Although menstruation is a completely natural part of a woman's life, conversations around it have always been stigmatized and surrounded by taboos. Read this first-hand account of one woman openly talking about her period and sharing her experience of making the switch to sustainable period products.
I did not have a great relationship with my periods from the time it started. It was forever delayed with sometimes 40 days being a regular cycle but mostly I did not know when I would get it. So, from 30 days on, I had to keep a watch out. I was taught to use the disposable sanitary napkin and that is all I knew. With unpredictable periods and sheer anticipation, I ended up using a lot more napkins than required every month. As I grew older, became a mother, my periods reset to a regular cycle, and having become more environmentally conscious, I was guilt-ridden by how much plastic I was throwing away every month. I started investigating the alternatives. On one hand with cloth napkins or period panties, I felt the washing routine required will be complex and will require buying a lot of expensive panties. On the other hand, with a menstrual cup, considering I had never used tampons, the thought of inserting a product in my vagina sounded uncomfortable. I was also not sure how well it would work.
Finally, one day while I was shopping, I saw the Mooncup and impulsively bought it. I forced myself to use it the next cycle while still using sanitary napkins.
It was a struggle the first few times, to say the least -
“I am not able to keep it folded to insert! Ok, done. But the stem is sticking out…aarghh.” Wash it, cut the stem a little bit (repeat it a few more times). “Finally, it is not poking. But wait a minute, it is leaking. Oh! Looks like it didn’t open up. Adjust that. Ok, I think that is it.” Cross fingers.
After 3-4 hours – “How do I hold this thing and remove it? Ewww…finally got it out. Wow..look at what I have collected – this is actually what the menstrual period looks like!” Flush it down now, wash and insert. Repeat.
There was one time when I tried removing the cup, it kept slipping and moving around in the vagina but I couldn’t grip it and remove it – a 5 minute agony! And as a mother, I had already planned in my head all the arrangements for the family if I had to go into emergency to get it removed!!
I used the cup for a few months and finally, it worked reasonably well. But there were still leaks and so I still used sanitary napkins or panty liners. When I went to India that year, I decided since it is only for leaks, I could use cloth napkins and bought Ecofemme cloth pads and liners. And now I was set! Completely eco-friendly.
It was on this trip to India that for the first time in my life, I went swimming during my period! I cannot believe I waited this long. Freedom!