We all go through changes in our life, but rarely do we stop to think about how our body’s most intimate workings change. For menstruating folks, the changes we experience with our periods are sometimes rapid, sometimes gradual, but hardly ever consistent. If you are reading today as a non-menstruating individual, I bid you good day- as I’m sure you’re not needing to read my reflections. But if you are experiencing changes in your period related to gaining weight, having a baby, or perhaps facing health and physical ability issues- then I encourage you to read on.
There’s a bit of a hush-hush stigma around periods. We don’t like to talk about them, read about them, think about them even… but they’re always there. Every month Aunt Flo drops her baggage at your uterus’ front door and forces you to deal with her sparkling personality for what can feel like the longest few days ever, even when it’s not. And we deal with her the best we know how.
But maybe we’re stuck in a rut. Maybe we are serving up the same solutions month after month, not pausing to think about how things have changed and how we can change along with it.
my period, momsplained
Motherhood was definitely my period’s biggest change. Post-partum bleeding is a punch in the face that no one really prepares you for. It was the kind of drastic experience that forces you to take notice. You rush out and buy the biggest, bulkiest pads you can find hoping that it will be enough. It rarely is, and you sacrifice many of your maternity panties to the red sea. By the time my second was born, I had found the pure love that is cloth pads and the post-partum mess was infinitely easier. Even if you aren’t a regular cloth pad user, consider them for when baby is born. They’re a game changer.
Post-partum bleeding aside, motherhood changed my period in its own way as time went on. I found myself busy with baby/toddler and not paying attention to buying my pads or tampons. I constantly ran out and was unprepared. That hasn’t been an issue since switching to reusable cloth pads and menstrual cup, which is nice. I also found that cramping was much worse after pregnancy and I ended up with fibroids. That meant I was frequently needing to purchase menstrual pain relief tablets. Hot water bottle helped, and so did rest- but who had time to rest chasing a toddler?
My plus sized period
When I started gaining more substantial weight back in 2011, shortly after meeting my would-be husband (go figure), my period definitely began to change. Not so much in volume, or even duration, but the pads and tampons that I was using weren’t really that great anymore. Especially the pads.
I hadn’t yet gone green with my period, but I noticed my disposable pads would shift and bunch more than they did when my thighs were trimmer. I would rely on tampons more and more, which was causing me vaginal dryness. Sounds absurd, I know… dryness during your period? But it really happens. It was then that I started to really think about menstrual cups, but I was too chicken to try one.
Plus sized women might find themselves facing similar challenges regarding fit, and comfort, of their menstrual products. When Oko Creations sent me their cloth pad kit for the purposes of reviewing it during these sponsored blog posts, I was really excited to see their Long Pads. This was because, unlike any other long pad I’ve ever seen, theirs have two sets of wings and two sets of snaps. Intriguing, no? And let me tell you. The bunching and shifting problem is non-existent. It’s also very narrow, which worried me at first, but I’ve had no side leaking due to the very absorbent hemp lining.
Take a seat: my period on wheels
Really, the wheels aren’t the issue- it’s the constant sitting. Even if you can’t relate to my disability, which requires that I use a wheelchair full time, if you have any kind of office related job at all then you know that extended sitting and periods are not good bedfellows. It means that at some point, you are going to feel that dreaded butt-crack-leak starting to happen.
It’s not just you. And it’s not just plus sized women, or disabled women, it’s just about any menstruating individual with a booty that gets compressed for long hours. The blood can’t go downwards onto your pad when all of your business is smushed against an unforgiving seat, leaving the upward trek of your butt crack as the path of least resistance. Boy, this paragraph is honest. And maybe it’s too much information, but I for one find it freeing that someone is finally talking about this. Even if that someone is me and my keyboard at 1am.
So what’s a chairperson to do? My new favourite trick is to tuck a smaller cloth pad up the back of my pad to catch any migratory messes. Brilliant, no? Alternatively, I sometimes use extra long cloth pads, which are hard to find. I’d love to see Oko Creations make an extra long pad! They are especially handy for post-partum.
When I’m out an about, which when I’m in my wheelchair I tend to be, I love having a little clutch or small wetbag to carry my cloth pads. But Oko has given me one better with this handy little double pocket pouch! It’s lined to prevent leaking, not that their super absorbent pads would ever let a drop leak out, and is divided so you can carry a new pad and store a folded used one seperately. It fits beautifully inside my purse or bag.
I’m grateful to Oko Creations for sponsoring this post. I think it’s really wonderful that they’re opening up a dialogue about all our different experiences with our periods. If you get a chance, head over to their blog. And if you haven’t tried their incredible products yet- you can visit their shop or find a retailer near you.