The blood isn’t that icky.
MoonCups and similar products have been around for quite a long time now, and I still marvel at the amount of my female friends that have no idea what they are. We are living in the world of technology and the internet. How do you not know?! With regards to women’s health matters, MoonCups are something that really could change things for women, of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles.
I purchased my MoonCup last year in March; this was after I completed a short radio documentary surrounding the UK’s Tampon Tax. I interviewed Laura Coryton, I asked young women around university their thoughts, and did an analysis of the information I collected. One young woman introduced me to MoonCups, a product I had no clue of, and I then questioned why that was.
MoonCup is a product based company which is made by women, for women. Having won multi awards, I was astounded that I had not heard of them before. I looked on the website to find where I could order one myself, only to see that they are sold in Boots. How did I not notice these beautiful little lifesavers?!
I purchased a Size B (for women under 30 years old) MoonCup from Boots for the small fee of £21.00. Once home, I watched the youtube video instructions to see what the general gist of it all was. I was amazed at how simple it looked through the lovely woman showing me how to bend the little silicone cup.
I’ll be honest with you, actually using the MoonCup for the first time took me about 20 minutes.
However, once I popped that thing up there, I couldn’t feel it. I questioned whether I had done it right, and panicked for another 20 minutes thinking I had lost it and would have to do a serious amount of vaginal excercises to get it out.
I googled (modern day cry for help) the right way of insertion; I had done it right. I relaxed, and sat down, still could not feel anything. This was great! I was actually a little bit more comfortable whilst on my period (!), you know, cramps were there still. I read the instructions stating that when I needed to empty my cup, to pull on the stem that just sits outside the labia, and empty the menstrual blood into the toilet, and then wash it out and reinsert. At first I was thinking, Ok, I have a couple of hours until I have to do this, definitely find a bathroom with a sink in there, not a public bathroom. I read the instructions further; depending on the flow of your menstrual flow, you could empty it between 4 and 8 hours.
I walked to my lecture, and sat bored out of my mind for 3 hours. I knew I wouldn’t have to empty for another hour at least, so I told my female friends about my new investment. ‘So you’re gonna like just store it all in that cup and just put it down the loo?’ said one of my friends. ‘Yep, and then I wash it in the sink and reinsert it.’ She looked at me with a puzzled look on her face. ‘You reuse it? What? No! Seriously?… Ok, I want to hear all about it when you do it, please?’
As I sat in a disabled bathroom on the top floor of my building that is nestled away, with a sink perfectly placed by the toilet, I emptied the cup to the toilet. I looked at the contents that had left my body, and looked quizzical. I looked at the redness of the toilet bowl, and marveled in the colour, I spoke to myself aloud.
‘That’s my blood. Not just any blood. Potential baby-making assisting/protecting blood. Magic blood. Moon Blood.’
I rewashed the cup in the sink, clearing the rest of the red away, until it looked spanking new again, and reinserted it (within 7 minutes!). I washed my hands with the soap provided, did a bit of a jiggle to make sure it was up there safely, and exited the bathroom with a smile on my face.
‘How was it?’ said my friend, eagerly awaiting the answer.
The gist of the MoonCup from my first experience is; throughout duration of my period, I mustered the technique of insertion by the 3rd time I needed to change it. The instructions read that the MoonCup can last up to years providing that you clean it and use it properly. Until it splits or breaks, you’re good to go! From reading those instructions; I realised that I had spent £20 on something that will last for years; something that will save me a lot of money through the years. I calculated that if I continued buying Tampax Pearl, I would have spent £27.48 within 12 months. I used to go through at least 1 box per month. The realisation that I would be saving nearly £30 a year on something that I cannot exactly control amazed me, particularly as a student. I had converted.
I will say it clearly, MoonCups are not for every woman. Each woman is different. However, MoonCups are branded as a ‘middle-class product’ or ‘ethically minded.’ I do not think this is the case; there are plenty of reasons why ALL women should simply research them and make a judgement for themselves.
They are eco-friendly; producing much less waste than products such as tampons and pads, which are non-recyclable. Being eco-friendly is something mankind should be looking into more considering the rate of climate change.
It’s discreet; when it’s inside you, you can barely feel it. When not in use, there’s a cute little pouch you can put it in and carry it around as you please in your bag.
There are plenty of health benefits; MoonCups are made from pure silicone. They are not bleached, fragranced or contaminated with God knows what. Due to a legal loophole, tampon and pad companies do not have to disclose what fragrances they use. Also, with the MoonCup you’ll never feel that little pang down there, and you can’t put your finger on what it is. It’s toxic-shock syndrome. Yep, TOXIC.
MoonCups allow you to embrace your menstrual blood. It’s not gross like the stigma usually entails. An incident happened whilst I was in between classes, where a guy I knew studying engineering walked past me with a bloody hand. He had wounded his finger on one of the big machines they have in one of the buildings, used to saw through heavy metal. I grabbed some tissues from my bag, and told him to put the pressure, and asked if I could look at it.
‘You don’t want to see it; there’s blood everywhere, it’s gross,’ he said, as he winced as I moved the tissue back from the wound to replace with fresh one.
‘You know that a lot of blood leaves my vagina every month for about 4 days. I’m kinda used to seeing a lot of blood.’ I replied, as I put a new tissue over the wound as we walked towards the reception desk.
‘Huh, I never thought about it that way.’
This interaction happened about on the 2nd day of my period; using the MoonCup for the first time. I smiled at my own thoughts embracing my body as a woman, who has these mystical, magical moon blood cycles (menstruation, if you want to be technical) and embraced my new way of thinking.
It’s about time we change our way of thinking.