Updated: Dec 28, 2022
[contains affiliate links]
I always thought I was a bit of an eco-warrior before I had my first child, I was strict about recycling, nothing was thrown out if it still had life and I had big composting plans once the garden was sorted. I was doing my bit, what more could I even do?
Then when I was pregnant, something sparked in me, all of a sudden I didn’t want to send 4,000 nappies to landfill for 500 years. I’ll just use cloth, it’s that simple. I’ll use cloth nappies, not wipes, no that’s a step too far, but nappies I can do. A little more research down the line and all of a sudden wipes didn’t seem so scary, I’ll use those too, then I’m doing enough.
What I didn’t realise at the time of making these decisions was that I was entering a whole new world, a world where I would learn exactly how much more I could be doing and just how easy it was. Suddenly I was speaking to people with greater knowledge and passion than me.
I had increased my echo chamber and was hearing all new sounds.
One day when I decided to pop into the new refill shop and see what it was all about, I was pulled into a conversation about Moon Cups and cloth sanitary protection (CSP) with one of the owners. I’d heard of the Moon Cup before but really felt it wasn’t for me, and the idea of pads, just no - “That’s a swap I’ll never make” I declared, the store owner politely responded “I bet you will when the time is right”, he was right.
Fast forward a few months and I’m hearing more in my new echo chamber, more about the benefits of reusable sanitary items, more about how not only are the disposable versions full of plastic, but also very drying and often the cause of other issues during your period. I was listening, maybe I could give it a try? I saw moon cups on special offer and went for it.
That next time of the month I gave it a go, but sadly we didn't get off to a flying start. It was easy enough to insert but it kept slipping down. A little more research and I realised that I had likely bought the wrong size (I managed to buy the one for under 30s, non-vaginal birth cup).
Aside from the slipping, I liked it. I had no more dryness, and no more uncomfortable removals of a tampon which was not quite full enough and it held so much more, so fewer changes. I decided to try the bigger size, but unfortunately, it was a similar situation for me... however since then, I have learnt the issue is more likely my extremely weak pelvic floor rather than the cup itself.
While I was trying the cups, a lot of my friend’s asked what I did with it out in public, and to be honest I didn’t have to do anything, for most people a cup will last around 8 hours, so there may be no need to change it. If you do find you need to empty it, it's simple, tip it down the toilet, give it a quick wipe with some toilet paper and pop it back in, just make sure you give it a good rinse when you get home.
The next step was Cloth Sanitary Pads. I was very lucky and won one on Instagram to give a go. In the beginning I was sceptical, it was so slim compared to the disposable pads I was used to wearing, surely that wouldn’t hold anything? I was wrong, the pads were lasting as long as three disposable pads used to last me. Initially, I figured I had just had a lighter flow, but I soon realised I had not, these pads were magic! Once again I found that month’s period to be a far more comfortable one, with less dryness and itching.
Lastly, I tried period pants, the main reason for waiting to try these was the price vs how many I would potentially need. Then one-day Cheeky Wipes had a sale and I went all in. Once again I was pleasantly surprised, I didn't find them the most comfortable fit, but then I have since been lucky enough to be gifted both WUKA and Modibodi pants to try and I learnt that you get what you pay for, slightly more expensive but they are more comfortable.
All in all, I am a convert and my only regret is not making the switch long ago. The other day it occurred to me that if I share this information, and keep my passion, my girls will pick this up and may never use a disposable tampon or pad in their lives! Just how wonderful is that?
If you're reading this and are like me, there is a swap people are encouraging you to make, but you're just not sure, keep an open mind. That’s not to say you definitely will one day, but perhaps, as it was for me, the timing isn’t quite right now, you don’t quite know enough about it, the product isn’t quite ready for you yet, but it may be, one day, and if you find it is, don’t be proud, give it a go - it may well improve your existing experience.