Freda Five with Thriva’s Annie Coleridge

Posted on: 22 February 2019

What has been the biggest stigma/challenge you have faced professionally and how did you overcome this?

There’s always challenges when you are a young woman (or any minority) working in an industry with few role models that represent who you are. It can be very difficult not to change your behaviour to meet those around you or simply to ‘fit in’ better. Trying to ‘fit in’ has, in the past, led me to behave in ways which aren’t wholly authentic. I’ve tried to stop this from happening by identifying triggers, and the values I want to live by in the workplace.

How were you first told about periods – was it parents, school, friends?

My mum is a GP – so I think it was from her or my step-sister. I remember my step-sister really wanted to get her period and used to talk about that a lot!

What would you tell your childhood self about periods?

That missing a period does not always mean that you are pregnant! There’s loads of other reasons that periods can be skipped/missed (e.g. stress) but we are taught in schools that a missed period just means you are pregnant. I’d really like the education around periods their frequency to change from that perspective.

How would you smash the shame and silence around menstruation?

I’d completely transform the way that we are taught about menstruation – and include men in every conversation. We need women and men to understand how normal menstruation is, and how to cope with the impact the monthly cycle can have (on both women and their relationships).

What’s your number one tip for dealing with PMS?

Magnesium supplements! Lots of the women at Thriva HQ have tried these for easing cramps and we have found they really help! (Note, not a recommendation from a doctor – just the experience of our team).

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