I’ll never forget when I walked into Whole Foods, past the essential oils and into the feminine care products aisle. A younger sister of mine (who shall remain nameless) was getting close to needing “those things.” My mom wondered if she should just start her off in things like the reusable pads, to avoid all the chemicals and such from the start so it wouldn’t be weird. I looked at her and told her I objected to her raising my sister to be a weirdo hippie freak (with many laughs shared between us) and we moved on. At the time, I really did think they were weird and freaky.
How I got into reusable pads, and why
It took me a few years but I finally had to let go of my abhorrence and give cloth pads a try. I have a condition called Interstitial Cystitis which frequently left my lady parts raw and sore when I used any kind . Tampons and pads left me so raw that I was unable to sit comfortably, much less have sex for a week or more after my cycle ended.
I made myself some cloth pads which didn’t work terribly well, but got the job done. I didn’t invest too much time and effort into making them because I was sure I would hate them, but I was desperate to try anything that wouldn’t make me horribly sore. They didn’t hold up terribly well because of my poor workmanship, but after a few months I knew I would use cloth pads them forever because they were so much better than the disposables as far as comfort went.
Not too long after that I ended up ordering a set of pads from an store called Julian’s Boutique on Etsy and then I was hooked. (I don’t have any affiliation with the store, I just happened to order from there and loved how well her products held up.) My janky homemade pads got lost in a move, so it was time to bite the bullet and just replace them. I got one set for daytime use, and another set for nighttime and after Logan was born to use after I got home. For the most part during the heaviest postpartum bleeding I used the disposable ones the hospital sent me home with, but once it calmed down to what was more like a normal period I used the cloth ones to prevent soreness from my intolerance of the disposables.
How I started using a menstrual cup
At one point during my pregnancy I was talking to my best friend about the cloth pads and one of us mentioned trying “those cup things” which intrigued both of us but also kind of freaked us out. We both separately ordered one, her for a trip she was taking to Europe, where name brand tampons that us American girls are used to are hard to find. I wanted mine for when I started birth control after Logan was born and I started having periods again. While the cloth pads were amazing and didn’t make me raw or uncomfortable, I just don’t like pads as much. I missed the less mess option of tampons and figured if it worked I would be able to at least use it sometimes and save myself the discomfort of wearing a tampon and then I would save tons of money.
Things I learned about using the reusable cup
At first, it was weird to wear the cup. Making sure it was sitting high up enough was the weird thing for me. I also had to trim the handle on mine because I kept feeling mine poke me and while it didn’t hurt it got a tad uncomfortable and it was just weird. I got the Blossom brand off Amazon, which I really like so far. My bestie got the Diva Cup brand, which she loves. The Blossom is almost $10 cheaper, and since I was spending a lot of time focusing on stockpiling for after Logan was born I watching my budget really carefully.
The thing I love about the cup is that once it’s in and it is in the right spot you don’t even feel it. I am very sensitive, so I did not believe I would not notice it. I was happily wrong. It’s awesome.
I love the fact that while I’m traveling I can have everything I’ll need for an entire trip in one small bag, and since I’ve always been irregular that is a huge stress-saver for me. When No more worrying not about what I’ll do if I start and I didn’t bring enough. What if our budget is tight and Aunt Flo decided to visit? No longer an issue. Seriously. It is amazing.
Another girlfriend of mine also uses hers for when she is ovulating, when she has a lot of mucus and discharge. I hadn’t thought about that, but it makes sense. Less mess for sure…and why not have less mess if you can? I don’t do that, but it’s not a bad idea.
The smell issue
My husband hated the idea of me trying the menstrual cup because he was concerned about the smell. He went to Berea College, which is a great school in the middle of a little hippie town, so naturally a lot of the student body are hippie-types. Let’s just put it this way: you can always tell when one of the girls wasn’t wearing “normal” stuff because she always had a strong odor when it was that time of the month. Enough said? I don’t blame Ian for being skeptical.
So I didn’t tell him I was trying it, and just flat out asked him a few days into the trial if he noticed a smell. He said no, and looked very concerned, then asked me what kind of weird blog post I was writing, because weird questions must mean a weird blog post. When I told him, he kindly thanked me and asked that we never talk about it again. Ever.
All in all, even if they freaked me out a lot at first, I love them now. Reusable cloth pads and the menstrual cups are so much cheaper in the long run and I’m not always uncomfortable. I love them and if you have any issues with discomfort during your period, these are a great way to save you some money, and some pain on your lady bits. 😉