Everyone, meet Jennifer Aldoretta. She is a fucking powerhouse who is empowering women around their reproductive health. Holy shit! That is a cause that I can get behind. I am so very glad that Jennifer exists and that she has chosen to do this work.
Tell me about yourself and what you do:
Put simply: I’m a women’s health nerd. In 2013, after more than a decade of being on the pill and struggling with painful periods, I started my company, Groove, because I wanted to help educate others about reproductive and menstrual health. That education takes many forms, including our period tracking app, online courses, Humans with Periods project, and humanitarian initiatives. I’m passionate about helping people feel empowered by their bodies and breaking down destructive period taboos that affect people across the globe. I spend an embarrassing amount of time reading medical journals, I love riding my bicycle, and I enjoy lounging around the house with my pup, Bailey.
What motivates you to do what you do?
My mom has been sick on and off for most of my life, and, when I was in high school, one of my sisters was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease that she still battles today. On top of that, I’ve struggled for most of my life with excruciatingly painful periods. So at a very young age, I became aware of how fragile and precious life is, and how quickly health problems can overrun your life. As I’ve gotten older, those experiences have helped me realize that I’m not willing to wait around hoping that someone else will make the changes that I want to see in the world — if everyone waited for someone else to take that leap, nothing would ever change. Steve Jobs once said in an interview, “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it.” It’s true. I have something unique and wonderful to offer the world, and so does everyone else.
Tell me about a moment when you felt truly awesome:
The moment that comes to mind is probably the first time one of Groove’s app users emailed us and told us that she was pregnant. She and her partner had been trying for quite some time with no success, and then this app that I helped create gave her the education she needed to finally conceive. She was so grateful, and it was the best feeling in the world. That was probably the moment that I felt truly confident in my decision to dedicate my life to helping people understand and feel empowered by their bodies.
How do you get through periods of self-doubt?
When I start to doubt myself, either in my work or in my life, I try to take a step back and think about what my goals are. I try to remember that my life and my goals are so much bigger than a few moments, days, or even weeks of doubt. Recently, I’ve adopted the mantra “Focus less on what you fear and more on what you want.” I repeat it to myself whenever I’m feeling down about something, and it works. It helps me reframe my thinking and focus more on my goals than on my negative feelings in that moment.
What do you want other women to know about self-acceptance and self-celebration?
Self-acceptance isn’t always something that comes easily — especially in a society that tells you it’s conceited to celebrate yourself. It requires a lot of diligent, consistent work. Everyone has moments of self-doubt, but it’s what you do in those moments and how you treat yourself in those moments that make all the difference in the world. The great thing about self-acceptance is that it has a snowball effect. Even something as simple as repeating a mantra can change the way you feel about yourself.
I am struck by the fact that Jennifer took something painful in her life and turned it into her life’s work. That requires some serious self-empowerment, which we assume is an inborn trait that either you have or don’t. Not true! Jennifer’s interview reminds us that empowerment and self-acceptance are skills that we can practice. The more we use them, the better we are at them! If you want to learn more about Jennifer’s work at Groove, check it out here. You can also meet her and the other women who have been interviewed for Humans with Periods, like yours truly, at a happy hour this Sunday. Click here for details!