Here is my story.
It all began a few months ago, when a visit to the office washroom caused a chill to run down my spine. The sights that a lady has to bear while entering a toilet booth in India can make even an Egyptian Mummy sick! I am sure the reader will not want me to get in to the gory details of what I witnessed that day. That sight triggered a thought in my mind about how my organization and my city handle sanitary waste management.
I wrote a long post on this topic on a 30,000 women strong Facebook group called PULA (Pune Ladies) with the intention to find ways to dispose the sanitary waste in a much eco friendly manner The answers which I got were average and not as satisfactory as I would have wanted them to be. I shared the same post on another group called Sustainable Menstruation India.
I was overwhelmed at the response received and it was here that I got introduced to the concept of menstrual cups.
I was actually ‘pounded’ in to transitioning my belief that sustainable menstruation did not mean sanitary waste disposal, rather it is the fact that women are introduced to easier, nature and pocket friendly means of menstruation.
The next 2 months went buy in browsing through every conceivable video on the usage of Menstrual Cups on Youtube and driving my online mentor Priyanka to the last limits of her sanity with my questions. Finally, on Priyanka’s suggestion I bought the cup which arrived within 5 days of placing my order.
Next began the wait for my period. Trust me, I do not think that there is any lady whose period date has been so eagerly awaited by an online Facebook group of 30,000 ladies! My period date became a point of discussion and its delay caused palpitations across many female hearts!
Finally after keeping me on the tenterhooks for 72 hours, the glorified Period arrived.
Thanks to Youtube videos, inserting the cup was a piece of cake. However, since it was my first time and I usually do not trust easily and put all my eggs in one basket, I took the safety of a pad. What a waste it was! Rest as they say is history.
I started because I was seeking ways of reducing the sanitary waste that goes in to land fills and because I think we women have become ignorant to the woes of the support staff who have to clean up our toilets and segregate our waste.
It is easy to put all women on a single pedestal on 8th March and then for the rest of 364 days, some women go through the horrendous task of cleaning up after others. If I can stop adding to the dump, I will be happy to have contributed to the change.
Another honest reason for moving to cups is the fact that I do not have to stow away ugly packets of sanitary napkins when I travel.
Secondly, I do not understand the logic behind women not being allowed in religious places. God made me with his own hands. He knows my anatomy, my body inside out. If making me did not make God impure or reduce his God-powers, by what logic does my proximity to God during my period, reduce his power or make him impure, based on what happens in my underpants (I am itching to use the Hindi name), once a month for 5 days?
Below is my detailed list of observations after completing 2 cycles with my dear blue cup.
1. Completed 2 cycles without disposable sanitary napkins
2. I had no issues inserting the cup inside me -thanks to Youtube and a couple mentors.
3. I pee, poo, bath, sleep with the cup inside me
4. I do not wear any liners at all
5. 2 period cycles, and I have forgotten what cramps used to feel like
6. I clean my cup easily inside the toilet booths in both public and home toilets
7. No more smell, no more rashes, no more yucky views each time I go to use the washroom
8. No more addition from my side to the garbage dumps
9. I have saved money on Sanitary napkins – I used to use 4 packs of Whisper XXXL (yes I am pretty well endowed) which used to cost me a bomb!
10. I am a working professional, who travels long hours and rides a bike and works very crazy hours – absolutely no issues with my dear blue cup at all till date
11. I sometimes forget that I am having my period
12. I don’t feel the cup inside me at all – no, not even while running, exercising and driving my bike
13. I wear what ever color I want to wear
14. No more stains on my underwear
15. Cleaning and storing the cup is super easy between 2 cycles, similar to how we sterlize baby bottles
16. During the period, after every 3 – 4 hours, I simply empty the cup in the toilet and rinse it well with the hand flush or a mug of water and insert it back in
17. In comparison to the amount of money I used to waste on sanitary napkins month on month, the price of this cup is dirt cheap
I wish many more ladies from all walks of life and of all shapes and sizes transition to cups and cloth pads soon.
Happy Periods to all the women out there! Go on, make the switch, it is a better gift to your self than Diamonds and Chocolates!
Saumye Dahake- An eager and zealous ambassador for menstrual cups and cloth pads.