The women’s health expert spoke to us about penning her first book, sugar cravings and menstrual leave.
Maisie Hill is a highly qualified and sought-after women’s health expert with over a decade of experience as a practitioner and birth doula. Maisie knows the power of working with the menstrual cycle, and is a go-to authority on the subject. Her first book, Period Power, was published earlier this year and is included within the Top 50 books on Amazon. Here at &SISTERS HQ we are seriously obsessed with Maisie and her revolutionary Cycle Strategy, a step-by-step guide to taking control of your menstrual cycle and performing at your best at each phase. Period Power truly is essential reading for all the sisters out there!
Q: What was the impetus for writing the book?
A: After over a decade of supporting women one on one as a practitioner, and hearing the issues that women have to deal with time and time again, and knowing how frustrated they were at not being told basic information early on in their lives, I knew that I had to get my knowledge and experience down on paper and help more women than I could by working privately with clients. This started through my online programme, the Womb Tang Clan, which acted as a proving ground for what became my book, Period Power.
Q: What kind of response have you received to the book?
A: The response has been incredible. So many people have been in touch to share how it’s changed their lives and there have been many occasions where I’ve had a teary moment as I’ve read the emails and DMs that have come through. My overall aim with the book was to help women and people who menstruate to feel better in their bodies and to understand how we evolve in each menstrual cycle, so it’s amazing to hear about how it’s impacting people’s wellbeing as well as their careers and relationships.
Q: What do you think needs to change in order for women to better understand their menstrual cycles?
A: The first place to start is by tracking your own cycle. We’re all different and our experience of our cycle will vary from person to person, as well as across our reproductive years, so it’s important to get to know what’s normal for you. Cycle tracking means you can collect data to share with your GP or other healthcare practitioners, and it can help you to identify what’s working well in your life and what needs to shift. But as well as looking at things from an individual perspective, we need to look at things more broadly and bring in menstrual health education from early childhood onwards – something that Endometriosis UK have successfully campaigned for.
Q: What is your take on ‘menstrual leave’ as a work place policy?
A: There are some people who really need time off when they’re menstruating – if they experience heavy flow and/or painful cramps, for example – so menstrual leave would really benefit them, but there are examples of where employers have got this really wrong and we need to be mindful of how menstrual leave policy could ultimately discriminate against people with periods. I think it’s more useful to have a paid leave policy which encompasses a variety of situations, including pregnancy loss, menopause, and mental health conditions.
Q: Do you have a secret weapon against period pain?
A: I have lots – I think there’s 19 in my book!
Q: What has your experience been with social media as a tool to promote change?
A: It’s been hugely positive and I think social media is really helpful when it comes to creating awareness of particular issues and conditions, and driving the conversation around menstruation forwards, not to mention how it fosters communities through the use of hashtags such as #pmddpeeps.
Q: Who is your favourite female fictional character and why?
A: I started reading Patricia Cornwell’s books when I was a teenager and the forensic pathologist in her books, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, really inspired me and got me interested in biology.
Q: Do you have a guilty pleasure?
A: I am a sugar addict through and through, so my guilty pleasure always involves cake or biscuits. If I’m organised, I’ll make Anna Jones’ Raw Cookie Dough Slices as they’re delicious and nutritious, but if I’m not, then I’ll buy some Gü.
Q: What are your three most treasured possessions?
A: I’m not particularly attached to possessions, but I’d be lost without my reference books and my laptop, and if my tweezers go missing I am not a happy woman – especially now that I get what my mum refers to as ‘hag hairs’ on my chin!
Q: What are your three most used emojis?
A: I’m still hanging on for the period emoji to arrive, so at the moment it’s ❣️, ? and ?.
Q: Do you have a period horror story you don’t mind sharing?
A: I used to have debilitating period pain so there have been many occasions where I’ve had to lie down on a bench or patch of grass whilst summoning the strength to get to a shop and buy some painkillers and then find a way home. I used to help women give birth and although dealing with period pain whilst supporting someone in labour was challenging, I think it also helped me to get in the zone with them and be even more intuitive than usual.