Written by Nicole J.
Shelves are cleared clean out of the essentials in the event of a worldwide coronapocalypse. Toilet paper statues are being built as we speak as a monument to the lives we once knew before COVID-19. People are quite possibly bathing in Lysol, using Clorox wipes as a washcloth, and making Purell margaritas rimmed with BC Powder. All jokes aside, as the virus spreads, I worry that the economy might feel an impact from manufacturing grinding to a halt, or shipping being severely delayed, or too many workers out sick, or plain old fear. But in life, there will always be something you accidentally left off your list, or didn’t consider, or plain old forgot. As such, here are a few things that every woman should definitely keep on hand that could make a possible quarantine or lockdown a little easier.
I have been using a menstrual cup for a good 5 years now. The Diva Cup has not let me down and I strongly recommend that brand. There are other brands too, but since I’ve never tried those, I can’t speak to them. If access to products like tampons and pads dry up, having a menstrual cup or other reusable menstrual device can eliminate at least one monthly woe from your list. When using the menstrual cup, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions with regards to insertion, removal, and cleaning. I picked up a spare one last week as a just-in-case. If removing a cup full of menstrual blood isn’t your cup of tea (pun intended), there are also menstrual underwear or reusable pads. In fact, coronapocalypse or not, check those out anyway, for the environmental benefits!
You know how there’s always a little baby boom after something big causes people to be home for longer periods of time? It happens after major natural disasters, and it happened after those long blackouts in New York a few years back. Can you imagine having a baby in such uncertain times? If the curve doesn’t flatten soon, the pressures on healthcare systems around the globe will be under immense, unprecedented strain.
Our maternal mortality rates are precarious at the best of times. Many of us rely on social safety nets to bridge gaps we might have. These social safety nets are already facing cuts in the current administration, and may see further cuts due to the demand from COVID-19. There has not been much news about how the virus may affect pregnant women and the developing fetus, and it’s probably a better idea to not find out first hand. Even established couples who were actively trying to conceive this year should probably postpone things due to the uncertainty running rampant worldwide.
It is for all of these reasons, and more, that an appointment for some long-term birth control should be made, and soon, before stricter isolation measures are taken. Since elective surgeries are getting cancelled to prepare for patients to come, it’s probably too late to get a tubal ligation or a vasectomy (but if you’re already considering more permanent means of birth control, by all means give your doctor a call and see if you can get an appointment!). Instead, an IUD (copper or hormonal) could be an option, lasting upwards of three years. Another three-year option is the birth control implant, which is just a little plastic rod that is inserted into the arm.
If for some reason none of these options work for you, there’s always the pill. Stock up on them for as long as your pharmacy will allow. And since I believe that two forms of birth control should be used at all times, condoms should be standard operating procedure in addition to any of the aforementioned methods. Get them in bulk. The last thing you want to do in the middle of economic instability, disease, and stress is bring a new life into all this chaos.
Regrettably, some black women have a fear of certain birth control methods because they heard someone’s horror story or believe in some conspiracy to wipe out black people. Rather than convince people to see reason, another simpler option is a fertility tracker. Smart phones are pretty much everywhere, so head to the app store right now and download a fertility tracker app. There is a plethora to choose from, and many offer additional handy features, such as period prediction (if you’re regular) and activity logs. Using fertility trackers in addition to another form of birth control should definitely help spare an unwanted pregnancy.
But say you did all that and your period decided to take an unscheduled leave of absence. The last thing you want to do is stress out over the “What ifs” until your next cycle rolls around. Keep a box of pregnancy tests on hand to save you a month of wondering and stress.
A first aid kit is all well and good, but if you don’t know how to use it, or come across a situation that doesn’t fit in that plastic box, a first aid course that teaches these basic skills could come in very handy. It is good to have life-critical skills to barter with, since that means you may not have to part with your own supply stash and can provide some kind of care instead. And strangers may (or may not, people are crazy) have more of a vested interest in not harming you, since the skills you possess are not something you can pick up off a Wal-Mart shelf.
What toilet paper will do against coronavirus, I don’t know, but if you’re shit out of luck (quite literally), maybe see if you can get a bidet. Bidet sales have increased as a result of the coronavirus. They are common in other parts of the world, so maybe America can join the ranks of bidet users too!
After every disruptive natural disaster, there is an uptick in violence. There were rapes in the Super Dome after Katrina, and of course, looting after every single hurricane in every state and country. Now more than ever is it important to arm yourself, because as folks get more desperate, they will see you as a mark, a target, since the world knows how unprotected black women are. A gun, ammunition and your concealed carry permit should be included in your disaster prep kit. If that’s not your thing, a taser, mace, or pepper spray can also be employed.
Maybe it’s a stretch, but I think we all should be paying extra attention to our oral hygiene while COVID rages on. I’ve seen notices that dentists are closing their doors for a while, and who could blame them – being face first in anybody’s mouth, Corona or not, mask or not, seems like a recipe for infection. My own dentist has emailed his patients notifying us that he’ll only be taking emergencies for a while. So definitely keep up on your at-home dental care so that you don’t end up with a hole in your teeth that could go unrepaired for a long, painful time. Plus, if you do get sick, it’s a good idea to have spare toothbrushes on hand so you don’t get a possible reinfection.
Again, this depends on how deeply apocalyptic you think things might end up going. It wouldn’t hurt to get a few things you don’t particularly care for, but other people might, to trade for if things got tight. The first aid skills are something that could be traded for, but if that’s not up your alley, there are other options. If you don’t have pets, you could get a bag or two of pet food just in case your neighbors run out, and trade for some hand sanitizer if you’re running low.
Such uncertain times requires resilience, preparation, and creativity. As the economy starts to falter, and desperation kicks in, it is incredibly important to be self-sufficient for as long as possible, ideally until things return to whatever the new normal will be. Is there something on your list that would be incredibly useful, but might not immediately come to mind? Please share your ideas in the comments below.
Disclaimer: This blog was written by me, Nicole, and my ideas are not necessarily reflective of Christelyn Karazin or other writers on this platform.