Ugh. Time to talk about that thing we all either dread or look forward to every month. Whether you embrace your female self, or hate dealing with all of the symptoms of it all, there are lots of different ways of dealing with it. When El Jefe and I were married, I went on Depo Provera for a cycle (one shot). I figured I wouldn't have to deal with the mess every month, carrying around different tampons, napkins, wet wipes, a spare pair of pants in the car . . . and no babies. Wow. Did I ever miss my cycle those three months. I'm one of those girls who can't tolerate Depo. The stories you've heard of girls becoming raving lunatics? Me. Heaving sobbing puddles of snot? Me. I wish I had had a cycle chart or some cycle beads to help me out.
Menstrual Beads - Turquoise 'n Black Necklace, DoulaHara
I was one of those lucky girls whose folks just tossed a book on my bed (Growing Up, Feeling Good) and hoped I would figure it out. (They did okay, I fiured it out.) I hope I do a little better by my daughter, and I can teach her more about her body than my Mom knew about hers. I wish I had found one of these beautiful necklaces. It wasn't until I realized that hormonal birth control wouldn't work for me that I learned a little more about my self.
Chart Your Cycle - A menstrual chart to help you go with the flow, HolisticallyHeather
So when I got to a ship, where I knew I'd spend months at a time (and don't ask where the used supplies go.) I knew I was going to need a new solution. You see, blood is a biohazard. You can't just dump it in the ocean. And if you don't pull in to a port that can accept "medical waste", it stays on board. You do have a few options. When I first got to a ship, I used Instead. A disposable Menstrual Cup, it does not absorb any blood, simply catching it in the cup. When I took it out, I would dump it, rinse it, and toss it in with the plastics; no longer medical waste. That was a great solution for me for a long time. But it had a few problems. First, if not inserted correctly, it leaked a little, meaning I had to wear pantiliners on heavy days. No longer a Green option. Until I discovered cloth pads. I love these. I don't wear just pads. So I never have to deal with any bulkiness. I love cloth pads because they're washable, and they are a little secret. I can wear butterflies or goth themed pads and no one will ever know. And I can wash my own.
Claire de Lune Cloth Menstrual Wetbag and Set of 4 Maxis, clairedelune
The other issue I had with Instead is that it IS disposable. When on a deployment, you can't always get mail in a timely manner. Sometimes no at all for a while. What if you run out?? That's where the Diva / Mooncup come in. They were an easy transition from Instead, only now I can keep the cup! No waste, no storage issues (our storage area is tiny) and no running out. If you're not comfortable with the softcups, theres another option, too. Sea Pearls are natural tampons made of Atlantic sea sponges, a reusable sustainable resource. They're comfortable and easy to use, and an affordable green option.
There are plenty of green products out there to make your cycle easier, more fun, or more secret. It's definitely not a taboo subject anymore. Look around and I'll bet you can find some great alternatives! (Like this Cramp Kit, which looks lovely!)
Natural Menstrual Cramp Relief Kit, JoyfulGirlNatural