While more people are becoming more open and comfortable to talk – and blog- about their period and periods in general (I’ve even done it myself in this post), there are still such massive issues surrounding menstruation.
As one of three daughters, I can’t imagine how much money my mum spent on sanitary products each month and it was always branded. All I can say is Thank You because as an adult, I can appreciate how expensive that must have been!
Many women and girls do not have access to feminine hygiene products to use when on their periods. – Dignity Period
We are currently in a time where the government is having to consider providing sanitary products to “poorer” pupils. We are hearing stories about students being unable to afford sanitary products. There is now a need to donate sanitary products to people who can’t afford them in the UK and worldwide. In some countries, it’s still so taboo that sanitary products don’t even exist or just aren’t being sold!
My personal belief is that sanitary products should be available for free in all secondary schools with female pupils but of course, where’s the real money in that?! So as adults, and the parents of these children, it’s our job to make sure their periods don’t feel like something they can’t afford to have because – they have no choice. It’s coming either way! I never heard my mum talk about the cost of sanitary products and I never want my children to feel any way about what their body needs.
Many girls are terrified by their first period. Because they lack information, many girls believe they are ill or dying when they first menstruate. Many are so afraid or embarrassed that they have ruined their clothing – often the only dresses or bedding sets that they have – that they do not share this fear and shame, and live with it alone.
So what are the options?
I won’t be talking about tampons in this post as they’re not something I would be recommending to an adolescent and not something I actually use myself because of the chemicals in them. But, here is a list of things that might help someone who’s struggling financially or looking for something more natural:
- Supermarket brand pads: Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys & Morrisons all sell their own brand sanitary towels for 70p-80p per pack which is a hell of a lot cheaper than some of the more known name brands. I can safely say Sainsburys haven’t failed me and a friend confirmed that Tesco have worked just as well for her. Please remember though that most disposable pads also have a lot of chemicals in them and probably aren’t the best option for you or your child.
- That brings me onto reusable pads! I never knew about these until last year when I figured if people are happily emptying cups of their blood (we will get onto this in a minute) then reusable pads must be a thing – and they are! There are so many companies providing reusable sanitary products including Earthwise Girls, Honour Your Flow, Plush Pants and plenty available on Amazon. They come in different sizes and for different flows. They’re not cheap with prices starting at about £20 for a set but they are pretty much a one off cost until you decide to invest in a new set. These are my go to and I will be buying and providing these for Mini Me 1 when the time comes as well.
- Menstrual cups: A “medical-grade silicone menstrual cup designed by women as the convenient, safe & eco-friendly alternative to tampons & pads”. A menstrual cup is again a one off cost which saves money in the long run as you reuse them each month. The most known brand is Mooncup and the price is about £20 also – I haven’t braved one yet but I know so many women who have made the conversion from disposable tampons and pads to a menstrual cup with no regrets.
- Sponges: A natural alternative to tampons. I bought one from Jam Sponge on the recommendation of a good friend. A menstrual sponge is a “natural, reusable sea sponge that you can use instead of disposables” and they should be unbleached. Jam Sponge is £14 for 2 which should cover you for around 2 years! They also come in 3 different sizes.
As women, as adults, as parents, as teachers, as men, as fathers, as people – we need to know how to respect our bodies, look after our children, remember the planet and help those who are in need. Hopefully, this post can take even one person that one step closer to doing all of those things!
So, what do you use? Would you consider changing sanitary products if you knew it was cheaper, safer, eco-friendly? Let me know in the comments!!