I started 'free bleeding' after giving birth, and I'm never going back to disposable period products

I started 'free bleeding' after giving birth, and I'm never going back to disposable period products
Crystal Cox/Business Insider
  • Having children made me more conscious of waste, and I wanted to be comfortable all the time.
  • I "free bled" after the birth of my first child and it was life-changing.
  • Closely tracking my period has allowed me to plan and prepare for my flow.

After having my first child, I was sent home with a pile of adult diapers and maxi pads to contain my postpartum bleeding. These products rubbed my freshly sewn skin from my C-section and, on top of the pain I was already in, made moving uncomfortable.

A quick Google search introduced me to the concept of "free bleeding." Since I was already leaking bodily fluids from top to bottom, I figured it'd be a good time to try it out. I remember laying in bed bottomless, letting my scar air out on top of a towel and finally feeling comfortable.

What is free bleeding?

Free bleeding involves having a period without collecting your flow. That means not wearing any tampons, menstrual cups, pads, or period underwear.
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I had ruled out tampons and menstrual cups long before having children. I don't know if it's my anatomy, but neither made me feel totally comfortable while inside my body, and that was even more evident after childbirth. Not seeing my flow also left me second-guessing whether it was time for a change.

Tracking my period closely has helped me a lot

My body doesn't get along with hormonal birth control, so for a long time, my contraception method has been a mix of condoms and tracking my cycle. I know a lot about it. It helps that I'm regular because I know what to expect and when. But having all this data has helped me with my free-bleeding journey.

I know that during my first and last days, I can live in black underwear and not stress about staining my clothes or going out in public. This also allows me to prepare for my heavy-flow days, which require more logistics in terms of what I wear. If I need to be out in public, I put on a pair of period undies.

While this is not considered absolute free bleeding for those who are die-hard, it still doesn't stop my flow like other period products do, and it gives me a certain barrier to avoid major stains. If I'm home, I try to go to the bathroom often to have the heavy blood collect in the toilet, sit on my legs instead of my butt to avoid leaving stains on furniture, and carry around a little towel just in case.
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Stains do happen

Despite being in my late 30s, I have stained my clothes, sheets, and towels regularly, even when wearing disposable period products. So I was used to stains. And thankfully, I have a laundry room inside my home, so I can wash my clothes ASAP to avoid long-term stains.

I also try to wear dark-colored clothing or clothes I don't care much about because sometimes blood stains don't come out of certain materials or light-colored fabrics. I'm not brave enough to wear white jeans while free bleeding.

As a mom of 3 kids who menstruates, I want to normalize having a period

Growing up, I was told regularly by my mom and sex-ed teachers that people who menstruate should hide their flow at all cost. This is terrible advice. Doing this is exhausting and stressful, and I wish someone had told me that it's normal to not want to hide menstruation.
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I want my three kids to grow up with more body autonomy and liberty than I did. So I have no problem talking to them about my blood-stained underwear when they see me change clothes. Normalizing bleeding is the least I can do for them.

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