Harlot Interview: Amanda Laird, Author of the new book ‘Heavy Flow’
Periods: a topic most people shy away from talking about. But Amanda Laird is not most people. Talking about periods, reproductive health, abortion, miscarriage, infertility, menopause, etc. are her jam. Why? Because they are some of the most taboo cultural topics to discuss but are a reality for a huge part of the population. Talking, sharing experiences and spreading knowledge on reproductive health and all of its nuance helps bring these topics out of the shadows and into the light - making them a little less scary.
If you are not familiar with Amanda or her work, you can check out her podcast anytime. Might I suggest this one to get you started? Or you can keep reading to learn more about Amanda’s expertise, inspiration, and current projects.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am a feminist holistic nutritionist, the host of the Heavy Flow Podcast, and the author of Heavy Flow: Breaking the Curse of Menstruation. When I'm not creating or facilitating conversations around periods and reproductive health I'm probably in my kitchen cooking, reading a novel, or playing with my daughter.
Where did you go to school? What are your credentials?
I have diplomas in Legal Office Administration, General Arts and Science, Corporate Communications and Public Relations, and Applied Nutrition. After graduating from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition I also completed an advanced certificate in Hormones and Endocrinology and The Fifth Vital Sign's Conversations in Community.
How did you get involved with menstrual health?
I first started thinking about periods as a teenager (in the 90s!) when I learned about reusable menstrual products. Even back then I sewed my own homemade pads and made zines about toxic tampons. But then I went to college and started working and didn't think much about menstrual health again until I was studying holistic nutrition. That was the first time I learned that period pain wasn't normal and that periods were a vital sign. I knew even before graduated that I wanted to specialize in hormones and menstrual health once I started practicing as a nutritionist.
Why did you decide to write a book? What inspired you?
Writing a book was something I dreamed of since I was a little girl and the opportunity came to me about three weeks after I launched the Heavy Flow Podcast in 2017. At the time I thought maybe I would be "ready" to write a book in about five years, but it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I couldn't pass up so I jumped right in!
I am so inspired by the work of other feminists working to make menstruation matter like Chris Bobel, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, and the founders of Lunapads Madeline Shaw and Suzanne Seimans.
What do you wish you knew before you started your journey?
Every step leads you to the next one - life really is a ladder! As you can see by my credentials, I spent a lot of time doing a lot of different things! Every time I pivoted it was because I thought I had made a wrong decision or because I wanted to do something different, but now I see that I use facets of all the different jobs I've had and training I've done each and every day.
What career advice would you give young people looking to pursue careers in reproductive health/justice?
The best way to find your voice is to use your voice. You don't have to know every fact. Find an area that you're interested in and just follow the thread - you'll be amazed where you end up!
What other things would you like our readers to know?
Even though I've made a career out of breaking the curse of menstruation, my period still grosses me out sometimes, you're never going to catch me free bleeding and I don't water my plants with my menstrual blood. Being period positive can look like whatever it looks like to you.