If you think that “periods” and “pole-dancing” are two phrases that should never be uttered in the same sentence, Dana Michelle Gillespie is here to prove you wrong. She’s created My Moontime, an app that allows her to better know and understand her menstrual cycle, and use that information to optimize every aspect of her life, hence the previous scenario. Unlike other so-called period tracker apps on the market, My Moontime does more than just tell you when you ought to carry a tampon in your purse or when you might feel PMS-y. Our periods are just one part of a hormone cycle that affects how we think, feel, and act through each phase, and not just in a negative way – certain times our hormones align to make us especially creative, analytical, communicative, or energetic. Taking advantage of that alignment can help women give birth to, as Dana says, a whole lot more than just a baby.
We seem to be at an important juncture in history in terms of breaking the silence on periods — with Lena Dunham openly discussing her struggle with endometriosis and tennis player Heather Watson talking about the impact of her period on her sport — but it appears to skew to the negative. Women seem to be more willing to discuss their periods, but what they’re saying is often that it’s just suffering and pain and difficulty. What’s your feeling about that?
I’m so excited that we’re talking about menstruation publicly period! Listening to females speak their truth is great. It’s their truth — now let’s work from that.
What’s your own personal history with menstruation? Have you always been more positive about that female experience?
No — I actually had a challenging time originally accepting my menstruation. I was very self-conscious growing up and unfortunately believed that I always had to be perfect. And part of that perfect perception was that females were to look and act perfect, never went to the restroom, bled, all that. Essentially numb from the neck down. It wasn’t fun or rewarding. Yet at the same time — I always felt very close with my menstruation. It was interesting.
How does our perception of periods as a culture impact our experience of periods as individual women?
A lot. The more permission we give culturally to talk honestly about our periods, the more it allows each individual to feel comfortable talking and relating to it — male or female.
How do you feel before and during your period and what is the positive side, for you, of these times of the month?
If I took care of myself, ate really well, and didn’t engage in stress for that cycle — my pre-menstrual phase would give me tiny bursts of energy and the desire to clean right before I bled. Plus my breasts are always a little fuller and I feel more flirtatious. If I didn’t take care of myself enough — I tend to have a day where everything irritates me. My menstruation phase typically is great. I feel very grounded in my body, and I just want to surrender in my personal happiness to all there is.
Why do you think many women seem to suffer from painful periods, bad PMS, PCOS and other common ailments?
There are a lot of answers to this, but I will start with diet. I’m a big fan of Hippocrates’ [quote]: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Most of the food we ingest in the United States right now has no nutrients in it at all. Once our biochemistry from what we put in our bodies is brought back into balance — we will forget these aliments even existed. I’m also a big fan of the famous statement from Dr. Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel Prize winner: “You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.”
What inspired you to create My MoonTime? How is it different from other apps we may have heard more about lately, like Kindara and Clue?
I needed My Moontime app for my own well-being in life and there wasn’t anything like it. I’m happy that fertility apps like Kindara and Clue exists and recommend them to females who are interested in what those apps have to offer. My Moontime app is very different from those apps, as it’s more about helping females tap into their own female hormonal cycle and using it to live a great life — maybe even get ahead.
Don’t just track your period — track and use your whole hormonal energy cycle to create the life you want with more ease. Use your cycle to help you make a business, not just a baby.
Our menstruation and ovulation are just a fraction of all that’s going on within us, and the gifts we have access to. Yes, I want to know when my mid-cycle ovulation and period will most likely arrive and [that information] is easily available in My Moontime. But they are just approximates, as there are many factors that constantly shift the female body cycle around. There is no formula or algorithm ever that can accurately predict a female’s mid-cycle ovulation time and it’s scaring me that I keep seeing apps claiming they can.
How do you personally “use your cycle”?
I check daily My Moontime to see where I’m at on my cycle, so I know where my potential strengths are and what I might be inclined to feel that day. Then move forward accordingly. Just by knowing where I’m at — it gives me more space and permission to move forward in life with grace — no matter where I’m at or what I’m doing.
Contemporary feminism seems less interested in women’s connections to their bodies and the environment than previous generations. Why is that, do you think, and why should this change?
Contemporary feminism has been said to be defined by technology and far more concerned with power than true equality. Past generations didn’t have Internet access on their watches and cars like we do now. And there is a big, growing surge of gender identification coming up threatening the concept of feminism itself. But if we don’t pay attention to the earth and the natural cycles that we are all a part of, no matter who or what we identify ourselves with — we will not have an earth to live on soon enough.
Your period as a boon and not a burden? Definitely some thing to think about.