While growing up, I always saw that Menstruation was a topic that was spoken about in hushed tones. Be it sharing the news that a little girl has grown up (yes, this is what is exactly said), knowing smiles from aunties, discussion among jethis and mashi about how being a girl is about enduring pain. Your teachers are very considerate and kind and tell you to be discrete about this new development. You have of course been told what it is in some of the strangest ways possible. It is bad blood that the body has to throw away, it happens to girls so that they can become woman and have children, it is God's will that you will have to go through the pain and discomfort and try not to complain. After all, a girl is born to suffer. You are not supposed to talk about it to your father or the other male members in the family or to boys at school. You can just' whisper' and pretend to 'stayfree'.
Thankfully, the conversations are changing today. We no more have to hide the napkins or feel awkward to talk about period cramps. The conversations are changing, the mind sets are changing and we are working to get rid of the taboos and the myths. I for sure will not be telling Ira that it is bad blood leaving the body! There is a lot more happening to spread awareness about menstrual health. We have informative health portals, where people are sharing their thoughts and experiences. Aditi Gupta, the founder of Menstrupedia has relentlessly been campaigning about menstrual health and hygiene. The first time I visited this blog, I felt so happy and relieved that someone was addressing the health concerns and the taboos and doing it the right way. The advertisements today are less discrete though the white trousers and blue liquid on pads reign the screen. There are massive efforts towards educating girls in villages about menstrual health. The story of Padma Shri Arunachalam Muruganantham, the social entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu who created low cost sanitary pads and changed lives. Two years back, I read about the sustainable menstruation campaign, where women were urged to shift to cloth pads and menstrual cups. EcoFemme has cloth pads that help you shift to sustainable and more Eco friendly ways to handle menstruation.
January for me has been about making some changes to my life and shifting to the cup has been one such change. Prashant told me about the cup almost two years ago and then another close friend who has been using it also told me about the benefits. While I was sold on the idea, I just couldn't muster up the courage to make the transition. This month, talking to a confidante who was just taking the plunge gave me the final push. She later said we are cup sisters (only women can come up with names like this!). We were ordering it from Boondh. Of course, this involved reading up all over again about the benefits and such, dos and don'ts. It's amazing the colour choices that are available. Happy to have cupverted in 2017! The menstrual cup brands are boondh, she cup, moon cup, the diva cup, lunette and the keeper.
So, stating some of the obvious advantages and some challenges.
1. It is good for the environment. You as an individual are creating less sanitary waste.
2. It is less cumbersome. No need to worry about carrying a newspaper to dispose the napkin or the tampon. Most bathrooms in public places still don't have dustbins.
3. It is comfortable and easy to use as long as you follow the technique and within a cycle or two, I am sure it will only get better. Understand your body and how it is reacting to the cup.
4. You don't have to worry about that nasty cough or sneeze and that weird feeling of 'flooding'. The cup is snug and works well.
5. You can swim, exercise and lead an active lifestyle wearing the cup.
6. No worries about rashes due to napkins. This is a big plus.
There are however some things to keep in mind.
1. It will take some time getting used to it. I shifted from napkins to tampons to the cup and the transition was fine. But I was still nervous. Also, essential to choose the right size or choose a brand that makes an average size fit for all.
2. It is not as hands free as using a napkin or a tampon. Also, it is honestly a little messy when you empty the cup. But again, you will get used to it.
3. You will need a decent bathroom with water supply when you are on your periods and using the cup. Lot of hand wash too, as you have to wash your hands and the cup properly.
4. All manuals claim that it lasts for longer than the napkins. It does. However, for a heavy bleeder, it can get almost full in 6 hours in the first two days.
5. People who are allergic to silicone, who have a IUD and those who have a history of toxic shock syndrome cannot use the cup (from the user manual).
6. Any change is challenging and the mind and body needs time to adjust to the change. Essential we give it that time.
So, to all the ladies out there. Give the cup a chance, it does make life better. #cupvert2017 #boondh #lettheconversationsbegin #menstrualhealth #menstrualhygiene #sustainablemenstruation #menstrualcup #periods #embracechange