Please to know: This post is going to be borderline TMI as I am going to discuss my monthly menstrual cycle. If this freaks you out, grosses you out or dispels the rumor that the sun does indeed shine from down there, stop reading this post and check out any other post like this one or this one.
It's known by many names...the curse (my grandmother's favorite), your monthly visitor, Aunt Flo and my favorite: surfing the crimson wave (kidding; I've never uttered that phrase). But whatever you call every 28 days or so its time for it IT.
IT is the monthly cycle that can determine fashion (no light colors), is accompanied by a variety of symptoms: mood swings (remember that episode of Roseanne?), bloating and the desire to eat chocolate covered salt, irritability and fatigue. It's something I've dealt with and just accepted as something that I would have to put up with until mid life or so as each month I dutifully purchase supplies and try to quell the urge to slap people while eating chips.
Despite having a young mom and a younger aunt, my sister and I were taught the basics of how to keep ourselves sanitary and that was that. My aunt did have a copy of Our Bodies, Our Selves but that wasn't quite as titillating as the Jackie Collins book she had hidden on her bookcase so Our Bodies lay abandoned in the pile of text books my aunt ALWAYS seemed to have. It wasn't until high school and an eccentric teacher by the name of Ms. Tittles. Ms. Tittles had the infamous distinction of being a feminist type who would order us to know ourselves. Not in a Divines* type of way or a creepy "she wanted to be there" type of way but in that "Our Bodies, Our Selves" type of way that encourages women to educate themselves about the ins and outs of their bodies.
At the time I just couldn't deal. My sixteen year old self would sit in class and cringe, hoping, praying, that she would avoid calling me and and knowing that I would never take her advice. I was not a look at my body type of chick. I am still not quite as comfortable as I'd like to be as master of my domain but the older I get the more I know that there is nothing wrong with my body and well, after giving birth my body is not disgusting but a powerful machine. But really, my period is still viewed as a pain in the ass. It's an inconvenience, its messy and I don't like it. Screw feeling empowered...my thoughts are that if I could make it easier I totally would.
Enter the Diva Cup.
At the Digital Family Summit I was able to meet Nancy who does social media for The Diva Cup and she listened to all of my questions, chatted with me for a while about what I could expect and gave me a cup to sample. When my cycle started I was kind of excited...I would get to use the cup and see if it was worth the hype.
I'm a believer. After a lifetime of sanitary napkins, worrying about leaking, carrying supplies, I am ecstatic to say that I will happily give them up for this new protection. The first time I used the cup there was a bit of a learning curve. I read the instructions several times before I felt confident enough to give it a go. But that first day...because I wasn't sure if I inserted it correctly, I obsessively visited the ladies room to check things and ensure that there were no accidents.
Although inserted like a tampon, the cup isn't drying or uncomfortable as tampons make me feel. The cup sits comfortably and I forgot I was wearing it after a while. The idea of handling my own, err, body fluids did/does take some getting used to. I won't lie; the first time I emptied the cup I was ready to chuck the whole idea and go back to what was familiar and what I knew. Let's just say I was not quite as in awe of my body and what it does but more skeeved than I want to admit. However in using the cup I was not quite as freaked out about handling it and am loving the idea of only having to use one item during this time of the month.
Pros:-The cup can be worn up to 12 hours.
Awesome! Depending on your flow you may want to check it more often. The first few days of wear I checked obsessively but after a while I was confident that it wouldn't leak.
I have to say each month I am always worried that I smell but this month I didn't feel like that distinct smell wafted from me. The cup keeps it all inside as opposed to a pad that catches it.
Pads can be bulky and a literal pain. Tampons can be drying and irritating. With the cup I never felt discomfort or pain. I would forget that I was using it at times.
Cons-You must be comfortable dealing with your own fluids.
I can't sugar coat this. I was really ready to chuck the whole thing the first time I used it because, well it was pretty nasty. After repeated use it was much better.
-You must be comfortable with YOUR body.
You will be up close and personal with your own body.
-How to deal in public.
At home it was easier for me to rinse and clean the cup but in public I haven't quite figured a method for this. Luckily the cup can be worn for up to 12 hours so I was able to wear it for an extended amount of time
Although I was given one for free I have seen the cost anywhere from 25 to 40 dollars. I think that this will even out in the long run depending on how much you spend on supplies each month.
I still don't look forward to that time of the month (which, as I get older seems to have gone from 3-5 days to like an event that lasts up to two weeks. The symptoms and junk) but this makes it much more bearable.
Check out The Diva Cup site for more information.
Please note...I am using an Amazon Affiliate link for The Diva Cup in this post.
Also, while I was given a DivaCup to try, there was no compensation or request for this post. I enjoyed the product and wanted to spread the word.
*Not this kind of Touch Myself although no judging if you do.