Rising of a new Mooncup

With the start of a new year comes a new moon and with a new moon comes the Mooncup. An incredibly tenuous, if not completely unrelatable, linking of January and a sanitary product but I’m sticking with it because I want to talk about the Mooncup. No, I NEED to talk about the Mooncup.

First things first. Do you know what a Mooncup actually is? Have you ever seen one or even heard of it? Are you thinking of using one? About 75% of the people I mention this product to have no idea what I’m talking about but this is all going to change right here right now. With my extensive readership of 7 to 10 people I alone am getting the word out about this important piece of menstrual care.

I’ve long known that tampons are a large contributor to the worlds rapidly ascending rubbish dumps ~ According to the International Coastal cleanup 2013 Ocean Conservancy volunteers collected 27,938 used tampons and applicators on our world’s beaches on a single day ~ So I made a conscious decision ten years ago to stop using applicator tampons ie Tampax and swap to non-applicator tampons ie Lillets. Great that I was reducing my waste in a small part but about four years ago I realised I could reduce it even more.

Step up the Mooncup. I saw it almost quietly mentioned in articles about how to go camping, travelling or to festivals ensuring you didn’t have to take up space in your luggage with non biodegradable tampons or worse, sanitary towels. I will admit I was scared of it. For me it held the same type of fear that a diaphragm always had and still does. I mean how on earth do you get that thing out of you? What if it gets stuck up there like it did for Carrie in Sex and the City and you have to get a friend to stick their hands up your vagina to get it out?

These are rational fears, Ladies, and ones I mulled over for a long time so do not worry if these worries are your worries.  They are allowed. I still desperately wanted to reduce my waste footprint on this earth and so persevered in thinking about using a Mooncup. Little by little, friends {two friends} started to come out of the woodwork who were using them and I got to ask my scared questions. ‘It’s so easy!’ one said ‘It’s educational’ said another. ‘DO IT’ They both cried. So, after a gearing up of nearly three years I finally took the plunge and bought my first Mooncup.

Now, I’m hear to tell the truth about this sanitary product so right off the bat I’m not going to lie to you. Getting used to using a Mooncup is not pretty and it takes time. For at least my first three periods I saw enough blood and ruined enough underwear to put me off for good. But I persevered. I read those instructions back to front. I got used to the strange new sensation of folding a piece of silicone and squishing it so it’ll fit inside you. I got used to pulling it out, in the middle of my cycle, and spilling blood everywhere. I got used to the rancid smell it emits after it’s been in your body for 5-6 hours on a light flow day.

These are the things I have learnt in the last 6 months of using a Mooncup and I pass my wisdom on to you:

  1. Large volumes of blood are a shock to see for the first few times ~ Unless you work in some sort of medical field or, hopefully not, have been in an accident, you’ve probably not seen a large amount of blood. A heavy, full tampon plopping into the toilet bowl beneath you is not the same as pulling out a full Mooncup and pouring that loose blood away. Period blood is really warm and gloopy and also bright raspberry red and shiny and well….wasn’t what I expected. I’m not sure what I was expecting because whatever sanitary products I’d been using had always absorbed my vaginal fluid and whisked it away neatly and quietly and I never had to be confronted by it. ‘It’s educational’ My friend Nat said. Witnessing the blood that comes out of you on a monthly basis IS educational. Take a look. Study it. Try not to spill it on a bath mat, carpet or white towel.
  2. Fishing around in your vagina with long nails is really uncomfortable ~ ‘It is easier to remove or insert the Mooncup if you are squatting. If you cannot reach the Mooncup you will need to use your vaginal muscles to ease the Mooncup down. This is done through a sequence of slow, gentle, downward pushes’ Rapidly heavy breathing and rereading the instructions is what I found myself doing after the first night I spent with a Mooncup in. I COULDN”T REACH IT. There. All my fears confirmed. It was so high up in my vagina that I thought I’d lost it for good. I squatted. I breathed deeply and I beared down hard. I did all of this while reaching up in to my vagina with long nails and it was PAINFUL. Keep those nails short people and try not to panic.  So as you don’t create an uncomfortable suction on your cervix you are supposed to hook your finger over the top of the rim to release the air and pull the piece out of you. When the cup is full you can’t squeeze it otherwise blood goes everywhere…..Well…My first nine attempts saw the bathroom floor a mess.
  3. Only use it when you really have to ~ I know that sounds a strange thing to suggest but it’s for the best. We’re all different in out menstrual cycle and while at the age of 39 mine might not come regularly on the precise day it’s supposed to, it always plays out the same.  Two days of barely there, no flow but still staines your underwear. One full gushing day and night. One full day and a medium night. One barely there, no flow but still staines your underwear day. On those barely there days I was still using the Mooncup and catching nada. What did happen though was she started to smell. WOW! That thing was rancid. Dried, cooked, fishy fish smell on silicone. It is not pretty and when they suggest you boil it on the stove to clean it afterwards I would take that advice seriously.

And that I think is all I need to impart to you about my experiences using the Mooncup. The rest you’ll learn yourself. It’s taken me six months to be able to change it in a public loo {only ones with a sink in the cubicle mind}. It took me a while to work out how not to use half a roll of loo paper when changing one thus making my whole ‘It’s better for the environment’ argument redundant. And I’ve learnt that I should only wear black underwear whilst on my period so I can’t see the mess I’m making.

I urge you to give the Mooncup a go. My stories here are things I survived through and were only initial obstacles. I got past them. It’s easy. Any other tips and tricks from fellow Mooncup users? Let’s share our knowledge about our monthly cycles and help each other out. You know what they say? Blood is thicker than water…..Another tenuous link but again I’m sticking with it.

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