Somewhere along your timeline a wise woman in your life presented you with product options for your period or what I like to refer to as your ‘moon-time’. Maybe it was your mom, older sister, best friend, or perhaps it was your school nurse who held up, in one hand, a ‘sanitary pad’ and in the other, a tampon.
Mainstream western culture does not have a traditional rite-of-passage for becoming a woman. Often it is the introduction of feminine products that becomes our ‘badge of honor’ as we experience our coming of age. We might have started to carry a purse, fill it with disposable tampons or pads, and accept this into our lives as the social norm. What most of us did not learn at this time of great change is that there is a better way to connect with our bodies, the earth, and our cycles. Simply choosing one toxic product over the next in order to discard our menstrual blood doesn’t quite address the depth of a woman’s menstruation experience.
I am passionate about two things; Love for the Earth and Love for the Feminine. In the Goddess Guide to Greening Your Period I will present you with interesting facts and progressive Earth-friendly options that will help you to navigate your own moon-time decisions so that you can make choices in alignment with your unique lifestyle.
1. Ditch the Toxic Disposables
Conventional pads and tampons are toxic. They are toxic for your body and they are toxic to the Earth. Did you know that the standard tampon/pad contains dioxin (a known carcinogen), pesticides, rayon (synthetic fiber), surfactants, adhesives, additives, polyethylene plastic, and harmful fragrance? The cosmetic industry has the ability to hide any ingredient that they do not want to disclose behind the word ‘fragrance’. Fragrance is a big red flag and often means endocrine disrupting compounds that can stress the liver and reproductive system. Did you know that inserting all of these chemicals into your womanhood means that you are absorbing them into your body through the most absorbent surface area that you have? The long-term use of toxic feminine products poses serious health and fertility risks.
Ditching these products because they are toxic makes a lot of sense for your health. Ditching these products because they are disposable makes a lot of sense for the health of the planet. I quote the following from divacup.com.
“If the average woman menstruates for 40 years and uses approximately 20 tampons per cycle (240 tampons a year) how many will she use during her entire menstrual lifespan? Answer: 9,600."
What would be the effect on our planet if every woman made the choice to use and dispose of 9,600 tampons in her lifetime? What if the waste you created in your lifetime stayed in your backyard? What would you do with the pile of 9,600 used tampons? Although it might feel easy to throw away one tampon or pad at a time, it is important to realize that they will not just disappear into the ether. Conventional pads and tampons are not biodegradable, meaning they will not break down into the Earth.
2. Invest in a sustainable product.
Before I tell you about my favorite moon-time products I would like to preface with some information about soil. Yes, soil, the surface layer of the Earth! Soil is incredible. From soil grows a vast amount of living organisms. The health of the soil determines the health and longevity of the environment. The practice of monocropping (the continuous planting of the same crop year after year on the same land), along with the unnecessary use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other chemicals is depleting the soil of vital minerals and nutrients. The soil that provides us with all life and an abundance of food, trees, medicinal herbs, mushrooms, and all the flora and fauna alike is in dire need of our respect, love, and nourishment. We need to reverse this depletion by planting, growing food and fruit trees, growing mushrooms and giving back to the soil in whatever way we know possible.
Back to moon-time stuff. Menstrual blood is rich in minerals and life-giving tissue. Women shed this layer of tissue monthly when a fertilized egg does not implant. Menstrual blood is the beginning of all life! Imagine all of the women on the planet standing next to their 9,600 used tampons. Now, envision instead, all of the women on the planet offering their menstrual blood to the Earth. If you are unfamiliar with menstruation ritual this might strike you as odd. Firstly, let me assure you the standard American culture is quite removed, unceremonious, and very disconnected from the Earth. Also, some still consider menstrual talk taboo. In Native American culture, women, during menstruation, left their daily responsibilities and went to the 'moon lodge' for their moon-time. Women had the opportunity to sit upon the earth and bleed, to experience states of heightened intuition and guidance, and to return to the tribe with important messages and knowing. Although most of us don't have the tribal lifestyle that allows us to leave and rest directly upon the Earth there are many ways to be conscious about our body and its natural process. Let me provide my own personal experience with a few eco-friendly products that make menstrual blood offering simple and deeply satisfying.
Have you heard of the menstrual cup? Maybe you have heard the term ‘moon cup’ or ‘diva cup.’ Maybe the menstrual cup is a completely new concept to you. What are these mysterious menstrual cups and why would you want to know?
Introducing: The Diva Cup
These little beauties are an incredible product that will revolutionize your moon-time should you decide they are right for you. They are tiny cups made from high-quality silicon that are completely free of latex, plastic, PVC, phthalates, elastomer, polyethylene, artificial dye and color.
-Free of toxins (listed above)
-produces zero ‘waste’
-reusable & eco-friendly
-comfort & ease of use
-great for travel
-positive karmic impact
-connect You more deeply to your Self & the Earth
-holds up to 1 ounce/30 ml of fluid
-contours to the body
-saves you $$$
I love my diva cup! I tell everyone about it! (Well, not everyone). It holds up to 1 ounce or 30 ml of fluid at a time and can be worn up to 12 consecutive hours. To give you perspective on how much space that actually is, the average woman sheds between 1 and 2 ounces of fluid during her period. I love that I can easily see how much fluid I shed each day and easily see the consistency (a very important indication of reproductive health and fertility). The diva cup makes travel easy. It makes movement easy. I have never experienced even the slightest leak! It never feels dry, out of place, or like it will slide out! At lunapads.com you can find great packages that incorporate diva cups with cute cloth pad sets. Luna pads' website has great educational resources/videos, an awesome FAQ list, and of course a whole bunch of raving testimonials.
Introducing Cloth pads:
If the menstrual cup is not your thing but you still want to make a positive impact on the planet, cloth pads are awesome. There are so many available now. They come in great colors, all sizes and shapes, and are way more comfy than disposables. Most have little snaps that fasten to your underwear. Washing them is easy as ever and most don't stain like you would assume. Some women soak their pads then wash them with their regular laundry, some skip the soaking step and just wash, and other women hand wash their pads and use the menstrual water on the Earth. For travel ease you can purchase a little 'wet bag' that has two zippered pouches (one for your clean pads and one for your used pads). Many women report that seeing the unique and familiar prints during their moon-time helps to create a much more positive, uplifting experience for them. If you are satisfied by DIY projects you can easily find cloth pad patterns online, purchase the materials, and customize your own!
A little extra bonus at Lunapads.com are their leak-free underwear called lunapanties. Yes, they come in all shapes and sizes and are Goddess worthy. I found these super necessary during my postpartum experience when I was busy tending to my babe and not so busy worrying about myself. In retrospect, a week worth of these fantastic hip hugger, leak proof, underwear would have been a total goddess-send.
Here is a quick and organized list of some great sustainable products--->
There are so many benefits to ditching the disposables and jumping into the world of sustainability when it comes to your moon time. Your body will thank you in tremendous ways. After making whatever changes work for you, it is very likely that you will look at your body and the its miraculous monthly process from an entirely new perspective. Also, you can take a deep breath, a good look around, and know that one simple decision about your moon-time can help the Earth to remain in all her beauty.