Four weeks later, I’ve finally figured out what I should have given up for Lent. And I never would have believed I’d be writing an entire post on this subject, but here we are.
I was talking to a friend last night, who mentioned that she can’t wear red or pink underwear, due to too many instances of having glanced down and thought she was spotting. (Oh, the things we “see” when we’re obsessed with our lady parts.) And I, being equally obsessed with my lady parts, told her that was perfectly understandable, but that I don’t have that problem with my red and pink underwear, because since my pregnancy and miscarriage, I have not gone one day without wearing panty liners.*
“Really?” my friend asked. “You always wear one?”
Then I realized that maybe this is weird. I mean, I already knew that wearing panty liners isn’t exactly sexy. I already knew that, despite the benefits of wearing them during/before/after one’s period, they don’t have to be an everyday accessory.
And that’s what I used to do, before I got pregnant – only wear them on days when I actually needed to. Then I got pregnant, and I was spotting constantly. Then I miscarried, and I wasn’t allowed to wear tampons for two weeks afterward, but still had random bouts of bleeding/spotting. Then I got the IUD, and was told to expect to be spotting pretty regularly for at least the first month or three – and even after that, had occasional spotting, I think, in lieu of actual periods.
So I have literally been wearing panty liners, daily, for the past 32 months. Do you know how much trash that means I’ve created? How much money I’ve spent?
It has to stop. I mean, it cannot continue.
I’m no longer pregnant or miscarrying or incubating an IUD. The daily panty liner thing, at this point, is wasteful and stupid, and just out of habit. The worst-case scenario is that I get my period unexpectedly and lose a pair of underwear because of it. And I have some cute underwear, but they can be replaced, and I’ll get over it.
In fact, I bought some of that cute underwear just a few weeks ago, when another friend and I went shopping specifically to update our knicker collections. At the time, I’d expressed my concern to her that some of the pairs I’d selected had lace running all the way around the leg-holes, including across the crotch. (Another word I don’t like.) My friend told me she’d worn similar styles and found them comfortable, so I decided to give them a try on her recommendation.
This afternoon, she asked me how I was liking those lacy bikinis I’d been so concerned about.
“I’m actually wearing one right now,” I said. Then I said something asinine, like, “They’re okay, except that my panty liner hangs over the edge of the lace and is sticking to the inside of my leg. But I’ll get used to it.”
My friend looked at me like I was crazy, and then I knew: she doesn’t wear this style of underwear with panty liners. Because she doesn’t wear panty liners every day. Because only crazy women who are obsessed with what might someday come out of their lady parts do that. Just another little way my miscarriage permanently affected me – and I wasn’t even really aware of it until now.
I immediately walked into the bathroom, removed my mini pad, and did not replace it. I am sitting here now, having showered and put on a different, less lacy, pair of underwear, still not wearing one.
From now on, I will be wearing panty liners only as needed. I am quitting cold-turkey, giving them up for Lent, and forever after.
*I usually call them “mini pads.” I hate the word “panty liner” because I hate the word “panties.” The British “knickers” sounds so much better – how is it we haven’t stolen this word from them yet?!