the Trigger-happy housewife

Bringing the constantly fantastic and painfully insane together daily!

Making happy changes.

on March 6, 2015

At the moment I am typing this the post has no title. That is because I have absolutely NO IDEA what to call it. I am about to talk about my period, so this post is ultra girlie and I apologize to anyone who may have delicate senses and be made upset. If that is you – stop reading. 🙂

I am proud to say that as of February of this year I am an eco-friendly menstruater. lol An earth girl, a moon woman – I am using reusable menstruation products. It is the best “lady-parts” choice I have ever made. I have mentioned now and again – I think – that in the last few years I have become allergic to different things. When I was a child I have various food/irritant allergies but it seemed I had out grown them. Over the last couple I have discovered new ones, like I am allergic to raw shrimp. If I touch a shrimp my hands instantly get red, bumpy, swollen and itch painfully. Peppermint makes me violently ill. Smells, all sorts of smells make me feel awful. That all lead to me discovering that I was having a reaction to any pad I wore. I tried them all: the soft feel, cotton feel, air dry max, supper absorbent. I tried all sorts of tricks: changing them every hour, using powders or creams. Nothing worked, if I wore a pad my sensitive parts would have painful reactions.

You may think, “Why not use a tampon?” That is a fair thought, and I will answer that now. I have always preferred tampons, and then I didn’t. I don’t know the science behind it, but it just got uncomfortable and they are not always reliable. I still used them for the most part, but in the early and late stages they were overkill and, to put it bluntly, they hurt. I had been feeling pretty over it, to say the least. Then I read an article about Femme International, a charity that works to better the lives of East African girls and women by providing them reusable menstruation items. (I really suggest that you look into it, it is amazing the things we take for granted as a woman in America. Yes, there is a LONG road to equality but we are still very blessed.) Along with being completely overwhelmed by their mission I was intrigued by the use of reusable menstruation items. Yes, it makes sense that they exist, but I had never thought of it.

I started to do some research and it was, to be honest, overwhelming. lol There are so many different options. Menstruation cups, that catch as the body expels and it then dumped and rinsed and reused. There were reusable pads. There were sea sponges. Seriously, if this post makes you consider switching to non-disposable menstrual methods you have SO much to choose from! I decided I would rather not really “deal” with a messy pad to be reused and that I would look into the menstruation cup and a few washable panty liners for the learning curve and for exercising.

Let’s break down that choice! It seems simple, a cup and a few liners. Guys, there are so many different cups and everyone has a favorite. They can range from 15 – 50 dollars. They have sizes: no vaginal childbirth, vaginal childbirth, some sellers include over 30 and other’s leave that out. They have shapes and stems that differ, some are harder and some softer. In the end I just didn’t want to spend too much on a concept I wasn’t sure about. I found a cup on Amazon.com (that sadly is no longer available, though there are similar products, such as this one) that was nine dollars and I ordered both the size A (post vaginal childbirth or over 30) and a size B (no vaginal childbirth and under 30) so that I could start off with the smaller size (I am 34, but my child was born via c-section) and use the larger if being over 30 mattered. I also found a set of panty liners on Etsy (where you can find many) from a shop called Marley’s Monsters. While looking around I saw that many people had cute little carry cases and I HAD to have one. I found mine at Love A Little, also on Etsy.

Then, I waited. I was, honestly, really excited for my period when she finally arrived at the beginning of February. The cup took some getting used to and was uncomfortable at first because the stem was so long. I trimmed it as I had read many do, and then I was scared it would get “stuck” and made my wife promise to remove it without laughing at me if that happened. She gave me a sympathetic nod and added, “It won’t get stuck.” Every time I inserted it I was unhappy and I was almost going to quit, but I had told myself that I would NOT use anything disposable this cycle and that meant I was left with only the option of three panty liners. That wasn’t going to work, so I sat down and got over myself. Finally I went at it with gusto and inserted it further up – perfection. It was instantly comfortable and I went about my day. I did continually check because I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t leaking and I wondered how I would know if it needed to be changed. (I can tell you now that as if fills it gets heavy and begins to slide lower, almost to the shallow place I had been inserting it. This means I feel the cup. Nothing uncomfortable or painful, just a bit of pressure and a knowledge that it is there. This also makes it easy to reach when it is time to remove it.) Removal isn’t tricky really, just remembering that you are dealing with a cup and keeping it upright will do. If it’s too full you may get a twee of mess but I only had that happen once. Within the first two days I was golden and I was sure that this was it. There are two different methods of inserting that I found and one of them worked well, while the other sucked for me. Though now I have even changed that a little to be what I need it to be and really if you get the job done, it’s your body there is no wrong way!

Here is the surprising thing. The last day was really light and I was tired of inserting anything, even if it was awesome, so I decided to try the liners on their own and I love them! EASY to use and clean and not at all what I expected. I decided that I would be using washable pads as part of my normal cycle care. Again, there are so many and you need AT LEAST ten to get through a cycle. I found a nice set from Earthgirl Pads on amazon, though she has an Etsy and her own website as well. Because I already had the three liners I picked up a ten pack with five HEAVY and five regular. I picked them up from her and not from Marley’s Monsters just because I needed enough to cycle without the cup if I chose and Marley’s is more pricey (though COMPLETELY WORTH IT.) (I actually have several Marley’s items in my Etsy cart and I will be purchasing many things in the future.)

Perhaps the best part is that my wife is interested in going reusable and we have daughters who will be raised with this as an option. I know that being young it may be easier to simply toss them, but I think that as they grow if this is a normal and talked about option that is readily available they may choose it. I hope so.

Once the reading and researching and choices were made this became a really easy thing and I am inspired to go reusable in other areas. Soon we will be a reusable napkin family (there will still be paper towels available for certain situations) and we are reducing, reusing and recycling in other areas in life.

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