I don't remember the first time I got my period, funnily enough. Although I do vividly remember finding pads in my mother's bathroom when I was six or seven and demanding to know what they were. She replied that she would tell me in four or five years. Being both curious and highly impatient (traits that remain to this day) I wailed. How could I wait so long to know something? Yet, over time I forgot all about it.
And then, I was pulled aside for "the talk" around twelve. I had garnered much from television and reading but Mammy handed me a stack of books of varying complexity, gave me the run through and instigated an open-door policy. I think my experience of this was much less embarrassing and more easy-going than most. But, then, I've really never found it difficult to talk to my mother about most things. In fact, Mammy has acted as a source of information and guidance and support for my and my siblings' friends as well as us. The only awkward "talk" moment I've ever had was when Dad tried to make me give my little brother the low-down in lieu of him. Needless to say I refused to let him off the hook like that.
I knew what to expect, then. Unlike my mother and much of her generation - hell, even girls of my own generation that I've known and whose sex education was woeful by comparison - I didn't think I was dying when I first got my period. I knew what was happening. As I can't remember that first time, I don't remember my exact feelings but I know I've always scoffed at metaphors like "becoming a woman" or "gift". There's nothing poetic about it. I've always suffered bad back pains and cramps. Periods, for me, have always been hassle, embarrassment and inconvenience.
Two of my earliest and most vivid experiences of "being a woman" both pertain to utter embarrassment. In the first instance, I was surprised my its arrival, wearing white pants and at an all-day family outing far from stores. I spent the duration with a jumper tightly tied around my waist to hide the disaster, panicking internally that it would be noticed and wishing to be home. In the second, a backpack from a school trip was emptied by my brother and his friend onto our trampoline and I emerged from the house to see pads bouncing around the garden. I cried as I gathered them, still so unused to it all.
On another occasion, we were on a family holiday and my older cousin offered to bring us to a water park. As is often the case, my period had arrived the day we set off for the holiday. Unused to, and disliking, tampons, I had to turn down his invitation and said I would stay home with Mammy. In of itself, that was upsetting enough as I love water and swimming more than I could ever express. This wasn't the first time that I, the family "water baby", had uncharacteristically opted to not go swimming and my siblings began to annoy me endlessly about it. They said I'd become lazy as a teenager. It got to me. I got weepy. And, eventually, I shouted, "I'm menstruating!" Everyone looked shocked, the boys looked disgusted. I cried some more.
Oh, to be so wet behind the ears and upset by such things. Now, menstruating is merely an annoyance. Different things irritate me. The pain still isn't fun but it's how the hormones affect my skin that really pisses me off. The perfection resulting from rigorous and religious skincare is routinely destroyed by something I cannot really control each month. That still gets to me.
Other things, however, no longer bother me. I'm not embarrassed in the same ways. I don't blush buying pads in a supermarket and I'm not afraid to talk about it. Everybody poops and lots of women menstruate. It's merely a fact of life. Nothing more, nothing less.
It's still no picnic, which is where MyLadyBug comes in. They're an online monthly subscription box service which not only delivers the pad and tampon essentials of your choice to your door but also pops some treats into the box to help sweeten things just a little.
Not only are they an Irish start-up (which I always aim to back up) but I admire that they don't pussy-foot (if you'll excuse the rather crude pun) around. They say the word period. They don't make it seem like something wrapped up in rainbows, candyfloss and kittens. They acknowledge that it's a pain and want to make life easier for you. Because like with toilet paper, milk and bread, (and ketchup, in my case) there's nothing more annoying than running out of pads or tampons.
The process is really easy and tailored to your own needs. You begin by choosing if you want pads or tampons or both and then choose the brands (they stock Tampax, Always and Lil-Lets) and types of your liking. Then you input your address and details and they post it all out to you!
Subscriptions are dispatched monthly on the 19th-21st and you should allow up to 5 days for delivery. The re-billing period for your next delivery then takes place between the 31st and 1st after you receive your first box. You can opt in to pay month by month or pre-pay for three, six and twelve months with discount rates.
The packaging is designed to fit in most letter-boxes, however, mine happens to be a metal box affixed to a wall rather than in a door so it doesn't fit in - hopefully, there'll be housemates to sign for it in the future! For most people, though, this shouldn't be a problem. The packaging is also both cute and discrete. So, if you're someone who is still a wee bit shy about periods and such, your postperson is unlikely to know what they're delivering.
Inside, everything is neatly packed to fit into the slim box and alongside a note saying "hey", there's some sweets and tea. Sounds awesome, right? Just cute enough but not the irritating twee of tampon ads that make the whole thing seem like a fucking party. Comfort without being patronising.
I can't recommend this enough. And given the popularity of monthly subscription boxes and the monthly nature of menstruation, this is such a smart and tongue-in-cheek idea that I'm down.
If you wanna try it out for yourself, head to MyLadyBug and use my discount code, "CBLOG", at the checkout to get 15% off! (Edit: This discount code is only applicable to the monthly plan. Sorry if there was any confusion!)
(PS Good luck to Maryrose in this venture! I'm sure it'll be a serious success!)
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