Chronic Illness, a Six-Flags Love Story and Periods with Elicia
Are you ready to continue the conversation about periods & disability?
Elicia joined us to chat about her journey as a disabled menstruator – as well as a Six Flags love story you don't wanna miss!
👙 👩🦼 Liberare is the inclusive lingerie brand designed by disabled babes for easier dressing.
🩸🌳 August is the sustainable, unapologetic and gender inclusive period care brand that ACTUALLY works.
Together, we listened to the insights of our 3 models about how their disability affects their period and what they're looking for in accessible period products and disability-inclusive underwear!
Meet Elicia (she/her)
Elicia: My name is Elicia. I’m from Connecticut. I’m 35 years old.
And, technically, this was Elicia’s first ever modeling shoot for a branded campaign – although you’d never be able to tell from the fierce face she had on for these photos.
Nadya: Let’s get right into it – Can you tell me a little about your period journey?
Elicia: I had my first period at 12 years old. I ended up getting it randomly while I was playing outside, and this neighbor that looked after us noticed that I’d just got it.
My mom was at work, so I didn't even have, like, instructions from my mom. It was this lady who got my all cleaned up and set up.
I don't remember what I was wearing, I just remember the fact that I was just oblivious to it.
And I was just like, “oh, great.” – cos’ I knew it came with it (just, like, period horror stories from my mom.
Nadya: And do you still get your period now? If yes, what menstrual products do you use?
Elicia: Yes. I use both pads and tampons but it depends on how bad my nausea is that day…
Usually with tampons, I get more nauseous and I find I get more cramps too. So if it's that kind of day, then it's going to be a pad.
Nadya: Can you tell me a little bit about your disability?
Elicia: Well, in 2013, I started to get symptoms of pain, really bad fatigue, and just random things that would happen.
It wasn't until probably three years ago where I was officially diagnosed with FND (aka functional neurological disorder).
FND causes things like: -* loss of speech*
- loss of the ability to walk
- non epileptic seizures
Elicia: But I've been working on my triggers and sort of getting better at predicting them.
Prior to [the FND diagnosis], I had been diagnosed with POTS, which is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.
*Elicia explained to us that, for other people, blood flows around evenly when they stand up. For her, it doesn’t balance out that way. The results of this are: *
- not being able to stand for too long therefore using a chair
Nadya: Do either of those conditions affect your menstrual cycle, or, does your period affect your different symptoms?
Elicia: I find that my period definitely affects both my POTS and the FND because, obviously with the whole blood mechanism…
I just feel like when I have, like, “Niagara Falls” coming out my vagina, it definitely means that I'm extra dizzy and nauseous.
Nadya: You have two menstruating daughters now so, how was it when they got their first period?
Elicia: For my 12 year old, she was at a friend's house…
She kind of just went: “Mom, I think I got my period”, and I'm like, “well, where are you?” and she's like, “in the bathroom”.
I already knew she was at her friend's house so I was like, “well, do you think that you can get a period product from your friend til we pick you up?” and she was like, “oh yeah.”
They're not as shy with it as I was – and I think that's because of the way my mom was with it.
Even my nine year old, first day of school I was going to tell her (in a whispered mumble): “don't forget you know, pack panty liners…” and as she was packing her bag for school she's already got a handful of panty liners so she was ready to go.
At nine years old, you would think, like, “oh, I don't want my friends to know cos’ not everybody's getting their period. But they're very open with it.
Nadya: Around both the design of tampons and pads, is there anything that you think could be different about them to be more accessible and easy to use?
Elicia: I mean, I know pads work better. Even on my bad days, I find pads easier to use.
There are times where my husband has to change me when I lose the ability to move my arms, legs, whatever – my husband literally has to change my underwear and put on a pad.
So I think pads are the easier way to go and I feel like that's as easy as it's gonna to be.
Nadya: We NEED cis-men or non-menstruating partners to be more supportive of periods so that is ultimate – so cool.
Elicia: I mean, it was embarrassing at first – I'm not going to lie.
I didn’t want him to see my bloody pad. But it is what it is.
Quick pause for Elicia’s meet-cute love story (AW!)…
Elicia: We've been together for 11 years, married this year, but 22 years together.
We've been together since we were 13.
At Six Flags, a grade 8 trip: period went through my pants.
He went and got me a different pair of shorts, Six Flags shorts, and then a tampon.
I was embarrassed because I was walking through Six Flags but, like, yeah.
Nadya: And that's when you knew he was the one!
Nadya: Do you feel sexy having lingerie and even on your period, do you feel sexy?
Elicia: I don't know about on my period… when I'm, like, bloated and stuff, but I mean, you got the boobs, so you kind of work the boobs.
Nadya: So, how did you feel when Liberare reached out to you to model for this lingerie shoot…wearing a pad?
Elicia: Let's do it. Yeah, whatever, I'm down.
I'm happy to be here. Honestly, I can't believe I am here.
What about Liberare bras do you like?
Elicia: I do like bras that close in the front.
Pulling over sports bras are harder for me.
As Elicia gestures to the front-clasp opening of her Liberare bra, she says: “this whole thing here is, like, awesome”.
Elicia: Even if I don't wear these every day, but, like, on my bad days where my husband needs to just be able to just throw something on or take something off – I love this idea.
Nadya: Did you grow up with more accessible underwear available?
Elicia: No. Even when I saw this brand on Instagram [aka Liberare!] I thought it was pretty cool.
To have the opportunity to use something like this, that someone came up with, to support me on my really bad days – that's awesome. Yeah. I think that's pretty cool.
Nadya: If you could snap your fingers on how brands think about people with disabilities, what would that look like?
Elicia: Just having the equal opportunity to go in there. I feel like a lot of places aren't even accessible to us to get to.
When there's more accessibility around in the world, it’ll open more opportunities for disabled people. I know a lot of things that I skip out on because I can't even make it to them, physically.
Thank you Elicia!
AUGUST X LIBERARE
If you’re excited about smashing taboos in the period and disability space, you’ve come to the right place.
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