Note: This blog post was written by my 19 year old daughter Olivia, who will be a sophomore this fall in college.
As all women can attest to, periods are simply an annoyance. Buy feminine hygiene products, check your pad/tampon status regularly, don’t wear white pants, the list goes on. Throughout my menstruating days I have used a variety of products: panty liners, pads, tampons and even toilet paper in a pinch.
When I was younger my mom tried to encourage me to use reusable products like period underwear and reusable pads, but I was personally bothered about having wetness between my legs. Recently, I have been using reusable menstrual cups. Don’t get me wrong, during the first few times I found them terribly annoying and not worth the trouble, but after getting to know the product and how to use it properly, I’ve fallen in love. (if that’s even possible with a period product)
Being in college, I normally don’t have extra money to spend. This meant relying on my
mother to send me care packages every month or so with the tampons I needed. This worked out fine for a while, until there was one month where I ran out. I was forced to use the menstrual cup that I had only used a handful of times, and I was not too happy about it. But, after a cycle of using it, I questioned why I had ever done anything different. Where ever I was, I never needed to ask anyone for an extra tampon. I simply rinsed my cup and reused it. I spent no extra money that week and was thankful because I could buy a comforting Chipotle bowl with the extra cash. Anywhere, anytime, I could easily clean it and continue on with my studies. As an environmentalist, I became increasingly aware during this time as to how many tampons and panty liners I had been throwing out during that special time of the month, but with this product it was none. If I forgot I was wearing it (which i could do because it’s completely unnoticeable) I didn’t feel worried or bad because I knew that it was ok to use for around 12 hours.
There are no harsh bleaches or other chemicals entering my body which isn’t something you normally consider, but think about it- cotton isn’t naturally perfectly white… those chemicals (used to bleach cotton) diffuse into our bloodstream and carry throughout our body. When I tell my friends they all look at me in disgust, but when I tell them how convenient it all is they rethink I know I’ve converted at least one of them. There is no reason that I can think of not to use reusable products honestly.
Call me crazy, but being able to go on vacation with only one cup, not spending any extra money when aunt flow comes around, and not worrying about how my waste affects the landfills leads to a stress free period, and really, in college, is there really any more that I can ask for?
Fewer bathroom trips, less discomfort, less money, less waste, no embarrassment, better health, and less stress made the learning process all worth it.