Toward a Less Painful, Less Shameful Menstrual Experience
I am, and have always, been, identified as a cisgender female. In other words, I have always felt that the sex I was born with matched the gender I experienced myself as having. At the same time, I have always experienced traditionally male gender behaviors. For example, I have been aggressive for the majority of my life, and have had to learn how to pull back from that and into the realm of assertiveness. I have also always been ambitious, a characteristic I had been told was not for me. And for a short while, I believed that. But then, I realized that my ambitions would bring me to where I wanted to go, to where I am today. And those ambitions were not simply for myself. I worked hard to become the person I am today, because there are people who need someone who looks like me to champion them.
Today, I wanted to focus on one part of who I am, specifically. I am a woman. In particular, I am a woman who has experienced joys, pains, and heartaches associated with my sex. Some of what I have dealt with has been a sense of disgust or embarrassment about the most natural characteristics of a woman's body, especially as regards menstruation. It didn't help that I was allergic to conventional menstrual products, particularly since I assumed that the pain I felt was clearly due to something that was my fault. At the time that I learned about my allergies, there had not been quite so many options available for reusable, chemical free, or otherwise healthier products. It was much more difficult for me to search for something that allowed me to...well, I wouldn't say ENJOY my days of menses, but at least not agonize during them.
While we certainly do have some options available to us, I thought I would identify some of my favorite sources. These are sites for products developed by women, for women, and which offer an opportunity to give back in addition to taking care of oneself. Additionally, the first two are Certified B companies, meaning that they are identified as being better than the average organization for staff, the environment, and the people they serve.
1) #Lunapads! This was one of the few sites available when I first started looking, and is still one of my favorites for washable and reusable menstrual products, including pads, liners, and the #Divacup. Lunapads even evolved to include panties over time, and has a #Pads4Girls program, which helps menstruating individuals from developing countries to avoid missing school by providing reusable products. If you use the link below, you can receive $10 off of your first purchase!
2) #ThisIsL- I came across some of these products while I was at the pharmacy one day, and decided to try a set of tampons. This is a great option if you're not too thrilled about the reusable option, and you can subscribe to have products to come directly to your door every month. The organization has as a goal to make organic products accessible to all, especially those who are experiencing poverty and who are therefore less likely to be able to afford quality menstrual products. Feel free to look at their site:
3) #MamaBearLadyWear menstrual products! I came across this option when I was looking for a new set of reusable pads, but did not have the money for Lunapads. These are quite a great alternative, and they provide a chance to determine if you prefer to have pads with inserts (Lunapads) or without. I still haven't figured out my own preference!
If you want to help your body, other women, and the earth, these are just some of the many options you have today. Try them out, and see what happens! Most of all, I hope that you never feel embarrassed about the natural fluctuations within your bodies. We are all beautiful, our bodies are beautiful, and our experiences within our bodies can be beautiful as well!