How I wrote Heavy Flow

Heavy Flow Blog

How I wrote Heavy Flow

Posted on February 27 by Amanda Laird in Interview, Non-fiction, Recent Releases
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How did you decide on the title?

The subtitle Breaking the Curse of Menstruation is an homage to Elizabeth Kissling’s book Capitalizing on the Curse: The Business of Menstruation. Kissling writes about how the “feminine hygiene” industry manufactures period shame for profit and power. In the final chapter of the book, she concludes that women need to learn to relate to their menstrual cycles on their own terms in order to break the curse. Heavy Flow is a guide to doing exactly that. As my book came together, it felt like it picked up right where Kissling left off.

I also believe anyone who has ever had a period would instantly understand what I mean by “the curse.” It describes both the pain and discomfort often experienced with menstruation and the shame and taboo impressed upon menstruators by our culture.


How did you research your book?

I spent a lot of time at the Toronto Reference Library, reading every single book on menstruation on their shelves and in the stacks, which actually isn’t all that many. I was shocked that books that were 25 years old were still in perfect condition; some of them had spines that hadn’t even been cracked before I opened them.

At the same time I was researching and writing, I was also producing my podcast, Heavy Flow. Every single guest on the show informed the book in some way. Many are quoted directly in the book while others simply taught me something new or offered a new perspective I hadn’t considered before, leading me down a new path of research and writing.

In addition to the interviews, I also do a weekly mini podcast called Question Period which answers listener questions. This was helpful to understand what readers would want to know about menstrual health. I made sure that every question that came in was addressed in the book.   


What are you reading right now?

I didn’t read a single word for pleasure while I was writing – most nights I zoned out playing this dumb phone game called Ramsey Dash. You’re a cook in a restaurant and Gordon Ramsey stands in the corner and yells at you (yes, really). So I’ve really been enjoying catching up on all of the fiction books that I just didn’t have the time or brain capacity to read last year. In the past few months I have been drawn to books that explore motherhood in some way or another. I’m currently reading The Mothers by Brit Bennett. Other recent favourites on this theme are Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere and Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki.



Amanda Laird

Posted by Dundurn Guest on May 8, 2018
Amanda Laird photo

Amanda Laird

Amanda Laird is a feminist holistic nutritionist specializing in menstrual health and is the host of Heavy Flow — a weekly podcast dedicated to casual conversations about periods and other taboo health and wellness topics. She lives in Toronto.