I actually can’t tell you the last time I purchased period products for myself – and I am a regular timer with a period every month. For at least the last five years I have forgone the use of any period products. What I started as an experiment ended up being a permanent decision that I based off real cause:
- I genuinely do not know how to insert a tampon. As a teenager, I failed the insertion and never bothered again.
- I don’t believe we should be taxed on period products.
- Switching to 100% organic pads for a few years was great, but as my periods became lighter, I was conscious of my unnecessary contribution to landfill.
- 3:10 adolescent girls in Australia are skipping school when they have their period as they do not have access to period products.
- In New Zealand, the Arden-led government has introduced to all schools, a free period product service to end period poverty.
- We live in a first world country whose government has no issue with the homeless going without period products.
I didn’t know the term ‘Free Bleeding’ existed, let alone know about the free bleeding movement. Now that I do know, I am really proud of, unbeknownst to me, being apart of a really important movement. If you’re interested to know how I do it, read on.
You’ve really got to know your cycle and bleeding patterns.
My cycles are regular and last a total of two days. They are incredibly light, and my bleeding pattern is mostly overnight. At night, I sleep with a towel underneath my sheet so it’s not biggie if I bleed through my sheet. A cold hand wash with baking soda and lemon juice solves this dilemma.
During the day I double up on my underwear. I keep a couple of spare pairs in my bag, and an outfit change if necessary. I’ve not been caught out for quite some time now that I am certain of my cycles. However several years ago on my first attempt, I cannot express the mortal embarrassment of being tapped on the shoulder by a politely spoken stranger in a busy food court to let me know I had bled through my cream coloured dress.
What about the odour?
Period blood can give off a really distinct odour. I’m pretty positive that all women can describe the odour, and would all describe it quite similar. As my bleeding is very light and I rarely have a daytime bleed, I am not concerned about the odour. Health, lifestyle, diet and hygiene are all factors of period patterns, pain, behaviour and odour.
Period blood is blood and blood is not sterile.
Correct. Period blood is sterile until it is passed onto a surface. Yes, I agree, this is unsanitary risk that you are exposing to others. This is why it is important to really know your bleeding patterns and to be well equipped with supplies to avoid surface contact. If you are considering free bleeding, I strongly suggest only doing this at home until you reach confidence level 1000 in your period knowledge.
Why are you calling it ‘period blood’ and not menstrual blood?
Because the average age of an Australian girl getting her first period is a lot younger than it was 20 years ago. The normal age group for girls starting their period is between 9 – 16. Typically, the starting age is 12, but it’s not uncommon for girls as young as 10 to start their first period. To normalise periods, we must first eliminate the stigma forever bound to the topic! A great example is Woolworths rebranding its feminine hygiene section to “period care” in a national effort to beat the stigma surrounding periods.
Yeah… I’m not keen on free bleeding, but would like to reduce my product waste. What other options are there?
Free bleeding is a big move and it takes practice and confidence to get it right. If you want to minimise your environmental waste, look into purchasing a period cup or period underwear. Period underwear are really taking off and look to be the next big thing in environmentally and biologically safe period solutions.
Have you ever tried free bleeding? We’d love to know your thoughts! Add your comments to our instagram @sunnybank_obgyn