Well, we still have power, but it has been precipitating all day. Classes are cancelled, and businesses are closed. As of now, at 3:45 p.m., there is not a single tire track in the apartment parking lot, because everyone is holing up in their apartments. And no wonder, because it's so nice and cozy inside! Ahhhh, where's my hot chocolate?
Now, for the topic of the day. I was going to wait a little longer to write this, but circumstances compel me to share the tidings sooner! Read on, read on! FOR THE MALE READERS: this post is all about feminine hygiene, so you probably don't want to read any further. Leave the computer, and go try to wash off all the cooties you have just gained from reading even this far.
About a year ago, I was really hating the whole disposable pad/tampon thing, for a variety of reasons.
ENVIRONMENTAL- Pads are made out of plastic, so those used pads are going to be around till kingdom come. GROSS!!!!!!!! According to an online pad calculator, I would probably use around 7700 more disposable products, starting today. I hate the thought of leaving that much trash behind me! And that's just little old me. According to this page, over 20 BILLION of these products are filling up landfills... EVERY YEAR. Ugh.
Not to mention, think of all the resources and energy expended in just manufacturing them. All that shipping and packaging. Pads are individually wrapped, (and tampons often have all those plastic inserts and stuff), then wrapped together in another plastic package, and then shipped to the store in a box. That's a lot of waste, and overpackaging doesn't necessarily mean sanitization. Read on...
HEALTH- Chlorine and plastic-related chemicals are used in the manufacturing process-- things I would rather not have in such close proximity to my body. And then there's the increased risk of TSS, especially with tampons. They tend to dry out tissue, which makes it easier for microscopic tears to develop, which provides an opportunity for evil bacteria to infect the body. Yikes!
COMFORT AND WELL-BEING- By the end of my period, I was always very raw and chafed from the plastic. I hated having to carry extra pads everywhere and feeling panicked if I ran out. Also, I hated creating more waste. Oh, and perpetually shelling out money for something I was just going to throw away kind of rankled me, too. And... THE DIAPER FEELING!! AAAAAA!!!
And then, last year, I found out about GladRags. And I bought this. And my life has never been the same again. Cloth pads are so amazing! I just wish more people knew about them! They are so comfortable, it's like wearing clothing. Since I use a menstrual cup, I never worry about being without protection when I'm out and about. Sometimes, though, I will carry an extra cloth pad in a Ziploc bag, just in case, but I rarely need it. And here's the best part: no more spending money! I am actually planning on buying a couple more, but that's more for convenience's sake. I'm tired of hand-washing and drying my three pads every day of my period.
One nice thing about using cloth pads is that it has forced me to get real about menstruation. It's really sad for me to see women try to pretend like it's not happening, to talk about it in hush-hush tones like it's some sort of disease, and watch ads for pads that skirt around the whole issue of menstruation. My last roommate summed the mentality up perfectly when she said, "I don't want to see it [blood], handle it, or know it's there. I hate periods!" What a sad way to approach a perfectly natural and good phenomenon of life. Handling your own blood is not gross. if you think that is too gross to handle, then may I suggest that you not have babies or pets, because you will be dealing with far worse stuff. Now that I use alternative products, I feel so much more positive about my period. Honestly, how can you not feel happy when you get to wear pretty floral pads? I feel more feminine now that I feel more free to embrace this aspect of being a woman. And suddenly, leaking in public does not seem like a fate worse than death. Thankfully, this has not happened, but if it did, then I guess everyone would be surprised that I'm a woman or something.
Sorry to talk you ear off. If there's one thing I would like for you to carry away, it would be this: GLADRAGS IS HAVING A GREAT SALE FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY! You will get 20% off any order of anything when you type in "HappyNewYear09". No, they are not paying me to say this. I am just a very happy convert, spreading the gospel of better women's health.