I just realised that I hadn't shared and reviewed the wonderful Period Power by Maisie Hill, and so I have sat down to write to you about it immediately!
Life coach and menstrual mentor Maisie Hill has collated years of research and lived experience into this bible of hormones and cycles. It's the book I wish I'd had when I was a teenager, and the one that I now want to give to all the women (and relevant men!) in my life.
Working through the Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter of the typical menstrual cycle, the book is easily readable but packed full of science which helps to explain mood and energy changes from week to week.
A big concept in the book is to encourage women to start tracking and having an underlying awareness of where they are in their own cycle. This can be done digitally or in a paper diary or journal - and can be simple date markers, or include emotional and physical symptoms as well.
As well as sharing practical tips for menstrual awareness in today's non-cyclical culture, the book also explains the innate biology behind many hormonal behaviours. It now makes so much sense that in the first half of my cycle I generally feel more vibrant, optimistic and sociable, because this is when female animals would be out looking for a mate. Once ovulation has passed however, the natural instinct is to retreat and rest (the window of 'fertile opportunity' has passed and the body is re-setting ready to do it all over next month.)
Although it sounds strange to align with animalistic mating drives, the reality is that for any person with a menstrual cycle, this narrative gives an understanding of the deeply evolved processes that are still working in our bodies, whether or not our cognitive intentions match up. Instead of feeling frustrated, many menstruation 'coaches' will encourage you accept this and try to work with your cycle rather than resisting it.
Maisie Hill also has a podcast with short, succinct episodes that explores specific period-related topics as well as wider wellbeing and coaching conversations. Expect everything from boundary setting to intentional resting, from cervical discharge to endometriosis, from sex drives to public speaking and maintaining close female friendships. This could be a good (free) starting point if you want to get an idea of her style before you buy the book.
I'm so glad I did get the book though, as I have underlined bits and regularly dip back in to read up on whatever chapter/cycle stage I'm in. The knowledge Maisie shares is so validating because it explains that most cycle symptoms are usually not 'bad' or 'wrong' they are just deeply misunderstood.
I'd love to hear what you think? There is also a similar book called Wild Power, which I have just started reading so I will share my thoughts on that one soon.