Monday 19 November 2018

Returning to Tampons - The Time I Lost My Menstrual Cup | #ACupaDay

Over the past year and a bit, I have become reliant on my menstrual cup. Not only that, but I seem to have formed a bit of an emotional attachment to it – I know, that sounds extremely weird, but it’s true. 
My relationship to my period however, changed in October as I started on the combined pill. Yes, I decided to screw with my hormones and see what the results were. My reasons for going on the pill and my experiences of it so far aren’t the main aim of this post, but I’m sure I’ll come back to it at some point. In relation to my cup, the pill added another element of uncertainty to my period – I knew it would start at any moment but had no idea how my body would react, meaning I was on edge for half a week. Because of my constant anticipation and stress, I carried my menstrual cup around in my bag (in its little cotton pouch it came in) for several days. It came with me everywhere – to uni, the library, shopping, society events – and all the time I was paranoid it would fall out of my overpacked bag, as I normally won’t carry it around with me. It seems inevitable almost, that my paranoid checking up on my cup turned out to be not quite so paranoid, and a bit more, well, common sense. 

Yep. That’s right. I’ve officially lost my menstrual cup.

I realized when I got back to my flat later on, when I thought my period might have started, I went to look for my cup in my bag, and it wasn’t there. Obviously, panic ensued. 

Luckily, my period hadn’t actually started (thank you again, paranoia), but I was now almost certainly without cup. So, trying to avoid further panic, I decided to retrace my steps the next day. I went to each place I went (the student bar, Sainsbury’s local, etc.) and asked whether a menstrual cup had been found or handed in. So, that was fun. To be honest with you, once I’d asked one person it was easier asking the rest. As much as I’m used to chatting about my vagina, my period and my menstrual cup on my blog, on Twitter and with friends, or at least people I am comfortable with, it was definitely a different experience talking to total strangers about it. It made me realise that I still have some trepidation about talking about periods – the taboo still remains even in someone like me who talks about my cup at every given chance possible. But along with that realization, it forced me to tackle that and get over whatever barriers I had left. 

In the end, I didn’t find my cup – and as my period was due literally any second, I had to buy a pack of tampons for the first time in over a year. Having to use tampons again simply reminded me of how much I hate them in comparison to my cup (let’s just say my morning yoga was not as comfortable as if I’d been using my cup). They felt uncomfortable and unsanitary (even though they are technically ‘sanitary’ products). I couldn’t ignore everything that I know about them now – the microplastics and toxins... I felt guilty every time I put one in the bin. But I had no choice. I had to relearn how to use tampons again – something I never thought I’d have to again not something I’d actually initially forget how to do.

As soon as I’d lost hope of finding my first menstrual cup, I ordered a new one which I now have safely in one of my drawers. It was odd seeing it there – it still is a bit actually. It’s completely unstained, the bag it came in has different colour strings and the stickers I got with it have different branding. I do miss my old one. I have feel bad whenever I think about it, lying somewhere unused, for years as it gradually degrades. It was in use for a year, so I got some decent use out of it – I saved a decent amount of money and saved a lot of waste – but I nevertheless can’t help the twinge in my stomach when I think about it. 

RIP to my first cup. October 2017 – October 2018. 

If you liked this post you might like: Sustainable Alternatives to the Menstrual Cup

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