Ever since the birth of my daughter, I have struggled to re-acclimate myself with products for my menstrual cycle. That was eight years ago.
Before my kid, I could use nearly anything down there. It did not matter the brand, what size, paper or plastic, tampons or pads – I was okay. It seemed like after childbirth, I was gifted with an entirely new vaginal canal that just simply did not approve of my product choices anymore.
Believe me when I tell you, I have been down the rabbit hole with different brands. In the last few years, news reports concerning the safety of certain menstrual products and brands greatly reduced my search. Even though in my early twenties I enjoyed the flexibility of wearing tampons, using them after childbirth seemed to increase my dryness.
More popular brands of pads caused a different level of irritation. I didn’t like how their scents interfered with my body chemistry and constant rubbing and chaffing bothered me throughout the day. Thankfully, I discovered more naturally branded products over the years.
Menstrual cups are okay. They are messy and insertion is uncomfortable. I don’t care how many times you fold it…stuffing a cup up your vag hurts. Fight me.
Luckily, I have never had painful cycles. I am a decent eater, so my average cycle lasts between four to five days in full (from drip to drop) and is a light flow after day three. When my diet is trash, my cycle is heavy for about four days and may last six days. This is a definite encouraging factor to eat better, work out, and drink more water when I’m slipping.
Because my cycle is fairly moderate, I decided to give free bleeding a try. Free bleeding is the practice of menstruating without blocking or collecting the period flow. Now, before y’all say I’m crazy, free bleeding has been said to reduce menstrual cramps and discomfort during your period. Plus, it is good for the environment. I will also add – I work from home, so for me, this is ideal. That being said, I am not advocating for anyone to walk around bleeding all over themselves.
I tried free bleeding. Here’s what happened…
My day one is normally really light. I see blood when I wipe and not much else outside of that. I rarely wear anything on day one whether I am free bleeding or not, so I guess this day doesn’t really count.
Okay, here is the other thing. I had a chemical peel a few days ago, so I am bound to the house right now outside of dropping off and picking my daughter up from the bus stop. So, if you are expecting any horror stories of how I dripped blood up and down the street, you won’t find them here. I kept my a– in the house. The entire time.
This is one of those months my diet has been complete trash because on Day Three, my moon is acting up like it is Day Two. Here’s a little info on my day to day activities:
The most uncomfortable time during my cycle is trying to sleep. I am a wild sleeper. One moment I am on my back, then my side, then face down in my pillows. The good part is though, at night is when you bleed the least. I took my evening shower and triple folded a large towel to sleep on top of.
I woke up in the morning scared to move. You know why. I could almost feel the rumbling of the blood making its way out of my cervix and down my vaginal canal. And guess what? You cannot trick your body into holding it in. My Kegels did not stand a chance. I tried to skip sitting up altogether. I tried to teleport to the toilet. To no avail. I grabbed my towel and wrapped it between my legs like a 30-year-old infant and hobbled to the bathroom. It looked like I tried to clean a murder scene. I just sat there, defeated, and rethought this entire thing. What the hell am I doing?
Day Four & Five
Surprise surprise. I didn’t quit my fight to free bleed. For the last few days, I have operated the same. I have destroyed about four good towels. I wear a dress. I sit on my towels. I stay off my bed unless it is to sleep and when I feel Aunt Flo rumbling to make an appearance, I high tail it to the bathroom to sit on the toilet. I believe it was Day Three at noon I sat on the toilet for an hour with my laptop and worked.
This would just so happen to be the month my period is trash.
I love how I started this article bragging about how graceful my cycle is and how on the month I decided to free bleed, I bled for six days straight. I count Day Seven only because I woke up and wiped pink. This mutha sucka lasted a long time.
I survived my week of free bleeding. I wish I had some deeply revolutionary statement to tell you here, but I don’t. But here is what I did gather: I did feel less discomfort this week from not wearing any pads, but that discomfort just reappeared in my constant fear of bleeding all over my apartment and my belongings. I dripped blood on the floor more times than I can count, but managed to not bleed on my bed or sofa because of my towels…which I now have to replace. All of them.
Am I a failure or was this experiment a failure? I’ll never know. I have decided to make a change in how I handle my cycle, though. I will wear pads most of the time. I enjoyed free bleeding when I wasn’t so heavy. I also enjoyed sleeping on the towel, so I think I will keep that around.
Don’t leave me hanging here. Have you tried free bleeding? What was your experience like?
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Shanicia Boswell of Black Moms Blog. Follow her journey on Instagram. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more from Shanicia here:
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