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My Tryst With The Menstrual Cup & Why I Think We Should Talk About It!

Posted: December 18, 2020
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Even I had my apprehensions about using the menstrual cup before I did. Here is my experience of using the cup and why I absolutely love it!

If you have opened this article, trust the force which brought to you this piece of writing for it might just change your life! I urge you to not shy away from this but read it completely.

First of all, the menstrual cup is the cup that a woman or girl of any age can use during menstruation. I am sure all of you have heard of incredibly unpleasant experiences of women using the cup but just hear my story out too. Trust me, I will be completely honest with you on how to use it, the dos and don’ts of using the cup, what it feels like and more!

Deciding to write about the menstrual cup itself was a big thing for me. As a society, we may be broadening our horizons and talking about matters that were considered taboos earlier. However, it still took me three months to shed my inhibitions and write about this.

We are conditioned to feel bad about our periods

The resolve is stronger now, as using the menstrual cup changed a very important part of my life. And I know if I am able to get through even one other individual, it will make a huge difference.

Let us start from the root of it all by addressing the most important question, ‘How comfortable we women are with our bodies?’ We still live in a society where a woman touching (exploring) her body is considered unacceptable. A society where talking about bodily issues openly is frowned upon and a society where talking about ‘those days of the month’ makes you undesirable and disgusting. We are a society that treats women on their periods differently often, very subtly.

In such an environment, the mind is naturally conditioned to the following things:

That the period must get over quickly, without a lot of noise or fuss. And it is okay if we are left alone with our misery and that we are supposed to go through this on our own.

That period blood is disgusting and we are at our worst when we are on our periods. Touching our vagina, especially when we are bleeding is the worst thing we could ever do! (Yes, I used the word ‘vagina’ because that is what it is called! Let’s stop shying away from using these words, shall we?

This conditioning is only the tip of the iceberg. As women, we are conditioned to a number of other things constantly.

My own experience with periods was painful

Moving on to my own experience, I suffer from horrible period cramps. In fact, ‘cramps’ feels like a very gentle word to describe the terrible pain I go through. Each month, I feel what I assume being in labour feels like without actually have the baby. I become completely immobile like I am terminally ill. And it has been this way since as long as I can remember.

Most importantly, I also carried the burden of using sanitary napkins since day one. These napkins weren’t just uncomfortable (trust me, I tried them all), but also left me with rashes. Further, they also left me with a constant fear of ‘leaking and showing.’ Oh, and the nights were the worst, sleep in one position to remain ‘clean.’ The combination of the pain and the incompetent sanitary napkin made a monster out of me for the five days.

I can very vividly describe my experience right now, as I write this on the first day of my period. Though I am in pseudo labour, this time I don’t have the burden of the sanitary pad. So I felt it was important to share this today itself (you know, the real emotions would come out).

A few friends of mine, who have used the cup for a few years now, kept telling me that it was the best thing I could give myself on my periods. But the conditioning has been so fierce and overpowering, my mind did not even consider the thought of shifting away from the necessary evil.

I finally decided to try the menstrual cup

Finally, one day, I gave in to the constant pestering of an ‘evolved friend,’ who I can trust with my life. I bought the much amusing cup and waited for the D-day!

This is how things unfolded: I was in the washroom, rereading the instructions a thousand times. The pad is also at my service. I followed the directions and after a few failed attempts, managed to insert the menstrual cup. Since I had never directly touched ‘period blood,’ I cringed at it in the beginning. But you know what, it comes off with soap and water! I laughed slightly for overreacting.

Then, I sealed the deal with the pad as well (how can I suddenly leave this beloved or rather hated companion of the past twenty-odd years)!

Initially, it felt funny. It was new and unchartered territory. Immediately, I went and sat motionless in one place, thinking the cup would come out or go further deeper, etc. I was constantly checking the napkin too, to see if the cup was leaking.

Turns out, the cup wasn’t such a bad idea!

To my surprise, the ‘funny feeling’ went away very quickly. My body loved this new change and adapted to it. I donned the napkin for close to six hours, and there was no leaking at all. Soon, I began to develop confidence in this ‘new companion’ and finally let go of the napkin. It felt as if a huge boulder had been removed off me.

Initially, it was tough for me to remove the cup to empty it. But the evolved friend came to my rescue again and shared her experience. I just had to release some air from the cup with an effortless pinch and it was easy breezy from then on.

Here’s the best part, I can sleep worry-free now!

My final verdict on the cup: It is safe and fuss-free and very easy to use. The instructions on the leaflet are very accurate.  All you need is the right size and trust me, it is a boon for ‘those days.’ And it is the only accessory I will always have with me.

Why must we use the cup?

After becoming a user, I wondered why isn’t the cup something spoken about more in the mainstream? I believe it is mostly because it would be a huge loss for the FMCG companies who make money from our miseries. Who market and package the sanitary napkins in a manner that makes us feel like it’s the only thing saving us during our periods.

If you have reached here, but still feel the need to postpone the use of the cup, I would urge you to pass on this article to others who could develop this habit early. This could help them know and understand their bodies better, and see periods as a natural part of growing up rather than being disgusted at the thought of it.

I also try to do my bit for the environment now and then. And not filling up the landfills with used sanitary pads brings me huge satisfaction now. My periods do not contribute to the pollution anymore!

This is the amazing part. I can move around a little better now, after getting rid of the napkin and I do not have to constantly bother about leaking. The ‘cramps’ still give me a ton of trouble, but with the burden of the pad off of me, I am a tolerable monster now!

I can’t thank enough the people, the circumstances and all the forces which have brought the cup in my life. And also wish to express gratitude to girls and women who will begin using the cup after reading this.

A version of this was earlier published here.

Picture credits: Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

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