I’ll never forget the day I got my first period. I was eleven years old and it was the first week of grade seven. I was attending a new school, just getting to know my classmates and so far, only had one good friend who I had met during summer registration: Charlotte (who is still one of my dearest friends). I was sitting in my morning French class, one that happened to be without her, when I started to feel a slight pain in my lower abdomen. It was a new pain, not a normal sting associated with a bowel movement or a full bladder. This one was sharp and just two minutes of it was enough to shoot my right arm up in the air and blurt out, “est-ce-que je peux aller aux toilette”? My French teacher nodded his head. I jumped out of my seat and darted down the hall to the girls washroom. I pushed the door open and locked myself inside the middle stall. Terrified at what I might find, I slowly unbuckled my belt, looked up at the ceiling and began to inch my pants down. I took a deep breath in and looked down. There it was. In my new, Fruit of the Loom white undies: a tiny, red stain. I gasped. Do note I was quite the drama queen at eleven. I found rare moments like these to be great for acting like my thrilling, teenage life was a major motion picture (ha!). Unsure of what to do whatsoever, I began to think up something innovative to eliminate soiled undies until I could locate Charlotte and ask for help. My solution: a stack of folded toilet paper layered in the crotch of my underwear. This took a few hours to get used to, as I walked the hallway trying to avoid walking with my legs awkwardly far apart. When I caught up with Charlotte at lunch, she gave me a massive hug and went on about how happy and excited she was for me, as if getting your period made you the woman you would be when you turned 50 (ha again!). The thought of all this now at 25 years old is so comical, it makes me wish I could have stayed that innocent and naive.
After school, Charlotte and I walked to my house to ask my mom for advice. Charlotte had offered me a applicator-less tampon but I was terrified at the thought of putting anything in a hole I didn’t even know how to find yet. As we walked in the door, my mother looked up and smiled. “Hi girls!” I threw my bag across the floor, ran into her arms and said “mom! I got my period!” and I began to cry a little. I was just suddenly so emotional and feeling so strange that tears seemed to form as an instant result (I would later find out this crying thing would most likely happen on a monthly basis as well). My mother teared up as a reaction and said all those ridiculous things moms say like: “you’re a woman now!” and “oh my goodness, my baby is all grown up!”. She then walked me to the bathroom to help me place a sanitary pad in my underwear. The following month, my cousin and Charlotte somehow convinced me I should try a tampon. All I remember is me in the bathroom shouting to them on the other side of the door, “what hole?!”
Flash forward almost 15 years later to my menstrual cup and I. We're good pals and travel the world together without leaving a single trace of a sanitary product to clog toilets, landfills and sewage systems. I couldn't be more happy with my cup and love to share how beneficial it can be for women of all ages, but not all women are as comfortable with a product that takes a very intimate moment to position, leaving them not many options for being environmentally or budget friendly during such a natural, women's health affair. That being said, my cup and I are definitely a dynamo team, but there are times when I need a little extra support from her that she isn’t able to provide me. Like that time she didn’t quite suction properly and ruined my favorite undies, or when Lady Flow arrived while I was at work without her. This is where Modibodi comes in and saves the day for my awkward cup situations, and for those looking for an alternative to disposable products. My Modibodi, leakproof, sustainable undies are my Wonder Woman and have become a go-to during Diva Week to assist with any leakage and post-period unmentionables. They also act as great undies for participation in sweaty activities, discharge, weak bladders and other women's health matters. When I found them, I was thrilled to learn that they don’t just come in small, medium and large, but they come in collections like Curvy, Active, and Maternity, AND can be used to completely replace a sanitary product or cup, holding the same amount of liquid as 2 - 4 tampons!
Modibodi comes from Australia from the incredible Kristy Chong. The brand is committed to sustainable fibres such as organic bamboo and Smart Merino, making them extremely durable, breathable and flexible for all shapes, sizes and women’s health needs. The brand is passionate about women’s health and empowerment, and operates a generous Give a Pair Program where you can donate a pair to a woman or girl in need in Australia, who does not have access to sanitary products. Currently they are working with organizations such as The Sustainable Period Project, an organization focused on women’s health education and resources in secondary schools across Australia, and Days for Girls, an organization shifting the disposable sanitary product community to reusable, feminine hygiene products.
The average woman uses roughly 11,000 tampons in her lifetime. I believe in a future where women’s health and conscious consumption go hand in hand. To get there, we need to be open to learning, communicating, and being fearless in sharing resources and education with both women and men.
Next Diva Week, integrate a pair of Modibodi’s and see how easily you can decrease your environmental footprint just by making a simple switch that’ll only affect you 12 weeks a year.
Be fearless ladies and remember, women's health matters are normal, real and we're here to support each other.