So I did it, I finally bit the bullet and used a menstrual cup, the Lunette to be precise. Contrary to what you might think I don’t eat my placenta or make jewellery out of my breast milk, which I don’t have a problem with but I don’t want you to feel like I’m your typical cup user and therefore switch off. I don’t relate to the “hippy” lifestyle, I thought catching blood in a cup was gross, and even though I was assured it wasn’t I kept thinking, but you’re happy to eat your placenta so our gross meters are a little different. The only people shouting from the rooftops about these were people with whom I didn’t think represented me, I mean I don’t even do camping, so it seemed that tampons would just be my life.
If I’m totally honest the thing that actually tipped me over the edge wasn’t because I cared about the environment or that I want to have less chemicals in my body, what it boiled down to was money. We are financially under pressure at the moment and buying tampons/pads every month really adds up, I just couldn’t afford not to. I’ve always been good with money and a quick calculation showed that my $60 investment which lasted 10 years was going to save me roughly $1200 (I have a very heavy flow so I buy a lot). The decision was easy to make, with figures like that I’d be an idiot to keep buying tampons when we are essentially broke but actually using the thing wasn’t so easy.
That little yellow cup (mine is yellow but you can get other colours) looked huge and uncomfortable and my brain just couldn’t figure out how it’d get in there. Yes 2 big babies have been pushed out of my vagina but that didn’t seem to make that cup look any smaller. Birthing isn’t done monthly and I got 2 gorgeous girls after, where shoving that cup up me would only produce a reward of my menstrual blood in a cup. And lets not get started on penises being bigger than the cup either, my brain isn’t logical in times of panic!!
So as you can see I was extremely hesitant and my thoughts often teetered on the more negative, anxiety inducing side. However I had no sanitary products in the house but my cup so I was out of options. It was either use the cup or sit on the toilet all day, which isn’t very practical. I was just going to have to do it, I pushed a baby out of my vagina for fucks sake, I could do this!!! To my surprise my vagina can hold a lot more than I thought. My cup was easy to insert and popped open giving my a little shock but it never hurt. I did find that the tab was too long and I needed to cut it but that was easy to do. I honestly was shocked at how easily it popped into place. I had had images of my whole hand needing to get up there and push it into position in my head but it was actually easier than inserting a tampon as it sits lower.
It’s taken me a while to get the position just right, and I’ve found my body now seems to have adjusted to it and sort of sucks it up into position, I told you this might contain too much info! My first period was pretty uncomfortable, I had it sitting so low I was walking like I’d been riding a horse all day, all I needed was a cowboy hat. However even with it not sitting quite right I was still totally in love. I can’t explain it but the convenience of it being reusable, the money saving and even the fact I was helping the environment all made me fall in love. Then after a few tries and it sitting comfortably I knew it’d won this sceptical princess who thought a menstrual cup was icky, over! It’s not all peaches and cream though, I want to be very honest so if you do consider one you go into it knowing everything I can tell you. Changing in a public toilet is gross, you get bloody fingers (not dissimilar to when changing a tampon). You can just wipe it with toilet paper but I like rinsing it with bottled water, which is what I do at home, so it’s all a bit awkward but you end up getting a system down pat and it’s not too bad. But the worst thing is the suction sounds it makes, I’m sure people in the cubicle next to me are thinking some kinky stuff is going on. I have a very heavy period so I was changing my tampons every 1-2hours which means that I’m having to empty my cup regularly but much less frequently than a tampon. It is a pain in the butt but having a heavy period means I have always been inconvenienced and this is not worse than changing a tampon just more fiddly. For you with normal periods the cup holds a lot and you can normally change it 12 hourly, doing it in the shower is so easy and comfortable and it’s a huge advantage over other sanitary products. They are honestly the only negatives I can think of, that and that it takes a few tries to get the hang of putting it in comfortably, but if we look back on our first tampon experiences it took us a while to get the hang of those too.
Here are the things I was surprised by:
It isn’t gross, if you’ve seen your blood on a pad or in a tampon a cup ain’t any worse.
It doesn’t have any odour, no gross smells that can often come from using pads, not matter how many perfumes they add to them.
They are hypoallergenic, so if you have sensitive skin this could be great reason to switch, I often found I was really itchy after using pads but since switching you’ll be happy to know there is no more itching.
Once it’s in properly you just don’t even know it’s there. It has given me so much freedom as I can do everything I would do when I don’t have my period. I mean everything, swimming, bike riding, stripping, no more pesky strings you have to try and hide (not that I strip or bike ride for that matter but I could if I wanted to and that’s the point).
They don’t come out when you pee, pooing is another story which I discovered the hard way!
They are so convenient, I love not having to sneak tampons into bins at other people’s houses.
Plus NO leaks, I just won you over there didn’t I?
The biggest surprise though was that I actually love using it, it’s not just for hippies, it’s just a great product for anyone.
I really hope that this little blog can help some of you take the leap. Its not scary, its not gross, it just takes you taking that first step and I promise you’ll fall in love too. Do it for your environment, your wallet, your health but mainly because its just a superior way to deal with menstruation.
If you are in Australia and looking to buy a cup I would highly recommend buying from Sustainable Menstruation Australia. Rosie is so passionate about her products but more importantly is there to answer all your questions. Once you purchase a cup you are not just left high and dry. Rosie is there to make sure you get the most out of your cups and will go above and beyond to help answer your questions which is important with something you’ve never used before. I gave her a few calls during my cowboy walking stage and she led me to some great resources.
Good luck girls and happy menstrating xx