I knew very little about periods or why women get them. I remember my mom talking to me about them—how they are a “normal” part of becoming a woman. But aside from the fact that having my period meant that I could now have babies (which was the last thing on my mind as an 11-year-old-girl), the only things I really knew about my period were that it caused me a lot of pain and embarrassment. Starting my period definitely didn’t feel the way that I had always imagined becoming a woman would feel. And, unfortunately, my experience is not an isolated one.
It wasn’t until I was well into my twenties that I learned how the menstrual cycle actually works, and it happened entirely by accident. But once I got sucked in, there was no going back. I completely immersed myself in learning about female sex hormones hormones, how those hormones interact to create the menstrual cycle, how the menstrual cycle is linked to reproductive and hormonal health, how my lifestyle can affect the regularity (or irregularity) of my cycles, and how tracking physical symptoms like basal body temperature and cervical fluid secretionscan support good bodily health. With all of this information, I finally felt a connection with my body that my teenage years had been lacking. I had finally found the missing puzzle piece, and it brought with it a feeling of self-confidence that I had never experienced. I immediately knew it was my purpose to help other women discover that very same confidence.
Education is the foundation of Groove, because I know first-hand the life-altering effects it can provide. Our mission is to empower women with knowledge about their menstrual cycles so that they can spend their time worry about things in life that really matter—doing well in school, keeping their bodies healthy, following their dreams, and changing the world around them for the better—and not worrying about a potential pregnancy, what’s going on inside their bodies, whether their cycles are normal and healthy, and whether they can attend school.
I’m excited to witness Groove’s partnership with Femme develop, and I’m humbled by the impact that our donations can make in women’s lives. No girl should ever have to give up her education because of her body, and we’re honored for the chance to play a small part in helping Femme eliminate that decision from the lives of girls in East Africa.
Jennifer Aldoretta is the cofounder and CEO of Groove, an Austin-based women’s health company and makers of the Groove – Period & Fertility Tracker app for iPhone. She is a menstrual health expert and author who is passionate about the intersection of technology and women’s health.