Thursday, January 20, 2011

Woman's Cloth

Because it is not Mother's cloth, Fatima. In fact, mothers go through a nice period of NOT having to use such things. But I digress... It all started for me more than 3 years ago. I have always been interested in living and eating healthily. And as I became aware of what was happening to this world of ours, I became very interested in living with a smaller footprint on the world. For many years I have been unhappy with the choice in so-called feminine products. The disposable-ness of them, the bleached white-ness of them - to think of putting some of the worst chemicals next to the most tender part of my body just never seemed right. I had long ago given up using tampons for the same bleached-white reason and because they stopped feeling good to me. I noticed that I felt more bloated when I used them.

Now, if someone who is not my sister is reading this, I should give a bit of background information here. I have a period like my mother. I bleed for a full 7 days and I bleed very heavily for 3 of those at least. When I say heavily, I mean very heavily - like half the blood of my entire body leaving through my vagina..... I know several of my sisters are like this,too. So obviously, to return to the 'old' way of just using rags would not be practical. For me, it would have meant living in the bathroom for most of my period or walking around with blood running down my legs.

So just over 3 years ago, I bought a Diva Cup. I had been hearing about them for awhile. I purchased one for just over $40 but they have gone down in price since then. Learning how to use it was rather comical, I must admit. Following the instructions that came with it didn't work. Folding it up like it is in that link only resulted in it suction cupping to the inside wall of my vagina and it was excruciating. And of course, I started trying this on a day of heavy flow. I felt like I worked in a slaughter house, with blood running down my arm.... yuck. But in the end, I figured it out. I just squeeze it slightly in half and slip it in, position it and turn it the required 3 times so that it makes a seal. I got better and better at it as time went on.

Then it was only a matter of time until I purchased some cotton, reusuable pads. Lunapads. So much more comfortable than paper pads, let me tell you! However, rather expensive and I was loathe to buy more than the starter pack because, really, I could make some of my own. I mean, I had seen all the cool ones that Soulemama had made. But I didn't for another year or so. Mom eventually make me a whole bunch more when she came with me to New Denver. And now I have a huge stash that I never use all of when I am 'on the rag', so to speak. On the light days of my period, the diva cup is enough. But on the heavier days, there is a bit of leakage and for this, the cloth pads are wonderful. I used a thrifted flannel sheet, as well as some I had saved or Rhiannon's which were like new because she almost never slept in her own bed.... and a thrifted towel for the inside part when I made my own. When one of the pads is dirty, I just pop it into an ice cream bucket that sits on top of my dryer (which is a stacked one, so it is way up high, out of everyone's sight). The bucket has water and oxyclean in it. When my period is over, I rinse out the water and throw them in the wash. They come out perfectly clean with no stains.

Of course you save money using this method for obvious reasons. But what continues to appeal to me is that not only is it so much gentler on the environment but it is also so much better for me. Like many others that I have heard of who also use the diva cup, they like their periods so much better and somehow, your period seems to change a little. But that just might be becoming so much more aware of its fluctuations. On my super, super heavy day I usually must empty my diva cup every half hour.

And emptying it is not that hard. I have been in almost every conceivable situation now. At home, I take it out, empty it into the toilet and wash it in the sink with soap and warm water. In public washrooms, I can just empty it into the toilet, give it a wipe with some toilet paper and reinsert it. Or you can even revert to the old ways of disposable products for an outing. But I never have. I love the diva cup. It is comfortable, and easy to use. I forget I have it in. I have been swimming with it in many times, exercised with it in, gone everywhere with it.

And there you have it, the complete tale of my 'woman's cloth'.... Are you a sister and would like to try some of these? I have mom's serger, I 'd be glad to make some liners for you but you will have to buy the bottom part from Lunapads (probably sold at your local health food store).

8 comments:

Monique said...

I've been using cloth pads for a long time now.....I must admit sheepishly that they are nothing more than old diaper liners I had for my first baby. You sure bleed a lot! I just use those and that's it. I have some disposables for outings - but I buy the organic cotton, non-chemicalled ones. They cost more but I use so few it hardly matters. I tried a cup thing - not for me. But I don't really need it. I thought I bled a lot - but it sounds like I don't after all, compared to you.

Beth-a-knee said...

I am interested!

Sarah-Lynn said...

ha ha, Bethany, I knew it!! Although, I'm a little interested too. I've been interested in the diva cup for a long time. Kyle even tells me to go empty my cup when he's annoyed at my "psycho period ways" because I told him I wanted one like over a year ago, but I haven't found any, and I admit, I haven't actively searched outside of regular drug stores. Thanks for sharing, that was brave of you. Also, if any men ever read your blog, they might not anymore :)

Andrea said...

Sure, Bethany. I'll show you what you need to buy for the shell and then lets aim for a date. And Sarah, you can generally find them in Health Food Stores and around here you can now find them in most drugstores and even in Save On Foods. (I know there is no Save On in Manitoba, I'm just saying...)

Laura said...

this was quite interesting. we should do a series of women issue blog posts. i'm still happy with tampax tampons though. not that i have to worry about it a lot.

bum.by.the.sea said...

I've been really bothered lately about the bleach and other chemicals in tampons, and I've been wanting to switch over, but they are impossible for me to find when I think about it. No they are not in the drugstore here. This was an informative post, thanks.

Lady of Light said...

Thanks, Andrea! This is a lot of new information to digest. I have heard of the Diva Cup. I just can't get around the absorbency issue. i think I would always be worried about leaking if I were to use a cloth only. Maybe i have absorbency issues...
P.S. - I know it is woman's cloth - 'mother's cloth' was my attempt at humor :)

Andrea said...

Fatima, I have never leaked through my lunapads. I use what they call a pad here (http://www.lunapads.com/pads-and-liners.html) and I have made (and my mom made) my own liners. I have a few of theirs, too. The cotton they use is very good and very absorbent.