofen for a year every time I went to France.
I don’t use anything for pain management now. I don’t even feel it. If you’re experiencing menstrual cramps, have a kid. It will solve everything! With my second child, I still had cramps and was able to use that perspective to not take anything. And now with my third, I haven’t felt any cramps at all since I’ve started getting my period again in these last few months. If I do, I’m like, “Oh that? That’s not pain.” It doesn’t compare to pushing a baby out.
I use LOLA tampons — I’m a super kind of girl! I like cardboard applicators, for the environment. I do use pads and liners too: I’ll use them in the first two or three days (in addition to tampons) at night, or when I have a really busy day on the go and don’t know when I’ll find my next clean bathroom. My period is so heavy sometimes that I just want to be careful.
I tried a menstrual cup for a minute, and let me tell you: when you sneeze and it comes out, that is not a fun experience. It went right into the trash.
Once I got my period back after giving birth I started using Glow, but it hasn’t really helped me track my period with total accuracy, because it’s a little all over the place right now.
If I’m going to be really honest, I don’t really have the time to think about self-care, with three kids and work.
If I’m lucky enough, I can get time to take a bath where no one’s banging on the door. When I do take a bath, I use straight up epsom salt. Nothing fancy, but I pour a ton in. I’ll do a Kopari Coconut Melt lather all over my body afterwards.
I don’t have any current hacks, but back when I did have cramps, one thing that always worked for me was to lie in the bath or shower and have the shower head on my stomach, really, really hot.
— as told to LOLA. Illustrations by Eugenia Mello.