25 June 2016

#GoneGreen2016 | Day 133 | Sustainable Switch: Mooncup Review


Day 133 / 365

Gents, you're welcome to read on, but I guarantee it doesn't much concern you. I had to share the pictorially supported instruction manual for this item with my husfriend after verbal explanation didn't compute, so prepare to have your mind blown if you choose to continue.

The mysterious item I'm awkwardly excited about, is the Mooncup, the belle of the zero waste (menstrual) ball. 

- WHY I MADE THE SUSTAINABLE SWITCH -

I've written before on eco-alternatives to your menstrual needs (here), but as I commit a little further on my personal sustainable switches by attempting to add 'zero waste' to the mix, and thus, inviting the Mooncup into my heart and body, I figured I'd re-touch on the story to share my personal experience.

If I'm honest, I'll have to admit that before this cup purchase I was mostly just wadding up toilet paper for make shift pad alongside the odd organic tampon. Might sound 'ghetto', but(t), as I'm a wearer of thongs, with a life-long exclusive commitment to the t-bar, my options have been limited. 

I've yet to find a pad, organic or otherwise, that isn't super uncomfortable alongside my choice of underwear, and I've also yet to find a reason to shove cotton up my cooch without a fierce flow to dam. Hence the toilet paper routine, perhaps not what dreams are made of, but better than chemically tainted, earth harming, unethical products soaking up my business, or chafing up my inner thighs. 

Since writing my previous article on menstrual options, and jumping in with both feet into the eco-industry, I thought myself a hypocrite to not at least try the cup. After all, my naturopath had been advising me of it since I hit my teens, back when it was a strange unheard of apparatus, so I figured 15 years later wasn't too late to finally take his advice.

I ordered a Moon Cup (choosing that brand for no greater reason than it was the one my naturopath suggested, and I like the word Moon), and eagerly awaited my monthly menstruation. 


- TALES OF AN IGNORANT INSERTER -

I didn't bother to read the instructions before my period arrived, which meant I didn't see that you have to boil the thing before you start putting her in places, so I hadn't prepared myself with a separate pot or anything, but I figured hey, medical-grade unused silicone, how bad can it be? (still don't know the answer).


I think for gentleman folk, the idea of having a blood collecting apparatus all up in the saucepan he uses to boil water for his tea doesn't sit well, and to be fair, I wouldn't want his foot stench collecting apparatus' (socks) all up in my saucepan pot either. 

So I waited til he left and did it anyway, cuz it was too late for games, the flow was real, and I'm a terrible horrible wife.

After it boiled I took it out and let it cool, vigorously washing my hands before I touched it to not 'oppie' it up before I got it all up in my business. Once it was a reasonable temperature , I went into my washroom and gave it a go.

I couldn't get the damn thing to fit. 

Now, there are two sizes, one for women who've had babies (A) and one for women who haven't (B). I had the right sized mooncup, but I guess the wrong sized vagina. 

After a few fails, I started worrying I might drop it in the toilet and would have to re-boil it (with pee on it), so I went into the shower instead to sort myself out. It took me a good 15 minutes to get it where it needed to be - cuz here's the thing - it's bigger and a different shape than a tampon and most of us aren't used to putting cups, silicone or otherwise, in our vaginas. 

To be fair, Mooncup gives you super clear instructions on how to fold it to make it smaller and such, and the lubrication from your blood should make it slide in easier, but for whatever reason, it took some time for us two to jive. 

Once it is in, it pops open and creates a seal customized to your vagina: it adjusts to you, not the other way around (which, less face it, is probably a nice break for her considering most things which enter or exit her holy space, she's expected to adjust to).

There's a little 'tail' which comes down from the bottom of the cup which you use for retrieval and you're meant to cut it to your 'height'. I was scarred by 'loosing' a tampon in the abyss when I was a teen and have since been quite obsessed with knowing where the removal button is. So I left the 'tail' long and carried on.

As it warned on the packaging, this made my bits a bit sore, BUT, apart from the 'tail' which I stubbornly kept long, I couldn't feel the mooncup at all ... unless I did a kegel, then I'd feel that 'tail' I hadn't trimmed, which wasn't really my buddy. Plus, I kept imagining squeezing this cup of blood being squeezed and spilling over like a challis of wine, and then I didn't know what would happen to the blood since there is such a good seal, I guess just fall back into the cup? There's nowhere else for it to go with gravity in charge, so based on these completely uneducated and unproven assumptions, I'd take it easy on the kegles while you flowing. 

To be fair, if you kegle with a tampon on, it  would leak like a sponge and go everywhere. So in the kegle departments, the mooncup wins.

Oh the visuals. 


- TESTING GROUNDS -

I decided to wear a light coloured thong to test if there would be any leakages, to be safe, I put on some black jeans, and rode a Velib to town to meet my Canadian friends who had just arrived after a two-week European road trip.

Half the time I was with them, I was wondering what would happen if the cup overflowed. This is, in hindsight, one example of how disconnected our society and generation is with our bodies. I've been bleeding since I was a teenager and I have absolutely no idea how much I bleed. The mooncup has little measuring marks on it and I feel like, being the expert menstrual-ator that I am, I should have already had some sort of knowledge about the amount of red liquid departing my body each month. 

But I didn't have a clue.

I was out of the house for about eight hours with my friends, enjoying an uncommonly sunny summer day, sufficiently burning our pasty white skin. I remembered that if I wanted to take my menstrual cup out to empty it, I was meant to rinse it with unscented castile soap before I re-inserted it. I also knew you only needed to change it every 10-12 hours as you don't need to worry about toxic shock (mostly because there are no toxins there to shock you). But as it crept up to 10 hours, I started to get nervous. 

Now this is normally easy from home but a little trickier in public restrooms, specifically public restrooms in Paris which are mostly communal (meaning girls and guys share), and usually pretty effing gross, or at last the places I hang out in. 

At about 11 hours in, I started to get paranoid it as getting too full, there was no proof (leakage) this worry was necessary,  but I didn't have the instructions with me and started to question my memory (I don't have internet on my phone when I'm away from wifi so google-ing wasn't an option)

I went down to the toilet, in the basement of the restaurant we were eating at. It was the only one in the place and awkwardly, directly beside the kitchen (I told you, Paris is gross), and tried to take it out. With a good couple tugs and a kind of hilarious 'pop' sound (like the one from the lollypop song), it came out and there at my finger tips was my day's work in blood. 

I looked at it, sort of took a mental note of the measurement and colour, then froze. I didn't know what to do next. I knew I couldn't go out to the sink and rinse it, as the sink was in front of the kitchen where the cooks were cooking, so I dumped it out in the toilet, wrapped it in toilet paper, shoved it in my pocket, made myself one of my trusty make shift toilet paper pads, washed my hands ... then went back upstairs as if  I didn't have a blood stained silicone cup in the pocket of my jeans. 


- BLOOD SISTERS -

Now you might say that is an 'over share', or 'gross', and you might be right, but I only share these details because they are foreign and unspoken between us ladies. Women have been bleeding since the dawn of our species' existenceIt is the menstrual cycle which prepares the body for pregnancy, and therefore human existence, each and every month, since the dawn of our species' existence but we try to both hide and ignore it.

It is a good thing to come in contact with your own menstrual blood, it might take a bit of getting used to, ut seeing the quality and quantity of your blood will increase your connection to your own body and serves as an indication of your overallhealth, it also normalizes the process, both of which are important.

There's nothing 'wrong' with organic pads and tampons, but, Menstrual visits  alone bring an estimated 200,000 tonnes of garbage to the landfill each year and conventional pads and tampons contain plastic chemicals and BPA's that can cause a plethora of unwanted diseases, namely heart disease and cancer. Similar to fabric in clothing, cotton in pads and tampons has traces of pesticides and GMOS which are absorbed into your blood system and can affect your reproductive system. 

So it is worth, for those facts alone, to give the menstrual cup a try. 

After my premier day of mooncup use, I got the hang of it, trimmed the tail, and figured out my own rhythm, entrance and exit strategies, and fell in love with this weird plastic porter.


- WHERE TO GET YOURS -

I bought the MOON CUP,  my fellow Ethical Writer's Coalition gals recommend both the DIVA CUP too. My naturopath in Winnipeg, Dr. Turner, recommends the MOON CUP over the Diva Cup, as does Selva Beatas it offers cleansing accessories without any conflict palm-oil.
*MAKE SURE YOU ORDER THE RIGHT SIZE*
SIZE A (mother's who have given birth vaginally)
SIZE B (those who have not given birth vaginally)

HOW TO CLEAN IT
SOAP (unscented castile soap): DR. BRONNER Baby Unscented Pure Castile Liquid Soap HERE
POT: I bought myself a TINY POT the size of my hand at Ikea, which is dedicated to my mooncup.

[OTHER ECO ALTERNATIVES]
If you're not down with the cup, read my other post on eco / toxic free options HERE


photos: Shane Woodward
sources: 1, 2, 3, 4


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