In recent years, my period has metamorphosed from a mildly annoying monthly recurrence to a full-on biblical flood. This can probably be chalked up to two factors: having kids and a copper IUD, the most common side effect of which is heavy, heavy periods.
Recently, I discovered, to my horror, that I’d run out of the maxi pads I’ve been teaming with my super-plus tampons. I was mere seconds from belting a pillow between my thighs when I gleefully realized that some adult diapers had been stashed in a bathroom cabinet, leftover from my postpartum healing. This is how bloody I am: Adult diapers thrill me.
Every cool person who gets their period has been talking my ear off about Thinx lately, the period underwear company that’s been “disrupting” the feminine care space since 2014. I’ve been super intrigued by the idea that I could just bleed freely (there’s a term for this: free-bleeding!) into my underwear and worry about tampons no more.
So I emailed the marketing contact at Thinx and explained my predicament—including the fact that my menstruation is reminiscent of nothing so much as that one scene in Carrie. I received an intriguingly confident response less than an hour later, offering to send me a sample pair for review; clearly, these folks think their product is up to snuff.
Like a close girlfriend whose cycle inevitably syncs with your own, my black “Hi-Waist” Thinx arrived at sunset the day my period began. It claimed to hold two tampons’ worth of blood. The next day—my heaviest day—I chose to forgo the tampon entirely and free-bleed into my new pair of truly sexy, mesh-paneled panties.
But as I mentioned before, I bleed a whole hell of a lot. If I’d been wiser and inserted a tampon at 8 a.m., then an hour later replaced it with a fresh one, would I have avoided realizing in horror that I’d bled unknowingly all over my stylist’s chair at 10 a.m.? I’ll never know. What I do know is that I ended up fashioning a maxi pad out of toilet paper by wrapping it around my underwear as I stood pantsless in a bathroom that was not my own, quietly running water over the crotch of my leggings and squeezing blood out in a sweaty panic, before emerging with what I prayed was a relaxed, breezy smile on my face.
So did my Thinx betray my trust, forcing me to spend the rest of my cycle using them as backup? Yes. But even this was game-changing.
Reader, the moment I discovered tampons at sleepaway camp 21 years ago, I thought maxi pads would be a thing of the past. I wanted to float them out on the camp’s lake and give them a proper Viking funeral. So you can imagine how disappointed I’ve been in the literal bloodbath I’ve been recently experiencing, which has put me right back on the bulky maxi pad train. I’m here to say that, fortunately, Thinx has rendered my pads unnecessary once again!
Yes, my flow is too abundant to free-bleed into a pair of Thinx alone, but I am thrilled to be sending 144 fewer maxi pads per year to a landfill. After my first-day misstep, my Thinx were washed each night, hung out to dry, and played Best Supporting Actress to my tampons for six straight days without a single rogue leak, smudge, or dewdrop of blood on my pants.
I wore them to exercise in a boot camp-style class that had me crawling under a partner’s downward dog in a plank position. I wore them while on the floor getting my children into their snow pants, socks, boots, coats, hats, scarves, and gloves. I wore them to make out with my husband—they’re honestly very sexy with just a t-shirt. I wore them while sitting on a white chair in a friend’s apartment while drinking a glass of red wine that—plot twist!—I ended up spilling.
In summary, I’m a believer—and I’m buying a full week’s worth.
Ariel Rivera is a freelance writer and reformed Fashion Person living and raising three kids in Brooklyn. She documents it frequently and enthusiastically on Instagram.