Very often, when I’m going through the motions of the day, I stop to marvel at the ingenuity of some human invention. Sometimes, it is the hot water geyser (is there anything more luxurious than a hot bath?), sometimes the steam iron (like when did we humans decide that it was important and possible to get rid of the creases in our clothes?) And these are not even the most brilliant of inventions but just looking at these things makes me revel in the joys and possibilities of being human (because sometimes just the news is enough to make me despair about the lowly nature of humans).
And so a few months ago I stumbled upon the humble menstrual cup, which, from the details on the box has been around since 1932! My friend Priyanka who is always the first one to summon the courage to try anything new, told me about it and about the website hygieneandyou. This is a fantastic website that recommends a brand for you based on your body type, activities etc. and has many useful videos on the insertion, removal use and so on.
I went with the ‘Me Luna’, a German make and chose a cup in my favorite orange. Since I am a big scaredy-cat with a low pain threshold, I made sure the husband was around (Mummy will give me a withering look at this and say “Aaj kal chya Mulina saarkhe navre lagtat!” and it’s true haha).
I almost could not bring myself to insert it but I grit my teeth and thought of Rumi and of birthing her (my favourite fear-beating trick) and went ahead. And it really was not hard or terrible at all. It took a few attempts to insert it completely but once it was inside, it was amazingly non-intrusive and comfortable. And the best part came later with a comfortable, leakage-free night’s sleep where I could sleep on my tummy as opposed to the stiff ‘saavdhaan’ stance that I am forced to normally torture myself in. Because of my heavy bleeding, I invariably have to wake up feeling sticky and wet and thoroughly uncomfortable, only to face another long day in washing, cleaning, avoiding sitting down anywhere and looking for Rumi’s rubber sheets to spread on the bed but all that felt like ancient history with the cup!
I could move about freely, dance, hop, skip and jump and did not have to bother removing the cup for about 8 hours. Removal is fairly straightforward, once you get that technique of pinching the side of the cup to sort of ‘pop’ it and break the vacuum. I did have one sort of malfunction where I had confidently pushed the cup quite high and could not locate the stem to remove it. But the trick is really to stay calm so that your muscles are relaxed, and it does get easy with practice.
Women, I cannot recommend the cup enough! And as I repeatedly say, if I can, you definitely can! Just make up your mind to move past the initial trepidation and be willing to practice a few times. It will change your life and cycle! From being that week of the month that I dread, my period became something very comfortable and unobtrusive; something that did not interfere at all with my day (no more scrubbing clothes in the bathroom, yay!).
I was willing to give the menstrual cup a chance for the sake of the environment but I was bowled over by the comfort and convenience. Some tips and tricks that may make things easier for first time users: being in the shower helps. The idea is to relax your muscles as much as you can and use the water as a lubricant. Squatting on the floor works best for the first time attempt. There are loads of videos on YouTube and persistence is key. Please do give the cup a chance and see how it changes your life; join me and become a Cupvert!