I’m very lucky that I have a sister that doesn’t care that I blog about her (Kel: “Whatever. None of my friends read your dumb* blog.”). Because of this, I get to relay the very exciting news that, on the last day of this past decade, my little baby sister got her very first period!!! Of course, I had already prepared her with a stash of cupcake-adorned Lunapads and presented her with My Little Red Book as a menarche present, but needless to say, I was more excited than she. Her words: “I wasn’t that upset when I realized I got it.”
I will admit that I know it’s pretty fricking weird for me to get overly excited about my sister getting her period, but, unlike her, I grew up with a group of friends that pined for their first periods and treated who got it first as a competition. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was our bible, and starting in fourth grade we eagerly anticipated the moment when one of us might find a spot of blood in her underpants.
I personally prepared myself for this moment by sending away to Tampax for several free starter kits that consisted of an ugly-colored vinyl case with pantyliners, junior size tampons and a handy calendar to track your cycle with. I brought one of these kits to every sleepover I went to and even begged my mom to pack it in her luggage for our trip to Florida “just in case”. I practiced wearing pads so I would be prepared for how it would feel, and even once tried a tampon when I did NOT have my period (obviously a horrible idea) and started having a panic attack when I thought I gave myself TSS at the age of 11. Clearly, there was a lot of anticipation for my big day, and I couldn’t help feeling the same way for my sister’s.
Sadly, it didn’t take long for the excitement to wear off for me – not only did I have the pre-menarche near brush with TSS (my fault, I realize), I never had a good time during my period. I actually became convinced at one point that I was allergic to my own menstrual blood because of the horrible, painful rashes I used to get. Years later, I realized it was very likely a reaction to the chemicals present in the pads I was using. Consequently, I was quick to switch to tampons, a solution that wasn’t much more comfortable, and eventually, after seeing the light – the menstrual cup. After seeing that light (possibly green?), my period woes became a thing of the past and I learned to appreciate my monthly gift from mother nature (and no longer saw it as a curse).
That’s why I’m so happy to be able to give my sister something that I didn’t have access to when I got my first period – reusable menstrual products. I know I’ve brought them up, many, many times before – but I have good reason to. Ditching the disposables changed my whole outlook on getting my period, and turned it from something I thought of as an uncomfortable burden at a very young age to something I could appreciate and even revel in (and at the very least, not find incredibly uncomfortable).
As a result, I was absolutely thrilled to come across Greenblooded: An Introduction to Eco-Friendly Feminine Hygiene, a totally cute mini comic by Cathy Leamy that, of course, talks about reusable menstrual products like the cup and washable pads. Greenblooded follows a female’s quest to be green during “that time of the month”. The comic’s protagonist (perhaps Leamy herself?) notes that we’re given suggestions for eco-friendliness in nearly all other aspects of life – forgo disposable diapers for cloth ones, use dish rags instead of paper towels – yet one very similar suggestion is often bypassed – to use reusable menstrual products instead of disposables.
She posits: “It blows my mind. This is an integral part of many women’s lives for several days of each month for over 30 years! But many of these green resources barely touch on it.”
Leamy details what disposable products are currently in popular use and what’s wrong with them, down to the amount of resources used to produce them to the resulting waste and health effects. Then she offers up the alternatives: cloth pads, cups and sponges, and explains how to use them.
What I really like is that she also mentions how to handle still needing to use disposables, if you do. Leamy suggests looking for organic products from smaller companies that practice greener production processes, for situations when you don’t have room to carry used alternative products, you’re carrying supplies for other women, or you’d just like a backup method.
The comic is beautifully printed, adorably illustrated, and manages to be thought provoking, informative and funny, all at the same time. What better way to introduce someone in your life, 14 or 44, to reusable menstrual products?
And on another reusable menstrual product note, I am so excited to announce that I was one of 50 lucky ladies chosen to try out a pair of Lunapads’ newly redesigned Lunapanties – and I was not disappointed!
This new and improved underwear is now made out of organic cotton, available in two colors, Black and Magenta. They come in three styles, hipster, bikini and thong, in every size from XS to 3XL (although plus sizes are not yet available). And of course, every pair has a cozy, absorbent organic fleece-lined gusset with soft cotton bands that allow you to add liners for extra coverage (just like regular Lunapads!).
As for my trial of the panties, I have to say that I was pretty impressed! I have never owned Lunapanties before, and have always been interested in trying them, but couldn’t justify the cost with my never-fail Divacup (no leaks – so I don’t need a backup!). However, this new design just may have changed my mind.
These things are just plain old comfortable for any day – I don’t care where you are in your cycle. Seriously, I don’t know if I’ve ever owned a more comfortable pair of underwear – I actually washed them and wore them again the next day the first time I tried them because they were so great. The only thing I do wish is that I had received a liner as well, so that I could really try them out in action. Without the nylon lining (which is what now makes Lunapanties a 100% organic product), I was a little hesitant to use them without the extra help of a liner. But I am NOT complaining – I was so thrilled the day I got them in the mail, it was like Christmas! I was happy to be able to try them, period (hehe). Thanks again you wonderful Lunagals!
*She did not actually say “dumb”, but I feel it was implied.