Why I Stopped Using Tampons

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I remember seeing a popular tampon ad when I was a girl in Israel, which said: “With tampons – every day of the month is the same!” At the time I thought it was a great thing. Wow! I thought, imagine that!

This was when my Mom still didn’t allow me to use tampons, saying I was too young. This left me feeling small, even though I was “officially” a woman. Tampons seemed like a mysterious prize, reserved only for the elite grown girls, of whom I wasn’t a part. The tampon ad served to cement my mystification with this forbidden fruit that came to symbolize adulthood to me.

My Mom was afraid of my hymen breaking by a tampon. Her unspoken communication conveyed much more than this.Underneath her words, the message seemed to saythat once I was pierced by a man and lost my virginity, I would be free to insert a similar man-made contraption into myself. Of course she never said this, or even thought anything of the sort, but it occurs to me now that this is what lies behind it all: Penis-like, a tampon encapsulates clear societal messages that say: Plug yourself! Hide your flow! Become linear – let every day of the month be the same!

And for many years I did… I loved the convenience of being able to go swimming with a tampon. I liked that what I considered to be “A Mess” was under control. I easily forgot I was on my period, and surely I had all the days of the month be the same… Or were they?

Well, not exactly… Though I didn’t suffer any physical pain, I was irritable and moody a good few days of every month. I made no connection between this fact and my cycle, and I believed that “every day of the month was the same” because all the days looked the same on the outside… The story was very different on the inside, but I was so disconnected from my body that I had no clue about how out-of-synch I was.

The shift came when I decided to investigate. At some point feeling irritable and moody was no longer acceptable to me as the way things are. I came upon a health food store that sold menstrual cloth pads, and decided to give it a try, after reading a testimonial in which a woman declared she started happily anticipating her periods once she switched to cloth. I didn’t believe this was possible, but decided to check for myself.

My first experience of using a cloth pad was mind-altering. I actually felt my flow, consciously for the first time, and it felt good. I wasn’t “plugged” by a tampon anymore and the natural fluidity of my body felt authentic and real. Having to soak, rinse, and wring my cloth pads made me befriend my blood, rather than see it as “gross” (which our culture encourages us to do).

Above all, I reconnected to the essence of what our menstrual blood really is: the nutrient-filled inner lining of our womb, which would have nourished a baby through pregnancy had we conceived, and which is shed monthly when we don’t.

It’s been over two decades since I started this journey of self discovery, and it brought me far: I cherish and honor my flow monthly, and as a result am no longer irritable: I allow myself to consciously BE with each phase of my cycle. I found medicine in reclaiming my menstrual flow as a source of inner guidance and spiritual renewal in my life, and I have been teaching women all over the world to do the same…

His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke of women as being the source from where world transformation will come. It is my firm belief that such transformation is rooted in us starting, as individual women and as a global culture, to reclaim our cyclicity as the equal & rightful counterpart to linearity, and in living our cyclicity to its fullest, letting the flow of our creativity, life force, intuition, and inner guidance spring forth unplugged!

© DeAnna L’am , 2012 – All Rights Reserved

5 Responses

  1. bleh. yuk, no thanks. i do not particularly enjoy leaking at inconvienent times and places and having it run down my leg. theres nothing romantic about it.

    1. Dear web Reader,
      I respect your choice to use tampons, or any other product.
      I would like to bring the question of why something so natural is “Bleh” and “Yuk”?
      There may not be anything romantic about it. But there is life giving sustenance in it.
      I doubt that anyone would call the inner lining of a pregnant woman’s belly “Yuk”. Why, then, is the same substance gross as soon as it leaves our body?
      This post is an attempt to point out that we, as women and as a culture, grew up being fed a huge amount of negativity about our body and our blood. It is time we question it, and decide for ourselves!
      If we still feel it is “yuk” – so be it, but let it come from an informed inner exploration :-)

  2. Dear DeAnna,
    thank you for your passion and for sharing your experience and wisdom!
    Well, during these last months I found out that I can`t stand tampons anymore. My body doesn`t tolerate them any longer. I get pain when being “plugged”. I need to feel the flow to be able to flow myself!
    I experimented with mooncups and with cloth pads. Mooncups are working beautifully from the 2nd day on. But on the 1st day it has to be the cloth pad to really get the flow started.
    I am so grateful for your book where I first have been reading about alternatives which seem very healthy to me. Thank you!
    love, Ulrike

  3. Hi Web Reader – I used to feel similarly, until I discovered that what was “yuk” for me were the painful symptoms. I no longer confuse the process of having my period with the symptoms. After quitting sugar, flour, soy (which creates estrogen), caffeine, and alcohol, my physical symptoms are almost completely gone. Just some tiredness the first day. No more headaches, backaches, upset stomach, cravings, bloating, exhaustion, or cramps. (Stopping tampons also helped with stomach problems and cramps.) Now I just sit back and relax, and watch my body do what it needs to do. I love that it washes away all the accumulated negativity, stress, and sadness I may have accumulated over the past month. It’s a release. Any pain associated it with it, I believe, is the body trying to accommodate the choices we made that were not the most healthful. Once you make your body your ally, it starts to work in your favor. Get it on your side and tell it you love it.

  4. I enjoyed reading your story. About a year ago I made the switch to using a mooncup which has lead me to actually look forward to having my moons. Not only does having my moons mark a celebration that I have conceived no more children (I already have enough) but when emptying my cup into the garden, it gives me a moment to reflect that I am a part of this big world filled with nature and on some small level I can give something back to nurture it. On a personal level I enjoy to remain mostly mess free (I don’t have hot water or a shower at my house so it’s a lot easier on a hygiene level like this for me) but I no longer have many of the typical symptoms I used to….the bloating…the cramping….the disconnectedness to the process which created a stressful grumpy person who focused on the unimportant things. I now take a moment to reflect over the last months ups and downs and let it flooooooooow away. I highly recommend getting in touch with your amazing femininity in all its glory.
    Thank you for this space to share my feelings!!!

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