Two years of using a menstrual cup changed the way I viewed my own periods. Growing up, like any other person, I was asked to use sanitary pads. Whisper, to be specific. But my skin wasn’t comfortable with it as I would get rashes within two to three uses of it. So, I shifted to cotton pads (Stayfree), which definitely made things better for me. College happened, and I met a couple of friends who shared their menstrual cup story. I remember thinking – “WTF? How does one insert a big cup like that?” But, the one thing that struck, and persuaded me to try the menstrual cup, was its longevity. It is said to last 10 years, just one cup.
A few years ago, Buzzfeed India had done this incredible video where two hosts tried a menstrual cup and reusable cloth pads for a week. Personally, I feel it’s one of the best videos they’ve created, and it really ignited the fire in me to try a menstrual cup.
So, I finally mustered the courage and bought myself a green-coloured menstrual cup from Boondh, a menstrual health organization that promotes affordable and sustainable period products in India.
The package arrived, I opened it excitedly. But then reality struck – “Oh shit, did I actually do this?”. I put the cup in boiling water to sanitise it. I went inside the bathroom, took a deep breath, and tried to insert it within me. It took me about 10-15 minutes to figure out the right way to do it. Mind you, I did watch a lot of tutorials on YouTube.
Finally, it scooped right in. But then, I couldn’t feel it as I stood up straight. I thought there was something wrong. So I immediately called up my friend and asked if feeling nothing was normal. She said, “Hell yes! Why do you think I’ve been using it?”. That’s when my menstrual cup journey began.
Also Read: Is Menstruation A Taboo Even Today?
It’s been two years now, and I always pat myself on the back for taking this step. You can literally do anything once you wear a menstrual cup – workout, running, swimming (oh yeah!) or any physical activity – without worrying about leakage. But I must admit that it took me some time to get used to cleaning the lumpy blood that my menstrual cup stocked up. It took some convincing and un-grossing techniques like accepting my menstrual blood as part of my body. Years and years of conditioning and people constantly throwing negative light on menstruation created a feeling of disgust for menstrual blood.
Getting over that disgust and shame, and accepting it was a part of the menstrual cup initiation process. In a way, it teaches you to unlearn what you’ve been constantly fed about periods. While it might look like murder has taken place, your confrontation with your menstrual blood makes you engage with your body better. You think of your body and blood as your own.
The first time I got my periods, my mother took me to the bathroom without uttering a word as though I committed a heinous crime. She told me, “You’ve got your periods. This is how you wear a pad.” That’s all the period lessons I got from her. But I couldn’t blame her for making me feel uneasy at the sight of blood because she too must have gone through the same process. As we grow, we learn to accept ourselves, and for me, my menstrual cup was my enlightenment to loving my body.
I will not deny the fact that menstrual cups takes some getting used to. But once you form a relationship with it, there’s no looking back. I now proudly call myself a poster person for menstrual cup promotions. Every time I get my periods, I don’t sit back and crib about it. I embrace it, rather. I found myself in a menstrual cup, and that says a lot about it.