Menstrual Cups! The “new aged” menstrual blood catchers! Good for the environment, good for your health and great for the wallet they say! Or are they?
I’ve been seeing raving reviews from fellow menstruators through social media pages for several years about these “AMAZING” things. Admittedly at first, I was about as clueless as a cucumber so had to open up “Uncle Google” and research these things. “Oh, a shot-glass like rubber/silicon contraption that is placed up your ‘thingamy-whats-it’ when Aunt Flo decides to grace us with her monthly presence”….. hmmm, a little more reading, cringes intensifying from sentence to sentence, until I physically felt ill and had to slam down the laptop lid! NO WAY, NA UH, NOPE, NOT GONNA HAPPEN!
I continued to see these raving reviews, time and time again…. My mouse wheel smoking as I speedily scrolled past these posts… “Blimmen hippies”! Quite happy with the “little white mice” I had been accustomed to for the past 20 something years of the inconvenient visits from Aunt Flo. My stomach, not to mention my mind, just could not deal with anything more than a blind “pull the rip-cord, drop and flush” method. Yeah I know, shouldn’t be flushed….. you have no idea how weak this stomach of mine is!
Time went on, and whether insanity set in, or I had some sort of menstrual epiphany, for some reason, I actually slowed that scrolling mouse wheel a little and actually started to pay attention! Maybe the 7 year old dissecting my little mouse friends prior to use, or the dog shredding cotton wool from one end of the house to the next could have been motivation to my moment of madness. Who knows?
So I am lucky to belong to a cool little group of kiwi small businesses on www.thehivenz.co.nz, and I knew I’d seen them spoken about between advertisers, so I reluctantly posted to find out who could help me in my search for eternal menstrual entrapment. There were a couple of takers, however, I then hit a road block….. one of the advertisers mentioned sizes! WHAT? These things have sizes? How am I supposed to work that one out? A measuring tape up my fu-fu? Oh man, what have I done?! Do I measure up as virginal? Tighty whitey? Am I loosey goosey? Or “you can park a bus up there?”. As it turns out, there’s two sizes! And thanks to the awesome and informative advertisers, there’s actually a really easy way to work out the sizes! One size is for under 30 year olds, who have not had a vaginal birth, and the other for 30+ or anyone who has had a vaginal birth! 3.5 kids tells me I measure up as loosey goosey (regardless of age)! There was a sigh of relief when I realised I didn’t need to sacrifice my beloved measuring tape! More questions were asked, and so many polite answers offered, how they managed to keep their professionalism with the mortifying questions I was asking is a testament to the advertisers. “Can I sleep in these things?” “YES”, “will they contain day one ‘I’ve hit the femoral artery’ bleeds?” “YES”, “will I lay an egg while I do high intensity exercise?” “NO”, “how often do I need to change them?” “Around 8 hours”, and “what’s the best way for noobs to change these things?” “In a shower if you’re concerned”! Um hold up? Do I need to purchase crime scene tape too?!
The next part was the worst part….. Making a commitment! I am a bit of a commitment phobe when it comes to anything that really scares the living heck out of me. Pushing a “buy now” button on such contraptions, for me, can only be compared to taking a giant leap off a bridge!
The time was now or never, Kelly from www.nappyneedz.co.nz (you can also find her on TheHiveNZ) happened to have size “loosey goosey” in stock in all 3 of the menstrual cups she stocks, so off I went to defeat my fears! Shopping on her website was super easy, and before I knew it, I had selected and paid for her middle priced cup “THE MOONCUP”! Not a bad price at NZ$49 + Shipping, potential massive savings. No turning back now, argh!
As luck would have it, just a mere few days later, the courier knocked on my door and delivered my package. All women know, there is ALWAYS something that seems to jinx or trigger our cycles at the worst moments, the time for me, was right after that delivery! No preparation time, no chance to sit and stare at this “thing” and wonder, the time was now!
So off I ventured into the world of the unknown, opening this well presented box, to find a very cute little drawstring bag designed to store my new menstrual friend/enemy (yet to be decided). Following these pretty little diagrams on the packet, I folded this quite large looking rubber/silicon feel thing in half and then in half again…. Next problem….. I’m holding the fold in the top! HOW do I put this thing up there? Fingers and all? That diagram isn’t quite that clear, I don’t see a whole hand up there!
Ah well, here goes, folded and held with two finger tips I slipped that puppy right in there, I was wondering how it would unfold and if it would stay creased once in there, nope, just like those funky pop-up tents, it just opened itself right up! Was it in far enough? It was nowhere near how far up my ‘little white mice’ friends sit. Ah well, it was comfy…. Let’s see how this goes….. Got up, had a bit of a wriggle, all was surprisingly OK! I did have to do the “jump test” just to make sure it wasn’t going to just fly out…. Nope, still there…. So off I went about my day.
Out to the lounge to take up my couch potato marathon, sat down and OUCH! I think I just managed to gain another genital piercing! What was that? Back to the bathroom I waddled. These cups have a stem, the stem works the same as a tampon string and allows you to remove them when required, that thing was NOT all snuggled up in there. Hmmmm time to bring out the instruction booklet….. Oh look, plain as day “TRIM STEM TO SUIT”, well, who would have thought that the instruction booklet would have been such a great idea to read first!? WHOOPS! Right, got my scissors, ready to snip, go to pull this contraption out, just as I would any tampon, and WOW, I near vacuumed out my cervix! These things have staying power! Anyway, all trimmed, back in place, all-in-all a relatively painless transition, with the added bonus bit of vaginal housework.
The remainder of the day continued as any other day, I felt comfortable, no added pressure, nothing, I could almost have forgotten Aunt Flo was visiting had it not been for the dreaded thought of “the clean” looming in the back of my head!
Night time came, this was the moment that all those years of apprehension was built on, all of those NO’s! WASH TIME! After the vacuum cleaning lesson from earlier, I did take a little more care with the removal this time, and for the fact that I never did order that crime scene tape as I probably should have. Removal was straight forward, not even a little spill, I was doing well! However, I still had not looked. Tip and pour into the toilet bowl ready to rinse…. And there it was, the moment I had to actually look! OH NO….. Nope, cannot hold back, the gagging has begun, I’m committed! A few gagging tears later and a rinse in the bathroom sink, this thing was back to normal thank goodness! I SURVIVED!
From here on, the sailing became smoother and smoother. I slept like a baby! Not even a tiny spill or feeling of discomfort. I attended CrossFit the next morning, and even with loads of movement and jumping, I did not lay an egg, I may have wee’d just a dribble when it came to skipping, but as far as the cup went…. WIN!
5 days later, Aunt Flo had decided to pack her bags and thankfully bugger off! The Mooncup was sanitised and placed in its cool little drawstring bag in the bathroom cupboard. One whole week of no tampon box sitting on the windowsill behind the toilet so the entire world knew Aunt Flo was visiting. One whole week of no tampon devastation around the house from little hands and dog jaws. One whole week of no panic stations trying to hunt out the one tampon that the little hands and dog jaws had missed in their journey of destruction. I SURVIVED ONE WHOLE WEEK OF MOONCUP USE! I was proud! Not one leak, not one egg laid, not one bit of discomfort, and after the first “change” not even one more gag! I didn’t even experience the regular issue of trying to get a dry mouse to get into its burrow in the later “drying out” days!
So I do now believe, this new contraption could actually really become my new monthly friend. It will take a little bit to get used to, saying goodbye to something I’ve become quite accustomed to on a monthly basis for 20 something years. I may have to purchase a secondary contraption for the handbag for “just in case” cover. But the potential cost saving alone from trading in the $8 box of tampons per month (sometimes a little more depending on destruction levels) makes it worthwhile for a penny pincher like myself. Not to mention the probable health benefits from not using bleached/processed cotton and other materials to bung up the leak so often. Then of course, there’s the potential to decrease landfill waste (and gross waste at that!), or in my case (being a non-looker and dropper type) the decrease in blocked plumbing bills. All of these factors are big motivators for me to keep travelling the Menstrual Cup path. So thank you to all those people who kept pushing your cups in my social media feeds! Pretty safe to say, this stubborn NO-CUPPER, is now cup-converted!