I was raised in an Attachment Parenting household, but I had never really been involved in the all-natural lifestyle until I went to college in Northern California. There, my eyes were opened to an interest in composting, natural soaps and detergent and the Dirty Dozen. But I have to admit: the idea of cloth pads, which I learned about only once I started working with Mothering, still kind of made me say “ew.” I was one of those women (you know who you are!) who thought to herself, “That’s a cool idea – but it’s definitely not for me!”
After chatting with Tracy Puhl, the owner of GladRags, who I’m lucky enough to work with directly on Mothering, doing some research and feeling inexplicably drawn to the GladRags website, I decided to take the plunge. I ordered the Pad Sampler kit, pre-washed my pads, set up my soaking bucket under the sink and waited for my next cycle. I have to admit – I was actually excited for my period to arrive!
My first cycle with GladRags got off to a rocky start. I made the crucial beginner’s error of miscalculating how many inserts I needed in my day pads (here’s a tip: if you’re not sure if you should use one or two on that day, just use two!)
Other than that one mistake, using GladRags was incredibly easy, and the kit came with a black wet/dry bag that fits perfectly in my purse. After soaking (which is optional, as I found out thanks to a great conversation on Mothering with some of our members and Tracy and Shauna from GladRags, which you can see here) I just threw them in the washer in their mesh bag. I hung them up, just like I do with most of my laundry, and they were all set!
Much of the discomfort I’d associated with regular disposable pads was gone – cloth feels as soft as my underwear, and I finally don’t have to feel like I’m wearing a diaper! On some days, I still wear a tampon for my own comfort and for extra protection, and I love that using GladRags has been an easy transition for me, from my old habits and comforts to my new ones. My period even seems lighter and less uncomfortable now than it used to – and though I’m not sure if the biggest factor was GladRags themselves or my own personal shift in attitude toward my period now that I’m using cloth, it’s certainly a welcome change.
I quickly became accustomed to using my new cloth, and found that the claim I’d heard from many other women, which I’d previously found totally unbelievable, was actually true: using cloth pads actually made me feel positive about my period! It sounds cheesy, but is really is true. On a recent trip to visit my (less natural focused) family in Southern California, I even showed some of my (clean!) GladRags to some of my female relatives. They were skeptical at first, but as my Grandma, who’s in her eighties, started talking about the days of using old pieces of cloth and belts during her period – can you imagine! – it all kind of came full circle for me.
Using cloth is a step forward in sustainability to make the future a better place for my children to live in, but it’s also making my day-to-day better. If you’re still thinking — like I did! — “cloth pads sound interesting, but they’re not for me” I challenge you to dig deep and really consider why not. My own fears about convenience and cleanliness turned out to be completely unfounded. If you give cloth a chance, you may discover the period positivity I found!
- Jennifer Ockelmann
About Jennifer Ockelmann
Jennifer works with Huddler.com, Mothering’s Advertising Representative, where she acts as a liaison between Mothering.com and our sponsors. She was raised by an attachment parent and is passionate about showcasing sponsors who match the values of the community. Jennifer grew up in California, and she loves swing dancing, Spanish food and the beach. She can be reached at Jennifer@Mothering.com.