If you use tampons, or sanitary pads, then every month you send a whole heap of stuff to landfill or into the water system. Taken over the fertile years of a woman’s life, that’s a lot of throwing away.
Adverts for sanitary wear are all about being able to carry on as normal (even is most of us don’t habitually skate around in white trousers). It’s about being clean and nice, so that no one will know. Pads are absorbent, keeping all that icky mess away from your skin. Demonstrations of absorbency don’t show anything that resembles blood. Last time I saw an advert, there was a nice, clean, clinical looking blue fluid.
Women bleed. It’s one of the things that sets us apart from men. It is a key thing defining the journey from girl to adult. A critical part of our fertility and sexuality. It ties us to the tides of the moon. It isn’t dirty, it shouldn’t have to be a terrible, embarrassing secret.
Last year I discovered I was allergic to the sanitary pads. They were making me sore. It sent me on a journey. I invested in a mooncup – a nifty bit of latex technology that allows you to choose where your blood goes. Collecting my own blood, I’ve put it on the land. It was a simple, non-ritual kind of thing to do, affirming my connection with the soil, giving back what had come from me. I recommend it as a thing to explore.
I also used my son’s old nappies, cutting them down to size, folding and stitching to make fabric pads that could be used and washed. It’s the kind of thing our grandmothers did, in the ‘dark ages’ before tampons and pads with wings.
And you know, it works. I’ve had the odd leak, but I’ve had leaks with pads too, they aren’t perfect. No more soreness. I save a little money each month not buying the pads. I put less into the bin, which is green. I feel a lot better for it. There’s a sense of cleanness that comes, not from being blood free, but from having a better relationship both with my body, and the planet.
Bleed red. Bleed green. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.