Mother Nature gave us the most beautiful gift, to bare children. When we’re not baring children, we are baring the pain of the flow. Menstrual Periods. That once a month, if you’re regular, 7 day flow.
Without knowing more than what was advertised in magazines, I was offered a panty liner and tampons from a supermarket when I first started bleeding. I was fortunate to be a late bloomer and heard many stories from my friends about what was healthy and what was not for sanitary items.
I came to learn about toxic shock syndrome when a High School student passed away from wearing her tampon for too long. That’s when I decided to look into other ways to prevent myself from harm.
I chose organic products over ordinary commercial brands but I still didn’t feel comfortable. Inserting a product made in a factory out of fibres which could potentially collect other matters just didn’t sit well with me. That’s when I heard about this little silicone cup shaped flow catcher.
The Menstrual Cup
Comparing the cost, it is financially achievable to have a reusable sanitary item. It cost me $35 from Chemist Warehouse for a Diva Cup. Where organic pads and liners would cost around $240 per year, based on 12 cycles. If I went for a cheap version, which is the most unhealthy in my views, it would cost around $120. Already we can see how the menstrual cup is much more affordable. Though, is it more convenient?
The idea of using the cup was exciting. I was confident to give it a go and report back to Intimacy TV headquarters. However, I had no idea of the pressure I was going to face with each insert.
The little booklet with instructions in the box drained my life. I tossed it in the bin and called a friend. She guided me on the phone as I folded the cup, pushed it into my vagina, twisted it, then having to put my phone on loudspeaker because I actually needed both hands to drive this silicone cup up to make sure it was in place.
I had to sacrifice my manicured long nails each month with a clip so that I wouldn’t pierce my inner labia. I had to run my fingers around the rim to make sure there weren’t any gaps to prevent leakage. The whole experience was an eye opener.
Once I got it in place, after a few trial and errors, my day went back to normality. Until the moment my cup was full. Each morning was a breeze, in the shower, I would shove my fingers in, pull it out and empty it. Cleaning it and re-inserting was a piece of cake. Doing it in my bathroom was ok as my sink was close. Though, when I was out, I became accustomed to my own routine. I poured my flow in the toilet, shoved a bunch of toilet paper between my legs, wrapped the cup with paper, dressed and then made my way to the sink to clean the cup ready to re-insert.
Thing is, you never know when you’re going to overfill your cup. It took me 4 months of using it to know that my second to fourth days were my heaviest and I needed to change it every two hours! So much for living an active life during those days.
But that’s the thing, we have forgotten about the gift of the flow. The gift of rest.
Honouring The Flow
We’ve lost the essence of honouring the flow of menstrual cycles. Our ancestors would have taken time out, stayed home, not worked and allowed themselves to bleed all day without having to feel embarrassed. However, life has changed for us. Just because our period starts, it doesn’t mean our life stops. Though, one tribe has a custom that got it right; Native Americans. They honour the flow.
This is the time we should slow down, rest and reflect. The greatest ideas stem from these moments. I’m not saying to completely stop what you are doing. I’m suggesting to do less or just do what is necessary. Going over and above can play havoc on the body. Prepare meals days prior to the arrival. Have the house in order, all clothing sorted and the fridge filled. That way, everyone in your home can honour it together. That includes partners and children.
When I first learnt about this, I practised with my daughter and the man that was in my life at the time. We sat together each evening on the couch with a cup of tea and relaxed. We worked our scheduled hours without doing overtime. We didn’t make plans to leave the house and we enjoyed home living.
My daughter would bake and felt honoured to spoil me with her amazing chocolate cupcakes. Everyone in the home learnt that preparing before my flow was going to give us all a week of relaxation. Since then, she now unloads the dishwasher everyday. She folds clothes with me and she even puts hers away. See, a small act of honour now has become a daily ritual.
Each night, I wore the menstrual cup with ease. I had the best first sleep since my teens. I could lie on my stomach and back without worrying about blood dripping onto my sheets. The cup is designed to be worn no more than 12 hours. There were some moments of leakage when I left it in too long. That’s when I looked into reusable panty liners.
The Reusable Panty Liner
There are so many different styles on offer. I chose to try two styles. The Hannah Pad Organic Pantyliner which had winged clips to hold the liner in place. I would keep a bucket of water with laundry liquid in the laundry to soak each liner per day. They are designed to wear on their own when wanting to give the cup a break, like on the lighter days. Though, I wore one per day to help prevent staining my underwear when I used the cup.
The second sanitary liner I experimented with was the ModiBodi. It’s known to be used alone, on heavy period days and overnight for protecting your white sheets. I liked it for the free flow. After working my scheduled day, with no overtime, I’d have a shower, freed myself from the cup, wore the ModiBodi, served up a prepared dinner and then rested on the couch.
I highly recommend both sanitary items, though they come at a cost. The Hannah Pad were $28 for two liners to be posted. The order of one ModiBodi came to $45 including postage. Even though the outlay at the start looks expensive, when you add it together, it only costs around $108 for a beginner. And that’s all you pay for the year, which is used every year. They all last for a long time if you look after them well.
I’ve had some women tell me their cup started smelling and changing colour to a deep burgundy. I never experienced this. However, I boiled my cup at the end of each cycle in Bicarbonate Soda. I always cleaned it between emptying with hand sanitiser and rinsed it really well.
My personal theory on why some cups smell and change colour is the toxins within our body. Look at what you are eating and drinking. I live a plant-based lifestyle. I only drink water or organic herbal loose leaf teas. I focus on creating a balanced alkaline body. If you experience your cup changing, maybe your body is imbalanced and more acidic. Changing your diet would be ideal and you’ll also start to notice a less painful period.
I wanted to write about sexual pleasure with a menstruated cup. Though, I did not have a partner to experiment this with as part of my investigation. I have been told that many women have enjoyed foreplay and their partners have never known the cup was inside. It out-does the typical tampon string getting in the way. Or having to tuck the string inside never to be found. I would have to agree. When I inserted the cup perfectly, the outside area would stay clean.
I’m thankful for moving away from commercial sanitary items with now using reusable and organic products. I could never go back. If you’d like to know more information in how to become a cup queen, comment at the bottom of this article. I look forward to hearing your stories too.
Based in the northern area of Melbourne, Australia, Lisa Jane is an aspiring humanitarian, with her magnetic smile
Lisa Jane hosts a quirky podcast show with life mentors a-like making sense of what it means to be a parent, partner and lover in modern society whilst staying true to yourself.
Lisa Jane has a workshop; Retreat with Lisa Jane, both online and live. She bridges the gap between Science and Beauty. With hands-on activities, simple strategies and techniques that helped her to get to where she is today; she shares with you a way you can get to where you want to be too. She never forgets self-care, so with that in mind, once you step into her workshop retreat, you are taken care of as if you are a guest in her own home.