I'm a bit of a creature of habit in some regards, so when I began menstruating in my mid-teens, I learned to manage it strictly with pads for many years (as many also start out doing). After a few years I moved onto tampons + pads. I was comfortable and familiar with this set up.
And then along comes the menstrual cup, here to shake things up in my little bleeding bubble. An option I heard about once in health class, but it was more like 'a cup is an option, go and google it if you want...Now, back to anatomical diagrams' type thing.
So naturally my knowledge on cups was limited, but left and right people around me were rejoicing in its use, cost-saving capabilities, cramp-reducing abilities and how much it saves the earth too.
Let's be frank though, looking at a tampon my brain was like 'Hey yea, you just kind of push it up and it goes in, it's streamlined, tug the rope twice if you want to come out of the cave - I can understand that'.
So I must admit, I was intimidated by the general shape and size of the cup, and just my lack of understanding / familiarity. So when I was graciously gifted a menstrual cup to try out, I was excited, but also hella nervous.
I shamelessly logged and filmed the first-use adventure for your amusement - so if you're thinking about trying out a cup for the first time, this could be a useful resource for you!
If you're ready for some awkward realness, be sure to take a look at the golden screen shots of my face at the end of this lil ol' journal.
The cup is very squishy and pink. This looks friendly and small enough to use. Is it big enough for the amount of blood? I guess we'll wait and see. Shit there's like no instructions...it's just damn anatomical diagrams again. I was ready to make a tea and sit down to read it front to back.
But on the plus side, it collapses flat - that's nifty.
Ok I just inserted the cup for the first time...
Inserting it was an intimate exercise and kind of vague. I'm not 100% sure I nailed it..Will I leak? Is it up far enough? Is it up too far?
It kind of reminds me of using a tampon for the first time, that feeling of " I can feel it inside me, is that normal? The instructions say I shouldn't feel it though."
One thing that low-key takes me out of my comfort zone is the lack of string / external element. Hearing stories when I was young about 'losing your tampon' terrified me from using them, so having a long string was comforting. But with a cup, although less likely to lose, it theoretically would require more fishing around?
My period today was very light, more like spotting than a heavy flow - so it was a good test day for it. I used what's called a 'Punchdown fold' according to this video (so friendly sounding). I didn't really research folding-techniques beforehand and tried to make it as tampon-like as possible by instinct.
I tried using a C-Fold - It was definitely easier to hold it's position whilst trying to get it up there.
I was a bit more aware of what to do after much lovely and helpful advice + tips from dear followers. A few pieces of advice I got were:
- Use a bit of lube if you're having a little trouble getting it in / in position
- When taking out your full cup, try and squat / stick your butt out (basically pretend you're twerking on your toilet), if you stand up straight whilst removing it it'll go down your legs, but if you're angled over a toilet bowl anything that spills will fall into the toilet.
- C-fold is more first-time friendly!
- Tug / pull on the cup once you've inserted to form a vacuum seal.
- Your blood is full of nitrate and very good for the soil, so dilute with water and gift to your plants / nature (damn that's cool)
- Very helpful and resourceful site: Put A Cup In It
This time I made sure to give it a tug when I thought it was inserted to make sure it was 'vacuumed in'. I'm still not 100% sure i've nailed it - I think that's just going to be how it is for a few cycles.
But what I can confirm is: the moment where the cup springs open inside you is so odd! It's like a small but noticeable THUD.
My period is generally its heaviest in the first two days - but this months seems to be a bit wacky - so will report back again after a few months of using the cup.
Although this was a short first impression, I hope it was still valuable if you're thinking of trying out a cup too!
And here it is, in all its glory: my face while attempting to insert the cup for the first time lol