Finished Things Sunday: Menstrual Pads

If you happen to have a problem with the concept, facts and idea of menstruation that’s perfectly okay but this is not the post for you. I bid you a nice day.

If you read on, you’ve been warned. Don’t worry, this post doesn’t contain any depictions of blood and monthly gore, only a bit of talk about a thing that happens monthly to roughly 50% of this planet’s population but is still considered taboo and/or unclean by an absurd amount of people. This is not a feminist rant blog so I won’t go into further details of my opinion about this, except for this:

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Menstruating isn’t something to be ashamed of. Nothing about it is unclean or embarrassing. Don’t hate your body for this. If anything, your moon blood will make you stronger in the end.

My history with menstruation is an entirely positive one. When it first started – I must have been 12 or 13 at the time – I was about to climb over our garden fence to go on adventures in the wild behind the house with my cousin. I noticed that something was feeling kind of unusual, so I told him to wait, went back to the house, pulled down my pants just to see that there was blood, called my Mum at work, had her tell me where her pads were and went back to adventuring. No trauma. Nothing bad. And when my Mum came home she baked me a celebratory cake.

I think this is the probably best way a parent could go about this. Treating it as a fairly normal thing that their (probably XX-chromosomed) child is going through. It might be best to have “the talk” (or, in my case, the “have a book because you like reading better than talking anyway”) before, though. Anyway.

Of course I hurt each month, especially in the beginning. Of course it’s somewhat inconvenient sometimes. But I was never afraid of it nor did I hate it. If anything it made me feel empowered, as in I literally felt more active during these days because the first thing I learned about menstrual pain was that movement is one of the best ways to get rid of it. And if you can’t move, blackberry leaf infusions. Sorry I’m rambly. But ask my close circle of friends, I really talk a lot about the whole “menstruation is EVIL” society issue.

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And part of the issue is the massive amount of waste the “feminine hygiene” industry makes us produce (let alone the fact that it’s not covered by health care in any way and the whole TSS thing, but I promised myself to not make this an angry feminist rant, see above). I already switched to a moon cup (and sponges far earlier, the perks of having somewhat of a hippie Mum) but sometimes that doesn’t cut it (hello there, workout and rather active sleeping habits) or towards the end of the bleeding it’s just a bit of an overkill. And so I made my own reusable menstruation pads.

Wow, this whole wall of text for this one sentence? Eh, whatever. The fabrics are leftovers as almost always – these things are a great scrapbuster -, including purple-dyed brocade* sheets that are what was left after Scoundrel sewed his super-fancy LARP character’s new coat, and the towel that already featured in this FTS here. These are not the first ones I made, but the first try had only one pair of snap fasteners per pad which was not enough to get them decently fixed. So learn from my mistakes and rather put a pair of buttons too many in.

All in all I’m really happy with these. Our foremothers made do with fabric scraps and moss and I feel like I’m just following their way like this.

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Oh, and maintenance is really easy, too. I just rinse them (cold water, or else the blood will coagulate and be harder to wash out), put them somewhere to dry (where not everyone can see them because I know that especially my non-menstruating friends take some issue and I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable) and just throw them in with the wash once laundry day comes around. Perfect. And far more sustainable than the commercial alternative (and prettier, too!).

For those of you who menstruate: Do you use moon cups? Disposables? Self-sewn? Sponges? I still use disposable products when I’m on the road like LARP or at hostels but maybe some of you know how to eliminate this factor, too?

Sorry for the surprisingly long post, I hope you’re having a great weekend!

– – –

*sorry for the mix-up, it’s damask, not brocade. It feel luxourious anyway, though. ^^

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12 thoughts on “Finished Things Sunday: Menstrual Pads

  1. Purple brocade menstrual pads is an incredibly luxurious concept. Love it!

    I think menstrual cups are a fantastic invention! I love mine. However, for now reusable pads are not really an option for me. I don’t really have private bathroom space to put the used/rinsed ones up for drying and I’m afraid the non-menstruating part of this household wouldn’t be too happy if I put them up in the tiny bathroom.

  2. I love my menstrual cup. Very few things make me feel more smug than walking past the feminine care aisle of the store since I’ve had one (going on 12 years now). I used fabric pads in the past (I even sold them for a bit after college), but I found that I preferred the cup.

  3. They’re wonderful! I love the appliques on them.
    I used fabric ones for a little while, but I needed something more absorbent. I’ve never heard of sponges before, I’ll look them up!
    Sadly I think this will make you even angrier — here in Australia there is a sales tax but all essential items are excluded (fruit and vegetables, bread, soap, etc.) However, menstrual products aren’t excluded! No matter how much women protest or petition the government, they haven’t changed it in 10 years. It’s unbelievable!
    Sorry for the rant. It’s good to see you helping the environment and in such a luxurious way. xx

    1. I’ve heard about the problem before, I think they have it in the US, too. It’s horrible. I’m even upset that health insurance doesn’t cover this in Germany (BUT it covers viagra in some cases. WTF.). What should we do if we can’t afford menstrual products? Bleed all over everything? Stay in? Revive the age-old tradition of shutting menstruating people in a hut, only letting them out once they’re done?
      Anyway, I’m glad that I get such positive reactions from my little tribe here!

      1. Don’t even get me started on the different sales tax percentages in Germany… pet food has less tax on it than diapers etc…
        Also, glasses are not covered by insurance, that’s ridiculous. I need those to get around as much as other people need crutches.

  4. I love the applications! To be honest, I thought about sewing some reusable pads as I recently gave the cup a try. It was pretty awesome but also a bit messy as I’m only a beginner in cup-using.^^ Probably, it will get better soon. Still, I think I’d feel better with some additional thingy in my panties, so fabric pads might be the thing for me now.
    Did you use some specific pattern for your pads oder were they just drawn after some disposables?

    Sabrina

    1. I made a pattern myself by approximating the shape of disposables. Just make the wings long enough and use two pairs of buttons, that’s the trial-and-error thing I learned. Good luck, I’m so happy that more and more people are switching to sustainable alternatives!

  5. Those are super cute <3

    I think I've been using a mooncup for…two years now? But I never talked about it, because I feel like people will say it's disgusting -___-;; So I think you're really brave for posting this! Also, thanks a lot for the blackberry tea recommendation <3

    1. Thank you! I think menstruation is a taboo that shouldn’t be one – it’s such a perfectly normal thing. I’m glad that my little tribe here is open-minded enough to be okay with the topic, too.

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