How my trip to Canada made me a believer in sea pearls

Well, my adventures with sea sponges continue!

I had to go to Canada for about four days for my grandfather’s burial. We were going to be in Inverness, a beautiful little beach town on Cape Breton Island. But then I realized …. that my dear Aunt Flow was going to be coming along for the ride. Oh. Joy. (In fact, she decided to join me en route to Canada – on the airplane to be precise, but that’s another story)

I was staying in what I affectionately refer to as “the frat house.” Myself, and nine other adults. And at least one of those people was another woman who was having her cycle. With one bathroom.

I had brought my sea pearls for the beach, and some pads. And I saw that this house had one (ONE!) bathroom and I thought, my goodness, I’ll never be able to use these while I’m here. And I don’t have enough pads.

Boy, was I ever wrong. Somehow, all over this tiny, tiny island, I had no problem using the sponges. Public restrooms often had just one actual bathroom, so rinsing out in the sink was no problem. Just like home. It was great. And I mean, really great!! Especially in the frat house. Where the trash was always full, and you didn’t exactly want to throw your used pads in there on top of it.

So trust me, ladies: if I can survive using the sponges in a foreign land, anyone can do it!


August 11, 2010. Mama Cloth, menstruation alternatives, Posted by Rose. 1 comment.

More mama cloth

If you are like me, you saw the Diva Cup or the aforementioned Sea Pearls, and after you picked your jaw off the ground, immediately laughed at the crazy hippies using reuseable menstrual supplies in their communes and tents. I am here today to proudly lift my head and say I not only came around to the idea, but still feel like an idiot for NOT using them for many years past, and have nothing but 110% confidence that you will feel the same way if you decide to try them.
Here are the things I realized and researched about tampons:

-They are expensive! One pack of generic tampons is around $6.00, I always had to buy pads anyway for backup, so a year I was throwing away, literally, over $80.00 on supplies.

-They are painful. You have two choices when Aunt Flo is coming, use a tampon or pad early, and waste money tossing them unused while you wait, or be caught without them in a messy situation. Also, you know how removing an unused tampon feels, it truly is damaging to your vaginal walls to drag out absorbent cotton that is clinging to your internal skin. You know that burning feeling and pain after you remove it? Not good for the insides.

-Toward the end of your cycle, tampons are painful to use again! Even the “light” ones hurt like the dickens getting them out, so you either put up with the pain, or use bulky pads to finish your cycle, and I always found lightly used pads “stuck” to me, and hurt to remove their adhesion to my skin.

-The mess. Now, I realize you can wrap it in toilet paper a million times (wasting toilet paper that costs money and makes more waste), and toss it, but now you have to remember to take your rarely-used bathroom trash can out every day or we all know how that makes the bathroom smell when you go in.

-Remember being a teenager and your mom telling you about “TSS”? It still happens, and is very serious. Reuseable menstrual solutions have virtually no tisk of TSS, they are not devices that promote the growth of bacteria, and put your health at risk.

-There are countless other reasons related to health, between them chemicals in tampons, how your body treats a foreign object in your vagina, etc….
Here are the devices we sell, why I love them, and why you should consider giving them a try.

The Diva Cup:
A medical grade silicon collection device, it sits in your vagina just under your cervix. Your empty it 2-3 times a day (really, it won’t overflow). If you are in your home, wash it out with soap and water in your bathroom sink before reinserting, if you are in a public restroom, wipe it out with toilet paper, and wash it when you get home. When inserted properly, you should not feel it. IF you have an IUD or prolapse, this may not be the device for you, it just depends on how low your cervix is and where your IUD falls, it may not be comfortable, but we do have customers who can wear it successfully with their IUDs. The Diva cups lasts upwards of 10 years! FOr $32.50, that is $.27 cents a month. I have had mine now for about 4 years, please don’t be embarrassed to e-mail me with questions on how to use it or insert it comfortably. For the first time, I always recommend a little lubricant and inserting it while it in the shower, you will be relaxed and the KY Jelly will help guide it in until you get the hang of it. You can sleep with it, swim with it, play sports with it.

Sea Pearls:
My latest love for these reuseable tampons came after I had my third baby. My second birth was traumatic to my nether-regions, thanks to a forceps delivery on a very stubborn Camille after 4 days of labor. I could still use the Diva, it took a little more effort and tweaking to get it in comfortably (which is why i say to e-mail me, I have lots of tricks for the Diva). After Lucy was born, despite her being a very easy birth with minimal damage, it required even more effort with the Diva, and I looked for something else. I stumbled upon Sea Pearls, which are 100% natural real sea sponges, one little sponge lasts for 2-4 cycles, so for a pack of 2 sponges, you can use them for 4-8 cycles. Even few hours, when you use the restroom, remove it, rinse it out with soap and water and reinsert. It sits very comfortably in your vagina, you don’t have to worry about positioning it or any leaking. For mamas with little or no vaginal tone, or damage from a vaginal birth, these are really fantastic. You can sleep with it, swim with it, play sports with it.

Lastly, we have our Many Moons menstrual pads. These were one of the original products when we opened our store almost 5 years ago, and I still love them after seeing many other brands come out. They are pocket pads, you have a shell with waterproof backing, and liners you can insert to customize your absorbency. I use them as a backup for the Diva, you can use them solo, and still have the proper absorbency for a very heavy flow.

Really, just think about it, and see if you are open to the idea. If you are unhappy with your current menstrual products, give one of the above products a try. I am very thrilled to offer my daughters something other than a box of tampons to cart around at high school when the time comes. I don’t dread that time of the month as *much* (I mean, who really looks forward to it?), but you can make yourself a bit more comfortable, save $$, help the environment and keep chemicals away from your reproductive system all at the same time.

Let me know if you have any questions! If you have specific health or bith control issues, I may refer you to the staff at Diva or Jade&Pearl if I cannot help, I want you to have 100% confidence in what you buy for your circumstances.

August 10, 2010. Mama Cloth, menstruation alternatives. 3 comments.

Almost Granola

We’ve already spoken about how dealing with Stephanie has lead me on the path to a more natural life. Well, gentlemen out there, you may want to step aside for this series (and by may, I mean, please do, because I’m a lady and I don’t wish to discuss my *ahem* womanly bits with you!).

I’ve always been a girl who used sanitary napkins. My mother terrified me with tales of toxic shock syndrome, and when my teenage rebellion over rode those fears, I found tampons immensely uncomfortable. I had plenty of friends who felt the same and plenty of self confidence, so I used pads for the next…oh…15 years with little regret.

And then Stephanie posted this article. I wasn’t too interested: except for this fact. She posted this article in the summertime. When I have four small children who want to go to the pool. And “mommy can’t go in the water right now” wasn’t really cutting it anymore.

So I order some sea sponges. The day they arrived I eagerly tried them. So weird! Yet so great! I immediately fired off an e-mail to Stephanie:

Soooooo for this sponge (which oh my gosh, I think I’m in love already) are you really not supposed to feel it AT ALL??? Or can you kinda sorta notice it?

Steph replied:

You can feel it when it is too low. Push it farther up, I promise it can’t get lost~

Not really buying this hype, but never knowing Stephanie to be a liar, I obediently followed her advice and shoved that thing up as far as it could possibly go. Bingo. Totally comfortable. You literally CANNOT FEEL IT AT ALL.

That’s day one. Wore the sponge for about six hours. I decided not to sleep with it in, since my cycle is still (for lack of better phrasing) completely wack after having baby #4. It’s hard to tell how light or heavy my cycle will be, so I slept with a pad instead.

And now, for adventure part two: will I ever get the hang of taking the dang thing out? Stay tuned.

June 24, 2010. Tags: , . Mama Cloth, menstruation alternatives, Posted by Rose. 1 comment.

Men folk may not be interested…

For Diaper Chatter this week, we are starting with our chapters on menstrual alternatives. Today we are talking about Sea Sponges:

Next week we chat about the Diva Cup, which was my first device after the use of many years of tampons. Sea Sponges have become my preferred method since the birth of my second daughter. I can still use the Diva, but here is why I like the sponges better:
-They are very easy to use. No adjusting to get it in the right spot, if you push them in as high as you can, you get a perfect fit every time. They are soft, absorbent, and conform to your body. There is no suction keeping them in place, so there is no seeping around the sides that can occur. Like any of these devices, use a backup pantyliner when trying them out and at nighttime to collect any overflow.

No risk of TSS, no dioxins to carry any harmful after effects, no bleached paper products that dry out your vagina.
For those who use tampons exclusively, how nice would it be to:

-Be able to insert something early so you don’t have to worry about the “when” of your cycle catching you off guard in the mall with 2 kids in tow? Especially for that first post partum period that you never see coming? Now, picture being able to have that protection with out the horrid dry feeling of pulling out a dry tampon to change it when your cycle starts not on cue. That scratchy, skin-pulling feeling that stings after that tampon is removed, knowing you have pulled on your internal skin to get it out.
-Not have to worry about finding a trash can to dispose of tampons in. Especially at friends or family’s houses, when you don’t know when they will take out their bathroom trash, and you leave behind embarrassing odors. Or, in your own house not having to worry about taking out the empty trashcan just to throw away one tampon?
-Saving $$ over disposable products
-Protecting your health, and mother earth with the lack of more disposable products.
-Having to leave in that last tampon and pulling it off barely used, encountering the same pain and discomfort as the first tampon of the cycle.
-That great feeling of having a huge bulging tampon in on your heaviest day
-Many women confirm their cramps are LESSENED by sea sponges, when you have a non-drying device in place, your body isn’t working so hard to discharge it, This isn’t the case for all women, but isn’t it worth a try?

Sponges, I have found, are cleaner than tampons. I could never use tampons with completely “clean” hands 100% of the time, since you wash your hands anyway after using a tampon, wash your sponge with them!
In public, carry a water bottle in your purse with you, rinse them out as best you can, wash fully when you get home. Caught without a water bottle? Squeeze out as best you can, reinsert and clean later. I have a very heavy flow for the first 3 days, and I clean my sponges every 3 hours during the day with no problems, and use a panty liner at night to protect myself.
Really, for the price you have to give them a try. One sponge can be reused for 3-6 cycles, just wash thoroughly with hydrogen peroxide in between cycles. A 2 pack that comes with them lasts you for 6-12 cycles, They are worth a try, if you are open to giving them a shot, now is a great time 🙂

Email me with any questions, nothing is “TMI”, and I am very passionate about helping you find a safe and comfortable alternative to your cycle.
Have a beautiful weekend!

June 7, 2010. Tags: . Diaper Chatter, Mama Cloth, menstruation alternatives. 3 comments.