|"A young girl tender as a flower" HOLY WOW THAT'S SOME COPY|
It looked sort of weird.
The pink silicone cup came in a slightly
torn envelope, sitting in a cloth pouch. No doubt some curious courier man en
route had tried to fiddle with it, maybe to filch the interesting feeling
contents. However, he probably dropped it like a hot potato if he even glimpsed
the text on the pamphlet that came with it.
She Cup: “Let Womanhood Bloom Without
More and more I’ve been getting glimpses of
our future on this planet, and it’s not so much sci-fi and aliens as it is the
grim garbage dump depicted by Pixar’s Wall-E.
And it’s not entirely preventable because there are more people on the planet
now than there ever have been and this is just going to grow. But, what we can
do is make that garbage dump grow a little less faster.
I began thinking of menstrual cups idly
when an acquaintance came over for dinner a few years ago and went on about it.
She said she loved hers, it was easy to use, especially when travelling through
the villages of India where there aren’t friendly local chemists to restock you
and disposal is hard. She was the first one to put the image in my mind of a
child rooting through a garbage dump and picking up a used tampon. Which is a
disgusting picture, but sadly too true.
The article mentions reusable cloth pads as
an alternative, but not the cup. The pads didn’t appeal to me at all, and I’m
not sure they’d appeal to a modern young woman. All that washing! All that
walking around with blood in your underwear all day! It doesn’t sound very
appealing. But with the cup, you remove it, dump the contents in the toilet
(maybe twice a day with heavy flow?), wash and re-insert. It couldn’t be
Actually, I’m surprised we aren’t being
marketed more period stuff. It’s the one thing advertisers can say are “just
for girls!” They could pink it up as much as they liked. They could put
cartoons on them like Hello Kitty or pretty flowers and girls might Instagram
their pads just to show off their designs. And in this space, there’d be room
for more companies with healthy alternatives. I mean, since food has already
become such an organic space, why not the other things that we put into our
bodies—arguably into the most tender parts of us?
So, I decided to take one for the team and
ordered a menstrual cup online. The most accessible one seemed to be the She
Cup, a bit cumbersome for those used to a smooth e-commerce experience, but delivery
was fast after I made the transfer. Now all I had to do was use it.
I folded the silicon cup in my hand until
it was a c-shape. Even folded, it looked rather intimidating and foreign, not
something you’d be easy about putting into your body. But the accompanying
instructions told me to “do it fast” and soon I’d be a pro, they promised. I
took a deep breath and tried—and it wasn’t that bad. Granted I’ve been a tampon
user for some time, so I’m used to the idea, but there’s a difference between
an innocuous small tube and a bulky looking cup, which always looks bulky, no
matter how much you fold it. Surprisingly, as soon as I had inserted it, it was
just as the instructions promised: I couldn’t feel a thing. The She Cup holds
about 12 ml of liquid—which seems like a lot—so you only have to empty it on
very heavy days or once a day. I’m so used to pads and tampons I just wrote
“change it” instead of “empty it.”
One last thing I did for the environment:
as soon as my parcel came, I put it up on Instagram. Now two of my friends have
ordered it already, and a few more are contemplating it. “It’s an absolute game
changer,” promised one of my Instagram followers. I hope so. Think of all the
money I’ll save—not to mention the trees!
UPDATE: So I used the She Cup all through my last period. The first time removing it was a bit like that shower scene in Psycho, blood everywhere. I was rather agile about it *self back pat* so most of it ended up inside the toilet bowl and not everywhere else, but there was still a little clean up. Also, it helps that in my loo, the sink is right next to the pot, so I could just reach over. That was slightly tricky, and you've got to be okay with blood on your fingers (washable!).
By day three, I was an old pro. I even managed to rinse it out right over the pot instead of leaning over to the sink. What was also fascinating (for me) was watching how the blood changed as my cycle finished. From the torrential gush of days one and two, to a more lady like cup of deep burgundy to finally just a few droplets every day. It was quite cool learning what my body did and what my body produced, something I never thought of all these TWENTY ONE!!! years.
Also on day one, I miscalculated how often to change the cup, so I had one little accident, but after that, I started to change it every four hours or so. It's easy enough to pick up once you get used to the rhythm of your body.
When I was done I washed it with the accompanying soap strips, boiled it in a saucepan to sterilise as recommended and left it there till the water cooled down. Then I popped it back into its cloth pouch. For the squeamish, it's best to sit with your legs really far apart, breathe out a few times to relax and then try and insert it.
(a version of this appeared as my column on mydigitalfc.com)
Yay! Welcome to the fold (pun totally intended, as I said to someone else on the sustainable menstruation-related group on FB) :) Just to add: you'd want to empty the cup at least thrice a day... that's about 8-hour intervals, so as to reduce the chance of a toxic shock. I've gone 12 hours a couple of times when I got busy / forgot that I was on my period, but it's not recommended.ReplyDelete
Have you heard of thinx? I've heard great reviews!ReplyDelete
Thanks for posting about your experience with this environmentally friendly product. Got me thinking and feeling guilty about all the landfill waste that is produced due to disposable sanitary pads :( Feels a bit scary to use the cup but am sure after one takes the first step and with practice, one can manage fine.ReplyDelete
Seriously? I'm beginning to seriously seriously think about this. Well I'm going to have to give it a go now!ReplyDelete