Sorry gentlemen, today the talk is just for girls...
You're welcome to stay around if you want but then don't complain saying things like "too much info" and other stuff...
Ok, after the warning for the gentlemen, now us girls...
Do you know that feeling when something changes in your life for better and then you just want more and more?...That's what is happening to me. After changing my diet for the one that makes me feel my best physically, emotionally and intellectually, and after quitting the job that was no longer making me happy, there's other aspects of my life that I want to change too. There's other areas where I want to evolve and become the best version of myself.
One of the things that I want to change is this dependence that society impose us to go to the supermarket and buy, buy, buy...And I'm not talking about material stuff but also things that are usually called as "essential goods", such as our toiletries and our dear disposable menstrual pads and tampons...
Here's the main reasons that make me want to stop using disposable menstrual pads and tampons:
1. I want to minimize my environmental footprint
On average, a woman uses about 17,000 menstrual pads and tampons during her life. The plastic used to produce disposable menstrual pads takes hundreds of years to decompose and the production process pollutes the environment and is detrimental for the animals and for us.
In Portugal, 4 % of all the garbage we produce is menstrual pads and tampons. I guess it is similar in the place where you live.
2. Reusable alternatives (cloth menstrual pads and menstrual cups) are healthier
A study from the University of La Plata, Argentina, showed that 85 % of the cotton samples used to produce disposable menstrual pads, tampons and sterile gazes were contaminated with glycophosphate, a toxic herbicide that is considered as potential carcinogenic by the World Health Organization (WHO) and most of the cotton used is transgenic to be resistant to this herbicide.
Synthetic materials used in disposable pads and tampons are one of the main sources of our infections, skin and mucosal irritations and cramps. Some menstrual pads also have added fragrances that are known endocrine disrupters and that can cause gynecologic problems such as endometriosis. Using reusable menstrual pads can help avoiding these symptoms and complications.
3. I want to support small companies, local producers and artisans
After taking the decision of stopping using disposable menstrual pads (or at least reduce a lot their use) I searched for alternatives. I had already heard about the menstrual cups but, although I consider them a great alternative to disposable pads and tampons, I have to confess that I'm not completely convinced about them.
I'm sure the menstrual cups are a better choice environmentally speaking comparing to the disposable stuff. I also know that they decrease the risk of infection and septic chock comparing to disposable tampons. To all the women that switched their disposable pads and tampons to a menstrual cup a big "oohh yeeehh! You rock girl!".
But still, having a synthetic material in contact with our mucosa for several hours, several days a month, doesn't seem to me the most natural and safe strategy. I'm aware that the material from which the menstrual cups are made is said to be inert and safe. But is there a synthetic material that is 100 % inert and safe? I'm not so sure...Also, the menstrual cups require close attention to the way they are washed to avoid the accumulation of bacteria over it.
I want more...I want better...
Fortunately, I found the reusable cloth menstrual pads, and even better, I found ones that are handmade by a Portuguese girl, Vera, who is a brilliant artisan. I'll talk about them later...
4. I want to spend less money
I want to depend less and less on a salary to have quality of life. I want to need to work less time so I have more free time to do the things that really make me happy and to be with the people I love. For me, "being powerful" is not having the "power to buy" but rather having the power and the freedom to chose what I want to do with my life and with my time.
Doing the math, 17,000 disposable menstrual pads/tampons, on an average of 0.20 € each, gives a total of 3400 € (more than tree times the average salary here in Portugal, apply the math to the place where you live). This is more than tree months working just to pay all our disposable menstrual pads. Three months of our lives that we could use better...
5. Reusable Cloth Pads are pretty and make me feel an independent and powerful woman
I don't want to depend on the will of the big companies and trust my health to whatever they feel like adding to their products to maximize their profits. I don't want to go with the flow with my eyes closed. I don't want somebody to chose for me and tell me what I have to do. I want to stand up tall. I want to raise my hand. I want to say no when I feel I have to say it. I want to chose what is best for me.
I want to feel the support of a community of powerful women, women that help each other, that are not afraid to get out of the flow, that are not afraid to wake up from the somnambulism...
The reusable cloth menstrual pads Panos da Vera help me feel this way.
Most of you are probably asking yourself if they work, if they are comfortable, if they really absorb, if they're easy to wash...I made all these questions to myself before trying them.
And the answer is yes!
They're comfortable, nobody can't tell you're using them, they absorb quite well because they are made with several layers of clothing and an impermeable layer (you can see all the layers in the photo below), they're easy to wash (just rinse them with water or leave them soaking in water and then dump them in the washing machine).
Vera makes the pads in several sizes, for the day or for the night, using your favorite patterns...She's a brilliant artisan and the pads are really well made. She can make personalized pads for each one of us!
So what about when I'm not at home and I need to change?
Vera also make cloth pouches for us to take our clean pads and impermeable pouches to put the used ones and carry them safely while we're not at home.
"I'm that women who climbed the mountain of life, removing rocks and planting flowers." - Cora Coralina