(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Women’s issues when SHTF)
A. SHTF Survival: Women’s Health
13 Jan 2011, Ready Nutrition, by Tess Pennington
Pasted from: http://readynutrition.com/resources/shtf-survival-womens-health_13012011/
Typically, in a post SHTF situation, sanitation conditions are going to be at a minimum (at the very least). Therefore, a woman’s personal hygiene is essential to her health and should be considered a priority. When sanitary conditions are not up to par, there is an increase of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and diphtheria. Typically, women and children are the most affected by poor sanitation conditions. Taking proper precautions and stocking up on sanitary items will help eliminate most issues regarding poor sanitation.
Tampons to the Rescue!
Did you know that tampons and sanitary napkins can be used for medical care? Due to their high absorbent nature, both items make good wound care dressings. In fact, the U.S. Army Medics have been using both items in combat situations. Luckily, since pads and tampons are considered a paper item, they have an indefinite shelf life, thus making them a good prepping investment. Remember to store sanitary items in a dry spot away from direct sunlight, heat and humidity.
Getting caught without a pad or tampon while on your period is not way to survive (or even get by) in an emergency situation. A great way to be prepared for a disaster is to make a personalized woman’s sanitation kit that will fit your monthly needs. Some items you can include are:
- Midol or pain reliever
- Disposable pads or tampons
- Disposable towelettes or toilet paper
- Disinfectant gel
- Trash bag
- Instant and reusable heating pad
Personal Hygiene Makes a Difference
A basic understanding of proper sanitation for women are necessary to ensure that diseases and illness do not occur. Taking time to clean yourself daily will help reduce the growth of bacteria, infections and diseases.
- Cleansing – Using mild soap, completely clean the genital area. Clean the genital area every day, and more frequently during menstruation and after intercourse.
- Menstruation – Change any sanitation item at least every 2-4 hours. And keep the area clean. Remember to wash your hands frequently as well.
Disposal of Feminine Sanitation Items
It is important to properly dispose of sanitary napkins, as they contain bodily fluids that could pose a health hazard to others. Methods of disposal may differ according to where you are and what you have available. However, tampons and feminine napkins do not decompose quickly. Therefore, the best way to dispose of used feminine napkins tampons is to burn them. The fire must be very hot in order to thoroughly destroy the used items. Incinerate any pads or tampons, as well as any paper items used to clean yourself with (disposable towelettes, toilet paper, etc).
As many of us are already aware, feminine napkins and tampons are quite costly, and take up a lot of space in the storage closet. However, as convenient as they are to have around, there are some alternative and less costly ways to deal with our visitor.
Alternatives to Disposable Sanitary Items
Diva Cup – The diva cup is a sanitary and efficient way to go without the typical pad or tampon. In fact, according to the website, this product is made from top quality, health care grade silicone, which is 100% latex-free, plastic-free, BPA-free and odorless. Consequently, due to it’s non-absorbent nature, it does not disrupt one’s natural vaginal environment. This is also very cost efficient, as well. A women typically spends $150-$200 a year on sanitary needs. Making the diva cup’s $30 cost point a cost effective alternative.
Cloth Sanitary Napkins – Another cost efficient way to maintain good sanitary means is with cloth menstrual napkins. Cloth sanitary napkins can be made from soft fabrics such as flannel or soft cotton, or can be sewn from worn fabrics. The cloth sanitary napkins can be cleaned after each use and put away for the next month’s use. Typically, a 3 pack set of cloth pads can be bought online at store sites such as Amazon for around $25, but inserts must also be bought for around $10. Or, if you are handy with the sewing machine, make your own.
If you choose to use any of the alternative methods, remember to thoroughly clean them for future use.
Sanitation is an often overlooked area of preparedness, and very well could be one of the most important components to survival. Maintaining proper sanitation during an emergency situation will ensure that you, as well as those around you will stay healthy.
B. Survival of women during SHTF
9 April 2012, SHTFSchool_Security, by SELCO
Pasted from: http://shtfschool.com/security/survival-of-women-during-shtf/
JL is a female member of my survival course and she asked a lot of woman specific questions about my SHTF experience. I decided to interview women because of that. I can talk about my experience but women live often in different world of feelings and emotions.
I spoke with first woman named Una, now 52 (so was in her 30s back then) who took care of her family during that time. I asked JL to send me some questions she had on her mind and she did. If you have more women specific questions, write in comments. I recorded interview and translated to English (sorry my English not proper English).
Una started to describe her situation:
” My first and worst concern was what is gonna happen with my kids, I had two toddlers, and I did not have any clue what is gonna happen, or even what is gonna look like when hell broke lose. We did not want to believe it could happen. We heard the sound of big guns miles away and stories of violence, rape and murder but everything looked so peaceful.
At the beginning, actually right before everything started during my meetings with my friends and colleagues at work we discussed the deteriorating situation, and pretty soon I found myself faced with important decision: is it worth to send my kids to some more “secure” region or to some relatives to neighboring country, or keep them with me, and wait what happens.
I never had question am I going to leave this place, I found it normal to stay in my city, with husband, in my house. Looking back now I know it was big mistake.
If I want to describe my worst feeling trough all of that, it was not hunger, danger, fire, cold or anything like that. It was definitely the feeling of uncertain future, complete absence of feeling that I control coming events, I was helpless and just like a leaf in a storm. Anything could happen.
Anyway I choose to keep my kids with me, still do not know if it was right decision. Survival was tough even at places I planned to send them before everything started. I found out after everything was over.
Anyway they survived, but with some mental trauma like everybody else who survived.
Some of my friends who send their kids through some organization to other countries, had kids getting lost and disappear, and in some cases they found place somewhere else but the kids lost connection with parents. If parents survived they became strangers with each other.
Q: How did things start to change in your city?
A: Some very new emotions came up during that time, I was watching how city was dying slowly, together with normal behavior of people.
In the beginning people tried to stay together, I mean in the terms of neighbors helping each other. They had “normal” way of communication in the beginning. But as more bloody details, murder, rape and other crime became common trust faded and was replaced by fear.
Slowly people started to move away from each other and there was just us or them. Groups were not open anymore. No more welcoming.
I thought of myself as strong woman before, but that was before being without food and losing normal control of my life. I was teacher before everything, and of course I lost my job just like almost everyone. Nothing worked like it was supposed to work. I did not even have idea to continue to teach my kids at home, or try something similar, to survive took all my energy.
Q: Did you have any ideas of how you would survive if you were alone or not?
A: I was with my husband and family and I think I would not have survived alone. Not because I’m weak spirited woman lacking will to survive but simply because what I saw and experienced was so different and “out of this world” that I would have not been able to handle it alone.
Being in family or group makes you part of something, if other depend on you and you have other who go through same unreal situation it makes you fight harder. I understand those people who gave up and locked themselves in to die.
Q: Did you feel being a woman gave you any advantages or disadvantages?
A; For me I think it was better because I was a woman, I mean I was in a way protected from some of the hardest things, like finding food, resources or fighting. Hardest jobs were done by men, it was matter of luck for me. Woman are just more useful for certain kind of job like taking care of kids or wounded or sick people. Woman also have more feelings so some things like using violence does not come easy.
Q: Did you realize how bad it would get?
A: No, definitely not, many times I thought this can not be worst and then it got worse.
Fighting for survival can reduce people to animal that we all are. Sometimes it was hard to still see that they or we are human. So much that we think makes us human is removed and then there is something very basic and brutal left. It comes as surprise that people can act without emotions like compassion that make us human. Since that time I never thought about humans like before.
Q: How did the close people around you treat you?
A: I was protected, guarded in a way because I was a woman. It was not matter of some kind of gentlemen thing, I believe it was mostly about fact that I do my part of duties, like taking care for kids, food, trying to keep things clean etc. When I had to shoot, nobody would tell me: you are a woman you can’t do that. Everyone in group had to function and people treat you good if you do.
Q: What was your situation meaning how many people did you have as support, if any?
A: I spent that period in a group with 6 men, 3 woman and 4 kids.
Q: What are you doing today that prepares you for any similar event or how did that change the way you live?
A: I have food in my house for several months, weapons and I am ready to leave everything at the first sign that something similar gonna happen. Everything.
Q: Did anything happen that you handled differently than you assumed you would?
A: I was thinking a lot about that, and whatever I am gonna say it could be wrong. You get into situations that you cannot imagine so there was no way to predict what to do. I saw hard man break and weak man be strong. Many people who showed off strength to the outside world before things got really hard were those who broke first. I think they build up a mask to hide their inner weakness.
I broke too but people still relied on me so I had to do my part. I kept myself together but the whole situation left big scars inside of me.
There were quiet and normal people like you [Selco] who managed to come out of all this stronger and who got used to situation faster and without much suffering. Maybe you were born for that I still do not understand people like you.
Q: Were you concerned about hygiene and feminine body issues or would you say the lack of food water etc caused this not to be a concern?
A: How could lack of water etc not to be a concern? It was the opposite.
But over the time we learned that hygiene is not most important thing on the world, as dirty as that sounds. Other things occupied my mind, like with what to feed my kids, or how to make any kind of meal from very few things.
Q: What did you notice that women did differently to handle the situation, if anything?
A: I know for myself that special way of thinking helped me. I just close myself in my own world, I mean with my thinking and worrying, and it helped me. When my husband was worrying about when everything would come to end, and what are the chances for that, or trying to find some useful information about that, my biggest concern was how to make dinner, or to warm kids.
It was not about “men in the house” thing, that he thinks about the big issues and I do not.
I am educated person, but worrying about small, everyday things I think helped me trough all of that, without going crazy maybe. My concern was for example when kid asked me “can you make pancake?” how to answer him and make something that only looked like pancake, and tell him something like “those are special pancakes”. Those were the little missions that kept me from completely losing myself like others did.
Q: Did anything at all go the way you would have expected?
A: Nothing went as expected, actually I did not know what to expect. You cannot expect too much when you find yourself in a completely new situation, deadly situation.
I lived day by day without too much hope or expectation, at some point you stop caring. I survived, my family survived, and that’s it. I do not know what happens next time everything goes to hell again but I’m ready now to accept whatever comes. I easily could not be here anymore like many people I know. This stays with me for life so I appreciate every day.
Q: Did you have a source of spiritual strength?
A: I changed all phases, from completely not believing to completely believing and hoping that God will do something. I lost and gained faith many many times in that period. But yes, I think my kids and care for my kids gave me some will and strength to survive and live somehow normally. I think point of taking care for someone is really important in all this.
C. A Woman’s Life in a Post-SHTF World, by Skynome
Survival Blog.com, by James Wesley Rawles
Pasted from: http://www.survivalblog.com/2011/01/a-womans-life-in-a-post-shtf-w.html
Being a woman in TEOTWAWKI presents special challenges that many times in survival literature aren’t touched upon. So I’d like to talk about a few things that are specific to being female.
Let’s face it, that monthly visit creates a lot of waste from pads and tampons that in a SHTF scenario will be very difficult to dispose of.
Imagine if you will, that our infrastructure has broken down and trash is no longer being collected, you have to find a way to get rid of your own trash without creating a world where garbage floats in the streets when it rains. You’re doing okay though because all food scraps go to either the animals or the compost, paper is used as tinder, and jars are reused for whatever purpose you can find. However, synthetic pads and tampons, much like baby diapers, must be disposed of in a way that doesn’t become toxic for your family. So, what do you do?
My suggestion is go for reusable.
I know, in our modern society that reusable pads may be considered “gross” but as long as you wash them after every use they’re just as clean as single use synthetic, and some argue that they’re actually healthier for you.
A major plus to reusable in a SHTF scenario is that you can make them out of any fabric you have available as long as you have some needle and thread (though cotton and flannel work best). You can find patterns and suppliers online; just do a quick Google search.
Another reusable option is a diva/moon cup. A single one can last up to a year so it would be simple to stockpile a 5 year supply just in case. If the thought of reusable supplies still grosses you out just a bit and you don’t think you’ll ever go that route unless you’re living after TEOTWAWKI then you’ll want to keep a stock of single use pads or tampons for your short-term preps.
The best way I’ve found to do this is a combination of couponing and freebies. Almost all companies that make feminine products offer free samples through their web sites, and all of those free samples come with a collection of coupons. Simply go to the manufacturer’s web site, order your free sample (some will let you order a free sample once every 6 weeks), and then use the coupons combined with sales to lay in a large, almost free stash of your feminine products.
I consider this a female issue because females are the ones who get pregnant and therefore need to know what to do with their bodies to prevent pregnancy (besides the obvious). Now, in a TEOTWAWKI life even though you are happily married a recently collapsed society isn’t exactly the ideal place for a newborn.
Maybe after the first year or two your survival retreat group will all be working well together, the gardens will be producing well and you will have mastered the art of hunting under slightly different conditions. At that point, you may want to try and have children but until then, you’ll probably need some birth control.
I personally am not a fan of condoms for long-term storage, they’re bulky, expensive, have a short shelf life, and you have to find a safe way to dispose of them. I would recommend either laying in a years worth of the pill or (if you have someone in your household/retreat group that knows how to administer this) the depo-provera shot. Though, with depo you have to find a safe way to dispose of a used needle. It’s a decision you have to make based on what exactly you’re preparing for and what you feel most comfortable with using as birth control now.
One thing I do not recommend is storing birth control that you have never personally used. Every woman reacts differently to the hormones used in birth control and the time to find out that your reaction is negative is not post-SHTF.
Another option for birth control is using natural family planning. This form of birth control helps you to fully understand your body and its cycle and how to know when you’re fertile and when you’re not. This is something highly encouraged by the Catholic Church so you’ll find a lot of literature about it put out by the Catholic Church. You can also receive training on NFP at most parishes throughout the country. If you’re not comfortable learning about NFP through the Catholic Church you can do an Amazon search for natural family planning and should be able to find books non-catholic books about it. I’ve read quite a few articles on survivalblog relating to pregnancy and nursing so I won’t go into what to do if the birth control fails.
Though both men and women can break a bone, suffer a heart attack, or end up with cancer there are certain diseases that affect women more often or more severely than men, those are the ones I’d like to briefly discuss.
Osteoporosis makes your bones weak and therefore more likely to break. If society collapses you can bet women will be doing a lot more manual labor which will be harder on the bones, and if those bones are weakened by Osteoporosis and break, life will suddenly become much more difficult. The best way to combat Osteoporosis is with a diet full of calcium and vitamin D and by keeping in shape.
Regular exercise is pretty easy to maintain, the calcium and vitamin D may not be. It’s important to not only take calcium and vitamin D supplements now but to be sure you have a good stock of them in your long-term storage. You’ll also want to lay in a good supply of freeze-dried foods high in calcium and vitamin and seeds for foods you can grow fresh.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the US; I don’t imagine the stress of living life after TEOTWAWKI would lessen that number.
Luckily some of the heart healthiest foods out there are also wonderful for long term food storage including olive oil (which [if it is in plastic bottles] can be frozen for long term use), beans, peas, and lentils, fish (if your retreat is near a water source good for fishing), and whole grains. Of course regular exercise is also helpful.
Depression is much more common in women than in men for a variety of hormone reasons. Because of this if you have ever suffered from depression, post-partum depression, have a family history of depression, or currently suffer from mild depression it is a good idea to stock up on anti-depressants. Because I suffered post-partum depression with my first child it was easy for me to stock up on anti-depressants through my other two pregnancies.
If you don’t have a doctor that will prescribe you anti-depressants find one who will, survivalblog has a lot of good advice on stocking up on prescription medications so I won’t go into that. Be sure you are fully aware of all side effects of whatever anti-depressants you decide to go with, and if possible use it before SHTF. An example on why you should know exactly how it will affect you, the same anti-depressant that helped me recover from post-partum depression caused a friend of mine to have a psychotic break, everyone reacts differently to medications.
Menopause happens to all women so it’s a good idea to store some supplements that help make the transition easier. Even if you’re still young, they’re good to store for any older members of your family. It’s also a good idea to talk to your mom about the average age women in the family start going through menopause that way you can prepared for it.
Also, make sure you know your family history relating to all uterine conditions. For example, if ovarian cysts run in the family start getting checked for them now and know the symptoms if a cyst ruptures because if that happens post-SHTF you could bleed to death.
This is the section that to some may seem frivolous but the fact is women are different from men and just like men need to do things that make them feel manly, girls need to feel girly. Feeling girly is different from being high maintenance.
I’m about as far from what most would consider girly as possible, I get my hair cut once, maybe twice a year and never do more to it than run a brush through it. I rarely shave my legs, I haven’t worn makeup since my last school dance (which was quite a few years ago), and I only wear dresses to the really important church holidays.
However, while I was in Navy boot camp my drill sergeants (Recruit Division Commanders or RDCs) did everything they could to strip away our femininity. We were required to use men’s body wash, shampoo, and deodorant, no makeup allowed, no lotions; we couldn’t even shave our legs. Because of this what I looked forward to the most after getting out of boot camp was not better food or no longer being yelled at, it was being able to use a really nice lotion.
I began to really understand how different women are from men, yes, we can get any job a man can, and we can work just as hard when doing manual labor but we are female and females were made differently and we need to feel like females every now and then. In a post-SHTF world shaved legs and a pedicure really don’t matter when it comes to survival but what it can do for morale is huge.
If you have the chance to stock up on some fun feminine items on the cheap do it. I tend to find razors, pretty smelling lotions, shampoos, and conditioners, nail polish, and hair dye for free to almost free at CVS or Walgreen’s when combining manufacturers’ coupons with in-store coupons and sales.
If you are stowing away basic patterns so you can make your own clothes when the clothing stores are no longer stocked it would be a good idea to throw in a pattern or two for dresses.