I have debated back and forth whether or not to write this post. For most of my friends, we have entered a real phase of acknowledging that our periods are real and not something we should be ashamed of. For the generation above us though (strictly excluding any beloved hippy relatives), it isn’t something you speak about.
My mother freaks OUT whenever I mention my period. I speak quite openly about it, not at dinner or with my Boss – but I sure as hell am comfortable talking to my Husband about it (a taboo act, if you ask Mum).
Even though I knew I could talk to my Mum about this ‘change’, I still wasn’t ready for my period to show up. One day I was playing freely in the backyard, the next I was panicking about having become a woman, while saying ‘You’re a woman now, time to grow up’ in the mirror repeatedly (look, I wish I had made that up for dramatic effect, but it really happened).
In fact, I decided to just ignore my first period, a week of excruciating pain and bleeding and I just ignored it. I wish I hadn’t of ignored it though, Mum was well prepared, with a bag stashed away in her cupboard, filled with all items available to you in 1998. In terms of open conversation, however, that was the start and end of it. Mum passed the bag along, gave me a pretty thorough drill-down on the situation, on hygiene and that was it.
You’re looking at about six months for a tampon to decompose, and even then the amount of water and natural/man-made resources to do so is massive. Also, I f*cking HATE paying for them. 10,000 tampons at an average of $5 for a box of 16 organic tampons and I am looking at around $3,000 for single-use cotton tampons, packed in individual plastic each, and that estimate is grossly under what it has actually cost.
Little did we know that by the time I was 14 I would have the sort of periods which would disable me to the point I couldn’t go to school (thanks, Endometriosis), or that I would be in a constant state of panic in my school skirts. I have not been blessed with a polite, feminine period – rather I have the type of monthly event where it is clear my uterus is throwing a freaking tantrum at having not gotten pregnant for another month.
When I turned 32 I decided I was sick of tampons and pads and all of the plastic and just the whole show of it all. After 20 years of periods and roughly 6-8 tampons a day, with a 5-7 day period every 28 days (like clockwork, actually) it works out to be approximately 10,000 tampons I have used in my lifetime. TEN THOUSAND TAMPONS. Sure, I use the organic cotton kind but they still come wrapped up in plastic. Not to mention they go into landfill or down the loo (you can flush tampons, I’ve checked with my Plumber Hubby).
Providing you pick the right cup you should not need to change it more often than every 12 hours. That said, if you do experience heavier periods, than you may like to wear a liner on your heavier days. Ideally, the best/cleanest/most hygienic way to change them is in the shower. I have been using mine for around a year now, and only in a few cases of emergency have I needed to use a tampon here and there.
There is no shortage of brands out there, and I have no alignment to any particular product. When you are doing your research though, some of the things you might like to consider are the material, firmness, capacity, size, cup shape, stem design, air holes and quality and safety.
They can be messy (which is why the shower is my go-to), the fitting changes from brand to brand, getting used to inserting the cup can take a bit of practice and trial and error! (this goes for the removal as well), and you do need to maintain your moon cup and ensure you sterilise it correctly.
They’re easy to use, they are convenient, they save costs, there are the environmental benefits, there is no odour, there are health benefits, you don’t need to replace them as often, they’re quite comfortable and they’re movement-friendly!
Biome sells the Diva Cup, which is one of the brands I have used – you can find the link here.
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