I recently explained why on earth a perfectly sane woman like me would ever bother trying a menstrual cup. There I was just enjoying a normal tampon life, when motherhood forced me try something new. I tried it. I liked it. I haven’t looked back. So in case you are cringing at the idea of a cup and scoffing at the idea like I was this time last year, I want to share with you:
- I deal with my period in the morning before my shower and before I go to bed. That’s it. You can safely use the cup for 12 hours at a time before emptying, washing and putting it back in. On my heaviest day, I may choose to change it when I get home from work too, just to be safe, though that’s proven unnecessary.
- I got no strings to hold me down. I didn’t realize how gross tampon strings are until I didn’t have one. I know this sounds silly because cups are way grosser in theory. But I only have to deal with the gross twice a day with the cup, not every time I have to hold it out of the way to pee or worry about it soaking up water when I shower or swim like a string would. Also, I would never waltz naked out of the shower across the room to my undies drawer with a string hanging out. So period time was you-can’t-see-me-naked time. No longer true. Now I don’t have any outward signs to hide and am waltzing my naked little heart out.
- I learned the…consistency…of my cycle. OK, super gross, but we’re going there. We’re going there because your teenage daughter starting with pads is going there. Your girl is going to notice the texture of her flow. Is it normal to be clumpy? Stringy? Brown? If you are a tampon lady, you might not know! So when your princess wants to know what’s normal, you’ve got to get familiar with your own normal. Eww. ‘Nuff said.
- In 6 months of using the cup, I’ve only had to empty it in public once. I was traveling for work and was away from the house for well over 12 hours. No problem. I found a single-occupant bathroom for privacy and used my handy cup wipes, which are like those “moist towelettes” you get at a BBQ joint. Empty the cup, wipe it down, re-insert and you’re on with your day.
- I don’t have to purchase or carry a full complement of “degree of flow” choices. For a weekend getaway in the past, I’d have to pack super duty, regular and light tampons plus a few panty liners. My period is a box of chocolates, and I was terrified of being caught with too little absorbency to be effective or too much to be safe. You know what I pack now? A bottle of “cup wash” cleanser and a pretty cloth pouch in case I decide to store it. Done.
- I like that I can use the cup a day or two before my period starts, rather than waiting for my cycle to start for real so I can safely use a tampon. I can pop it in when my first day is close and not worry about starting at an inconvenient time. Think of what a game changer this would have been in high school! Never worrying about starting on all-white spirit day or during a 2 hour history exam would have been lovely.
- I’m not contributing to landfills with my period anymore. I’ll admit I’m not terribly green. I do recycle, but I still have a shamefully large carbon footprint. So while this wasn’t a selling point for me, it does make me happy to know that I’m not putting used products in the trash or wastewater every day like I used to.
It’s bizarre that I’m a vocal fan of the cup now. I was such a skeptic, and maybe a little bit of a scaredy cat. It didn’t seem like something “someone like me” would ever try. But here we are. Yes, it’s weird. But there’s no way I’m giving it up.