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Rupi Kaur
Photography Rupi Kaur

Moody Month: the app designed to help women better understand their bodies

Created by women, for women

For centuries, there has been a stigma surrounding periods: from 73 AD when the first Latin encyclopedia implied that contact with menstrual blood would mean “crops become barren”, “fruit of trees fall off” and “hives of bees die”, to the present day where tampon tax still stubbornly remains casting tampons into the category of “luxury.” Periods are still in many cases a taboo, so Moody Month is here to change that.

Founded by Amy Thomson, Moody Month is a mood and hormone cycle tracker designed to help women better understand their bodies, filling the void of female produced, female-focused technology. The tech company built by women, for women, was created with the idea that our moods should not be suppressed or seen as a taboo, therefore reclaiming what it is to be “moody.”

Hoping to evolve into the go-to space for women’s health, Moody month is a space to “log and learn”. By inputting data about your mood and cycle into the app, Moody Month provides personalised advice based on your monthly rhythm. They also offer a vast vitamin and supplement range that can be used based on their findings.

Pioneering positive period relationships for all, Moody are striving to connect as many women as possible with their hormones and cycles. Here, founder Amy Thomson shares her story.

Tell us about Moody Month.
Amy Thomson, founder: Moody Month is a mood and hormone cycle tracker that helps you connect with the fluctuations of your cycle and changes in your daily wellbeing and better look after your body. Moody’s mission is to help women understand and own the power of their moods, hormones and body. We provide knowledge, tools and space where all can feel heard. By encouraging all to support not suppress moods we are reclaiming what it means to be moody.

What led you to want to start Moody Month? Where did the idea come from?
Amy Thomson: Moody Month came after a personal experience, my periods stopped due to stress, travel and burn out that came as a result of several years of work scaling my events agency in London. I began looking for help, information and answers and was struck by the lack of information or tools for women to observe and look after their unique health patterns. I was aware of the period tracking tools around but there was nothing that helps you see the gaps or connect the causes from a 360-degree health perspective. More importantly, there are so few solutions to support how women live and make personal well-being simpler and more accessible.

What did you think was lacking in the industry that you want to address?
Amy Thomson: There was a void in technology built for women and by women. Technology allows us to democratise the science and experience of hormone cycles. Not so we can solve it, but so we can allow women to better understand the power of their bodies through knowledge. There is so much science that isn’t being shared in the mainstream and we want to address this. Technology is a vehicle for delivering that message.

What are you hoping to achieve with the brand?
Amy Thomson: Connecting as many women as possible with the power of their hormones and cycles. The knowledge that understanding how your hormones work each month, gives you new found productivity and less guilt. Allowing women to be more productive and tuned into themselves.

What kind of warning signs do our bodies give us?
Amy Thomson: Your moods and symptoms each month are signals. By understanding and tracking the average patterns, you can begin to notice when things feel out of whack. When you listen to your body, it unlocks a new language of moods and symptoms that help you navigate when you are feeling best and worst.  

There has been a stigma surrounding periods for centuries and across many cultures. Why do you think this is?
Tara Scott, head of content: I think it comes from a fear of women’s power, creativity and sexuality. Throughout history and across cultures we’ve seen all kinds of practices, whether it’s extreme violence like FGM or microaggressions like raising children with gendered toys, which manifest a message that women/girls, and our bodies, are dangerous, dirty or sinful. When we step out of the perspective of social-constructs, it is laughable that something so normal, natural, and integral to life could be shrouded in so much taboo.

Some people view self-care as a feminist act, do you agree with this?
Tara Scott: 100%. For centuries a woman’s role has been to nurture and support their children and husbands, prioritising the needs of others over themselves. So learning to properly care for ourselves, and make our emotional and physical health a priority, is foundational feminism to me. How will we take over the world if we’re not on our A game?

What do you see as the relationship between women’s periods and their self-esteem?
Tara Scott: Culturally, we see many women open up enthusiastically when in a safe space to discuss their experiences. There is a collective feeling of ‘it’s not just me’ and for some, they have been inside their head worrying about issues and idea of normal for years.

At a physiological level, women may see connections between how good they feel mentally and physically at different points in their cycle, this will be different for each woman depending on the symptoms they experience and when they feel at their best. We hope with understanding more women will know what works for them and be able to support these patterns.

Has technology affected the way women approach their periods?
Amy Thomson: Yes technology has allowed women to begin to understand their period and better organise their life with their cycles in mind. We believe the future of health, is allowing humans to better understand themselves through the vehicle of technology. Your period and hormone cycle is a great starting point for this.

Why do you think we are culturally becoming more open to talking about periods, especially in relation to women’s mental health, wellness, self-esteem?
Amy Thomson: Society is opening its eyes to a male bias, that has dominated societal norms. If men had been bleeding each month for the last few centuries, then sanitary products would be free like toilet paper. Sadly it’s 2019 and only now are new voices breaking through. However, it’s important we don’t talk about periods just as a political movement, but as a barometer for all women to better understand their bodies and structure for listening to themselves. We need to be listening to lots of female voices about how we can move into an era of better health, wellness and emotional intelligence. Understanding your period is a great place to start.

What are the biggest misconceptions about periods and women’s menstrual/intimate health in general?
Amy Thomson: We see a lot of misinformation being circulated by women of all ages. We would say the idea of ‘normal’ worries many women unnecessarily, everyone is different and the focus should be on what is normal for the individual, observing changes for you is what is helpful not comparing.

That we are unclean or unattractive, often a dangerous concept is that we need to detox our intimate areas with lotions, washes or worse. There has been an increase in plastic surgery which is concerning. Also, that lifestyle is not connected to our periods or reproductive health. Stress, diet, sleep and activity all contribute to our bodies overall health. We need to support all our systems and functions or we will notice changes to our menstrual cycle, digestion, skin and sex drive all effective by our hormone health.

How do you want to challenge these?
Lola Ross, co-founder and nutritionist: So many misconceptions are simply about lack of knowledge and therefore, starting period education in the classroom from an early age, across all genders, combined with the shedding of taboos that surround menstruation and intimate health would be useful. Celebrating this natural, life-giving physiological event that most women experience, as well as acknowledging that many women don’t have periods for various reasons, from problematic ovarian cycles, to hormonally-driven vaginal imbalances,  is essential in challenging misconceptions. There is a very progressive reproductive health centre in LA called LOOM that runs PERIOD ROADMAP sessions for teenagers and adults, providing evidence-based information on the key features of the ovarian cycle, explores ovarian cycle conditions and offers a space to bust myths around periods. I love this concept and how amazing would that be to have this rolled out to adolescents and adults?

How has social media changed the pressures and expectations on young girls?
Lola Ross: Social media has been a great  source of comfort and inspiration for young girls in many ways as it has given women and girls a platform to share experiences, connect with others who are going through similar challenges and help normalise and break down taboos around anything, from having period leaks in public to the challenges of living with endometriosis. Conversely, social media brings about other pressures and expectations for young girls to be a certain way, so I am keen for the government, parents and the community to support young girls in using social media in a constructive way that contributes to well-being rather than negativity and low self esteem.

What would you like to see Moody Month evolve into?
Amy Thomson: The go-to space for women’s health. We want to move the conversation and science forward while building the solutions women want to better support their well-being. There are so many gaps in knowledge both from a science and lifestyle perspective around hormones and cycles, such as reproductive health, mental health, trans women and transition, menopause and conditions such as endometriosis and PMDD.  

Why did you decide to have the vitamin/supplement aspect of the brand?
Amy Thomson: We are not exclusive to vitamins and supplements, but we had to start somewhere with a business model that didn’t rely on selling data. We wanted to make the natural support and solutions to common monthly symptoms such as bloating, water retention and headaches more accessible. Most women, including myself, have been confused by the amount of products available, so we started by just curating the best products on the market — the store is curated by our nutritionists and doctors. Having a nutritionist is a huge luxury and we wanted more women to have access to this source and the information they can provide.

Moving forward are you hoping to branch out into other products? What’s in the pipeline for Moody Month?
Amy Thomson: Our plan is to listen. Building a business that is based on asking the audience what works for them and how we can bring better mainstream solutions to common monthly experiences. There is never going to be a magic pill to solve everything, but there needs to better access to information around what routines and rituals can help support a healthy monthly cycle.