I found April’s Instagram page on the recommendation of a friend and instantly fell in love. April runs The Vagina Blog and is THE resource for everything you need to know about your lady bits. Her page is hysterical, educational, so relatable and totally important in this era of fake news (and fake orgasms). As a doula, a birth photographer and a birth assistant to a midwife, she’s seen a lot of vaginas. She covers maturation and menstruation, incontinence and pessaries, sex before, during and after pregnancy, childbirth and so much more. I’m personally a fan of all the interesting and eclectic pussy art she shares, pussy wallets, plush uteri and hilarious sex books (and the incredible halloween costume you must keep reading to see!)
I chatted with April and found her as funny, bold, and honest as her content. She’s a mom like you and me and is working to juggle motherhood, haters, and her mission to empower women to own their bodies, their gifts, and orgasms without shame or apology.
April! I am so excited to chat with you today. I love your Instagram account and the articles on your blog. It’s such an eclectic mix of humor and education. Tell me more about you and what you do.
I’m April, a wife and mom and my blog is The Vagina Blog where I write about women’s health, female health, and everything in between. It’s not just about vaginas, it’s about breast health, breast-feeding, birth, body positivity and all of that. Everything that encompasses so much of what our lives are all about. I was a nurse mid-wife assistant, doula, and a birth photographer. I’ve worked a lot in the realm of birth and have learned so much about why we should be empowered as women through all of it. I’ve also had my own struggles with eating disorders and so the body positivity message is something that’s really close to me and something I want to share. That’s kind of how I got into all of this.
What made you decide to turn this all into a blog?
I have a weird background. I went to school for digital motion picture production and emergency medicine. So I did lot in the photo and video and digital world along with medicine, that’s what led me to my job as a birth assistant. I’ve also worked on other blogs as a writer, photographer, and graphic design. I had all this fantastic information, and wasn’t sure what to do with it. As a doula and birth assistant I loved teaching, educating, helping, and nurturing women, specifically mothers. I thought having my own platform would give me space to share all of this knowledge and bring in experts and get the right information in front of people.
It seems like you have a big following and a lot of people are really interested in what you do, but tell me about the reaction from people in your real life. Was there any hesitation or fear of what they might think about starting a Vagina Blog?
Definitely. I joke about coming out as the Vagina Blog, you see I live in a very conservative community, was raised very conservatively, but, even with that being said, even the most conservative woman menstruates and has a vagina. I like to think the this is something that is not divisive but unifying in that everyone does really want to know about this, even if they don’t want to say it out loud.
Where you ever afraid to be the one to say it outloud?
Not really, because it’s a calling. I really felt like this was something I needed to be doing. I didn’t want to waste all the information and knowledge I had.
What do you want more women to know about their vagina?
Learn how to work with your menstrual cycle in order to be your best self. So many women just think, “well I bleed once a month for a couple days,” but what they don’t realize is you have your luteal phase, your ovulation phase, there’s so much more to your cycle than those couple days that you are bleeding. You actually go through changes hormonally and shifts each week of your cycle that make you stronger in some areas and weaker in some areas. You can tap into those strengths and match it with your hormones. It is incredible the things you can do working with your body instead of against your body.
The second thing that my doula heart wants to tell everyone everywhere is that birth is not this terrible, horrific scary event that we’ve turned it into. It is actually the coolest thing and it can be so empowering. I love watching women go into their birth well educated, prepared, and open minded so they’re not scared. There is such a difference between someone who has to have an emergency C-section and has read up on what that looks like and how that goes versus someone who has absolutely no idea and it all just happens to them. I think sometimes people hear doula and they think unmedicated childbirth but the reality is, as a doula I’ve seen all of it, I just want everyone to feel educated and empowered through anything that goes on.
Would you say education is the key to empowerment?
Huge. It’s key. It makes such a difference.
Women obviously learn a lot from you, but what have you learned since starting this blog?
Honestly, what has been most surprising and frustrating to me is when people label me and expect me to act a certain way. For example, people have labeled me a feminist, and while of course, I believe in feminism, I don’t like using that term because of all the negative connotation and judgment that comes with it, on all sides. I’ve been surprised at the trolling in the name of feminism. I’m still navigating it.
What’s the long term vision for your blog and message?
I would love to have a TV show for sure, I want to continue to be an influencer. I’m not a doctor or sex therapist, but you know what Oprah isn’t either! She is very good at interviewing people and getting the information in front of you. I want to be a Vagina Oprah. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I would also love to write a book.
How exciting! I think it’s so important for women to have something that is their own and to really watch it grow outside of motherhood. What would you say to someone who is a little restless, who want to do something but aren’t sure they can or if anyone would care?
Just do it!
If it’s something that you love and you are passionate about and if you’re willing to put the work in for, you must go for it. If you love it and you care enough about it, the work is worth it.
How do you overcome your fears of not being good enough or of being judged?
It’s okay to cry! It’s okay to take a social media break for a week. It’s okay to cry some more. I don’t know it’s so terrible because so often I felt like “I don’t want to do this anymore, it’s exhausting, these people are obnoxious, and everyone’s taking what I want to say the wrong way, why am I even doing this?” I’ve been through all of that. Prepare yourself. It’s probably going to happen when you venture out on your own, you’re going to hit walls and obstacles, but the only way out is through.
And it’s worth it right?
Totally. I really love this enough to keep going with it, to put the work in, to deal with it. For every one who is criticizing there are 10 who are going “oh my gosh I just tried this, or switched to this cup, and you’ve saved my life!” and that just gives me life.
I tell women all the time, you can stay home and stay safe, stay quiet, but there are people out there who need you! If you have a skill or knowledge, you shouldn’t hoard it, you should share!
Yes! That’s what I learned working with a nurse mid-wife who did home births, to be her assistant and learn everything I did, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity and I felt so compelled to share this knowledge.
What do you think women need to know most of all?
Two big things come to mind. There are much better options than pads and tampons when it comes to managing your period. And that learning about your cycle and managing your period better is worth your time. It will make every aspect of your life better.
Secondly, women need to own their orgasms. I love this analogy…We grow up our whole lives with our parents being like “‘you can’t pick your nose” and then suddenly one day we get in a serious relationship or we get married and we expect our partner to be able to pick our nose, but we’ve never picked our nose because we weren’t allowed to, and we don’t really know what we’re doing and it’s embarrassing to talk about so we’re not really going to say anything about how they should pick our nose, and then we’re really upset when they don’t do a good job.
When you remove the sexual aspect of course, it’s easier to be like “of course!” It’s the exact same thing with a partnership and your sex life. You need to be willing to communicate what your needs are and you also need to be familiar with your own anatomy, understand how it all works. Owning your own orgasms is having an idea of where things are, what functions how, and what turns you on. Allowing that discovery, alone or with a partner, is important and important to communicate clearly.
What changes need to happen in the conversation around women’s bodies and women’s health?
We have to do a better job teaching the next generation. Everything has been in the dark for the last bajillion years and it’s time. It’s time that we talk about it openly, it’s time we teach our daughters better, get them started on the right foot, tell them to love their bodies, tell them what their body parts are, tell them to respect their bodies…we just need to teach them better.
I want women to hear the very important lady parts message that you share, but I also want them to hear the message of doing what you love, sharing your gifts, and doing what you feel called to do. Any final parting words of wisdom for moms?
It’s worth the time and effort to learn about your menstrual cycle, getting your sex life to a good place, teaching your children about sex, it’s all worth the effort. We like to back burner all of these…so many women say “yeah, we should probably work on our sex life” or “someday we need to work on that” or they just say “it doesn’t work” and then there’s a period at the end of that sentence. “I’m not into it anymore after babies.” Period. Instead ask “what do I need to do to get into it again?” Girl it’s worth it! Sometimes that’s hiring a therapist, a sex therapist, reading a book, finding a toy, sometimes it’s just deciding that it is worth the effort.
So many moms feel guilty putting any effort into themselves…working out, eating right, getting sleep, etc. We are so much more than a mom and we have to take care of all areas of life in order to be the moms we want to be. It’s so important to nurture, cherish, and bring all parts of ourselves back to life.