Nona Diaries is a series featuring some inspirational women and their period stories. Today’s feature is about @leilanihambali.
Digital Content Lead at Nona. MPH (Masters of Public Health) student at Columbia University studying Health Policy and Management and was Pre-Med at Notre Dame. Passionate napper and milk drinker.
Let's Start with Your Name
Tell us how you got into Nona and what you like most about it.
I found Nona on Instagram when it was a few weeks old. The content and the movement really resonated with me as an Indonesian girl. I connected with Nicole and the rest is history.
What I love most about Nona is how anyone is able to contribute. Through my studies I have been able to learn about the anatomy and biology of the female body - the cancers, hormones and diagnostic methods. I’ve also been able to learn about period poverty, menstrual health management (MHM) and how young girls in Indonesia don’t want to go to the bathroom and change their pad because of dirty facilities!
Describe your period in 3 emojis.
I love power naps as I find myself easily tired during this time of month . The white flag is not meant to symbolize giving up but more like a “truce” with my body - I am no longer trying to fight my period. I also become quite irritable leading up to my period.
What feelings do you have towards your period?
When it comes, it makes a full-fledged appearance leaving its mark everywhere it goes (RIP cute jeans). I also feel like I’m being stabbed in my uterus. When it’s a day late, I get concerned because I am never late. I know something is up and I need to reassess my lifestyle.
Over the years I have come to appreciate my period more. Periods are a sign of good health. I’m blessed to have only missed a period once in my lifetime.
Do you get any womanly intuition or signs when your period is coming?
Yes! It’s usually a pimple, being annoyed at anything that moves, and some mild cramping the day before.
Are there any habits that you incorporate into your lifestyle to honor your period?
Taking it slow. Over the years, I find that stress (*choke choke* apartment hunting in NYC summer with a damp pad) throws off my cycle and delays my period. Take it as an opportunity to realign yourself, tidy your living space, and do easy but menial tasks.
Doing menial tasks = still productive.
Do you remember the first time you got your first period?
A tragic scene. Picture a middle schooler crying at 4AM over the sink trying to wash blood stains off her pants, sheets and mattress protector. She’s tired and emotional. She puts the sheets on a drying rack and comes into the bedroom to realize she has to put on new sheets. She bawls.
The night ended with me wrapping a towel around my waist like a sarung and sleeping on a bare mattress. You do what you gotta do.
If you could give your younger self advice when you first got your period, what would you say?
Firstly, do not use hot water to wash the blood off clothing and sheets. Soak in cold water and wash gently with soap and an old toothbrush.
Secondly, do not skip meals and eat nutritious food!
Thirdly, you can make your period work for you - if you respect it.