It started innocent enough. I wanted to know what the best and cleanest tampons were. Our vaginas are absorbent and that means they absorb chemicals too. When you regularly use a product, you want to make sure it’s safe, right? Our CEO, Brianna Simoens, thought we should do a testing of tampons like our mascara article. So, we went from mascara right to vaginas. I needed some help. I asked our Wellness Way Ladies across the country what their favorite tampons were, but their answer wasn’t tampons it was the Diva Cup. None of them named a tampon instead they all wanted to talk about the menstrual cup. Those healthy rebels!
Me checking in with my friend who was trying the cup for the first time.
That’s what started it all. My adventures with the cup, or what will now be known as one of my most awkward vagina moments. Ever! Right up there with the time my nurse practitioner told me I had a beautiful vagina. What do you say after someone tells you that you have a beautiful vagina? Thank you? But life doesn’t limit you to just one awkward vagina moment. If you live long enough, there are many. Another thing to be thankful for!
I wasn’t feeling too thankful for the idea of trying a menstrual cup! I was nervous, but The Wellness Way fam was excited and extremely loyal about their cups. There are a lot of advantages to the cup such as convenience, low-cost, environmentally-friendly and you put it in and don’t worry about it for 12 hours. I read articles and reviews. Some people loved it and some people had a hard time getting it out. I asked the die-hard cup users… What if I lose my cup up there?!! They looked at me with those “bless your cup-virgin heart” eyes and said, “Bah, you have nothing to worry about.”
Researching the Cup
After more research and rereading the reviews, I still wasn’t so sure. I texted friends to see how their cup trials were going to get the scoop. They seemed like they were overall taking it in stride. I talked to the ladies around the office who all advised that you have to be VERY comfortable with yourself. I’m very comfortable with myself. Of course, I’m comfortable with myself. This will be O.K.
I checked in with a few friends to see how their first times with the cup were going. Of course, I let my friends try it first!
I took the quiz at putacupinit.com to find out what was the best fit for my vagina. There were a bunch of questions to help me find the right menstrual cup for me like how active you are and how heavy your flow is. It asked if I had a high or low cervix…uhm am I bad vagina owner if I’m not sure? Was that in my vagina manual? I’m not really sure, but it didn’t matter because I didn’t order the cup they recommended. It was a very spontaneous cup purchase when I was feeling adventurous and happened to have just gotten my period.
After getting my new cup home and I read the directions a few times. There was a plastic, nubby tail at the bottom of the cup which looked like it would feel uncomfortable and pokey. I wasn’t too sure but willing to see. I boiled my new cup, which you also have to do between periods. It felt weird putting something that goes in your vagina in a pot on the stove. “Whatcha cooking babe?”
It could be worth it to save money on tampons and the trip to the store. The directions recommended new users try it out during the day, so I put my new cup on a towel and waited until the next morning to give it a go.
Getting Started with the Cup
It was a good morning to start. I had a little extra time, which I needed because it was totally awkward. The directions had two different ways to fold the cup and I tried the one that made the top the smallest. That seemed like the best option but for some reason it kept flopping open and hitting my lady bits in a most awkward way. Remember this is all while I have my period too which is a little messy. So, I tried folding it the other way. I might be too clumsy for this.
I sat on the toilet remembering back to high school and how it felt to put a tampon in for the first time. This might be more awkward. I had to keep trying because I have a daughter and someday I want to make sure I can give her the best advice on everything menstrual. The cup does seem like it would be great option. Very environmental and a lower, long-term cost than tampon options. I took a deep breath and kept trying. After a many tries and different positions both on the toilet and in the shower, I got it in. I mean I felt like I got it in. Is that how it’s supposed to be?
This is the moment I was waiting for and I felt… nothing. Surprisingly, it didn’t really feel like anything was there. I remember thinking this could be kind of cool. I have my period but no awkward string hanging out and the little nubby tail at the bottom of the cup wasn’t poking me at all.
It’s in! Menstrual Cup Lovers Are Right!
I waited a bit to see if anything happened… went to the bathroom. Nope nothing. What did I do then? I grabbed my daughter and said let’s do some hiking and then head to the beach. We grabbed our beach gear and were off.
We were an hour down the road before I realized I was so confident in my new cup I didn’t even grab a back-up. Would I regret this choice? It was too late to turn back. My friends did tell me you just put the cup in and forget it. So, that’s what I did. We hiked and then we went to jump in the waves at the beach. It really was great, and I didn’t worry about my period. We just had fun! I can see why cup users love it.
Return to Awkwardness
I didn’t think about it again until it was time to take it out. That’s when it got even more awkward. The removal directions said to use your thumb and your fingers to pull the little tail down. There was a moment that I couldn’t find it. My heart sank. Then I found it! I could barely reach it with my longest finger. And it wasn’t able to do much just push around the nubby tail. I wondered if I was going to push it further up. Is this why the survey asked about the high cervix? I read the directions and it said to bare down like you were making a bowel movement. I tried this. And went back in again wishing my yoga class made me nimbler. It didn’t come down. So, I tried again. Over and over.
That’s when there was a knock at the door, “Mom, what are you doing in there.” Uh, just stuff. Can I get some privacy? After many tries, I was starting to imagine myself going to the E.R. to have a cup removed. I was going to be the most talked about E.R. visit of the week! I was getting stressed and I wished I had softer nails. For the first time I was hating the good genetics that gave me beautiful, hard nails! I had even trimmed them for this.
It was time for a break. If I was going to the E.R. I could do that later. One of my friends offered to send me a video of what to do with your fingers. Thanks, that would be great if I could reach it! This wasn’t helping. I remember thinking I’m never doing this again!
Time to Calm Down
So, I took some time to calm down and look at some nature photos. After I was calm, I realized I married a wonderful guy who would help me if I needed it. He has seen me at my worst and I did give him a baby so, really, it was the least he could do. So, I wasn’t going to have to go to the E.R. He is tall which means he has long fingers, it’s going to be O.K. Mortifying but O.K.
I went back to the toilet. The cup had come down where I could just reach it. It wasn’t graceful, but I got that sucker out. I felt so much relief. Luckily, I was graceful enough not to spill all over, but there is some natural mess from digging up in there. I dumped the contents in the toilet and rinsed it out. Put it on a towel and wondered if I would try again tomorrow. Time for bed with a good, old-reliable tampon.
What We Learn from My Awkward Experience
I got up for yoga the next morning and looked at the cup. It would be nice not to worry about my period all day especially during yoga. But I said, Nah not today. There is always next month. I don’t have to be a cup pro right away. Later, I retook the cup quiz and felt more informed having had a menstrual cup experience. Yes, I have a high cervix. This time the quiz recommended the Lily Cup and that based on my answers I should choose a longer cup for easier removal. I talked to my friend who recommended the quiz and she needs a short cup that holds more for her short cervix. We are all different!
What can you learn from my awkward attempt at using the cup? Well, if you are one of those polished, graceful people this will probably go much easier for you. The rewards will be a low-cost and convenient way to not have to worry about your period. The directions did say it would take a couple periods to get used to it. Like anything, there is a learning curve. If you are awkward and ungraceful like me? Find comfort. You are not alone, and rest assured, that cup will eventually come out.
Written By Dawn Miller