It is seriously the stuff my childhood nightmares were made of. The other day I found myself clicking the little blue button on a post where I linked an article about tampons – with a picture of tampons attached. The article was about, you guessed it: tampons (and how women need to switch to sustainable options such as cloth pads)! Of course I made appropriate excuses: “sorry about the tampon picture,” “it’s a great article on a relevant topic,” “ignore the title”, but I clicked that button and it wasn’t the first time. I even added the #sorrynotsorry and meant it. I was (and still am) unapologetic.
Living the … nightmare?
So now I’m basically living my childhood nightmares. I am sure you know the feeling. Where you realize you are not *entirely* blending in and not in a good way. Awkward. You just blurted out a terrible idea or something plain stupid or crazy … and only received the sound of crickets in reply? Awkward. Just like that recurring nightmare about arriving at swimming lessons without a swimsuit, or in pajamas, or just with nothing on at all (everyone has those, right? … *chirp chirp chirp*). Completely Awkward!
So how did I find myself in this rather unusual situation? I make and sell organic reusable cloth pads. It certainly was not one of my youthful ambitions. Of course there was no such thing as social media back then *gasp*, but if there was, I would never have used: #faceyourfears #awkwardbusiness #iloveit #letsdoit #2017goals.
An idea & a little education.
Of course I am going to “credit” my sister Amie with the idea. Last year she had this idea about “making cloth pads for women who are allergic to disposables or are concerned about the environment.” Right. Those types. Gotcha.
Like a good sister, I started reading and doing some good old fashioned research to see if the idea would fly (yes, it’s a thing!). Then I read some more and took notes and then created documents. Then, of course, I made the switch myself (why on earth did I ever use disposables?). The documents started becoming website content that required more research and better sources. The “more research” led me to want estimates of volume. (“How much are we looking at here?) Those estimates led me to want really accurate estimates, which in turn led me to the “feminine hygiene” aisle in the drug store with measuring tape in hand. Awkward.
(If you are curious about said estimates, I had them made into little infographics for our website. Click here to see them www.bluebirdpads.com/why-cloth/ )
Tip of the Iceberg
Suffice to say, I learned a thing or two! I will share a few tidbits – in brief.
– Mainstream pads & tampons are almost entirely comprised of various forms of plastic and contain lots of yucky chemicals and ingredients.
– We don’t generally assume plastic is great for wearing, consumption or otherwise internalizing on a regular basis … but women do just that every month with tampons & pads. Why?
– Pads & tampons may seem “convenient & discreet” but that isn’t entirely the case. We use them, throw them in the garbage, take out the garbage and then the garbage is taken to the dump. Where they will remain forever.
– Just kidding. Almost forever. Scientists estimate disposable pads, diapers etc won’t break down for up to eight hundred years (and then they become what, plastic dirt…?). I personally feel that there is nothing “discreet” about the fact that many generations from now, our descendants will have the privilege of living with the special trash we have been making for the past 80 or so years en-masse.
– “Aren’t disposable feminine hygiene products the least of our problems” you ask? Well… it is true. There are bigger environmental concerns. However, like disposable diapers, disposable feminine hygiene is no small matter. Every woman that uses pads will add approximately thirty-eight garbage cans (twenty gallon) to her local landfill, in pads alone.
– Now this may be the most shocking fact of all. Reusable menstrual products aren’t gross, unsanitary, crunchy granola, or even difficult to manage. Cloth pads are more comfortable, healthier for you, cleaner (for everyone involved) and more cost effective in the long run.
– Potential bonus: many users of cloth pads will say that they even experience less painful periods after switching. Whaaaa? I’m a cynic of such “pseudo-science” personally, but it actually has made a difference for me. You won’t know until you try.
Over to You.
So, there you have it. Don’t leave me hanging (crickets chirping). Tell me what you think, google, ask questions and give reusable, sustainable lady products a try! Gah! Now I feel like “Sam I am” in Dr. Suess’ book “Green Eggs & Ham.” Awkward.
PS. Thanks for reading! I’ll be covering more awkward topics like “Top Reasons to Try Cloth Pads” and “Tips for Making the Switch to Cloth Pads” in my next few blog posts. Curious and want to stay tuned? Follow us on Instagram: @bluebirdpads and Facebook: Bluebird Pads.