From insecure to comfortable
I thought I was done when I switched tampons for the menstrual cup 4 years ago. Tampons were my biggest concern at the time, they are irritating and brought many trust issues upon me despise using them since I first got my period. However, once I got rid of such discomfort and through that time of adjustment, I discovered how irritating pads were - that product that you believe will save you in an emergency (and it might!) was the same one working against me.
Pads and its disadvantages accompanied me wherever I went and made me feel like I was wearing a diaper. Neither did I have the option to switch to thinner pads or pads without wings due to having a heavy flow. Which other option did I have? How can someone with an active lifestyle put aside such an essential product as pads are?
Where did washable pads go? Before diving into researching on already existing alternatives, I spent a few weeks asking people who menstruate in my social circles what kind of menstrual products they used. Most of them didn't even know about the cup (although they do use it now!), much less about pad alternatives. Although I did get some responses from older people in the family: they used to use washable pads made of gauzes, thin towels and cellulose rolls. There were some issues around these materials as they couldn't be washed in the washing machine (or families wouldn't have one), which meant you would have to spend more time to handwash them. In the aftermath of these testimonies, I did also believe there was no textile technology at the moment that would allow me to wash clothes pads in the washing machine and would provide the very much needed security of a regular pad.
What is comfort? After fighting menstruation year after year, which I considered to be a challenge, I still don't know what comfort is exactly and comfort expectations change from person to person! However, washable pads allowed me redefine my expectations and how I felt about my body during the cycle. I don't have to worry about running out of pads or if I have a slip and have to run to the supermarket - which happened pretty often given that I'm busy with other tasks through the day.
The ultimate test that convinced me to make the switch to washable pads was trying them on while rollerblading, which would test whether there would be any leaking or move due to the constant movement. There was none of it. Contrary to disposable pads, I didn't feel like I was wearing a diaper and they didn't irritate me at all despise how intense the activity was. Since then, my only concern is owning few washable pads to change on a daily and a load of laundry mid-cycle with any other clothes to make the most out of them.