Menstrual Cups – Riding the (red) Wave of the Future

- min read

I am afraid of everything. Before the Ruby Cup made its way into our hearts (and other body parts), it first made an appearance on the desk of my colleague who was just about to interview Maxie and Eva for our blog. We stared at the inviting pink package with wide-eyed interest – and the odd giggle – as its function was explained. Collectively we were intrigued. I immediately feared it.

As an office made up of 40% women, most of us could understand the implications. This was something that could change our lives for the better one month at a time. Until this fateful day my knowledge of menstrual cups was mostly limited to the fact that they existed. That, and a distinct memory of a conversation between my aunts… Ever since the birth of my cousin, my Aunt S had suffered from terrible periods and was always looking for a better way to deal with this monthly menace.

“I tried a menstrual cup this month,” she once reported. She was generally always straight to the point. “Any luck?” I replied with genuine interest and only slight apprehension. “It was like trying to stick a cup up my vagina.” Did I mention she was often straight to the point?

Armed with such limited information, my first instinct wasn’t to volunteer my body for testing. That is, until we met with the minds behind Ruby Cup. Maxie and Eva sat with us over afternoon coffee and told us about their product. They explained the social impact it was having in Africa as it encouraged women to educate themselves about their bodies. I was particularly touched by their vision that no woman should have to be ashamed, or embarrassed about something natural. They explained the cost-effectiveness and eco-friendliness of menstrual cups which can last up to 10 years. And on top of all that, made of 100% medical grade silicone, they’re way safer.

Featured prominently atop my list of unreasonable fears and anxieties was Toxic Shock Syndrome, notorious for plaguing my mom’s second cousin’s sister’s mother-in-law’s cousin back in 1963. Or maybe it was her third cousin? Who can remember the details? I convinced myself monthly that brought on by tampons, this dangerous bacterial infection would certainly be the beginning of the end. Since Ruby Cups neatly erased this threat, I could happily dedicate my time to the next fear on my list – deadly food poisoning. While the logistics of inserting the cup made my stomach churn, the thought of ending my monthly TSS panic attack (fueled by the symptoms page on WebMD) was extremely appealing.

As our conversation came to an end I told myself to be brave and test the Ruby Cup. Not only for myself but for the company and most importantly, for all woman kind! I would try it and tell the world, and they would listen because it would be great and life-changing! I just had one more question: As Maxie and Eva went inside to return their mugs I leaned over to my colleague;

“What if it gets stuck?”
“It doesn’t get stuck.”
“What if it does?”
“It doesn’t.”
“Ask them if it ever gets stuck.”
“It doesn’t.”
“Ask them what I should do if it gets stuck.”
“No!”
“Are you going to help me when it gets stuck and I cry?”
“Stop.”

Maxie and Eva returned and we smiled.

“So, are we all done?” they asked. I poked my colleague begging her to ask. “Yep, I’ll show you out.” She was ignoring me. I was in this alone.

As my period began later that month it was accompanied with the usual sense of dread and a less usual sense of excitement; kind of like the feeling of getting a new toy, and finally being allowed to play with it. I took my Ruby Cup into the bathroom, placed it next to the sink, and stared at it. I had already memorised the instructions, watched the informational video and read, and reread my favorite bit of the Ruby Cup website: “It is not physically possible for Ruby Cup to get lost inside the body due to the female anatomy,” it promised. I was ready. 10 minutes later the cup was still in its box and I was still staring at it. I called my Mom.

“What’s wrong?” She sounded sleepy. I had remembered the 6 hour time difference, but disregarded it in my time of crisis.
“Nothing, how are you?”
“It’s 5am.”
“Have you ever used a menstrual cup?”
“No, what is that?”
I quickly texted her the link to the Ruby Cup website. I could tell she was reading.
“Sounds interesting, so, did you try it?”
“I am afraid it will get stuck.”
“It says it doesn’t get stuck.”
“I’m still afraid.”
“Then don’t use it.”
“But I want to.”
“I am going back to bed.” As she hung up the phone I knew it was time. I looked at the pink box.

“I am not afraid of you!” I said out loud. And with that I removed the cup from its box and went about testing all the folding methods I had learned to find one that was right for me. I was shocked when within five minutes I was successful. Inserting it had really not been so difficult, but I found my bigger concern was worrying that it was in wrong, or would leak.

I spent the day trying to act normal, though I couldn’t fight the urge to tell all my friends I was trying it out, and “bravely” partaking in an “experiment for science” (or something). As the day wore on I really was impressed. I didn’t feel the cup at all, there was no discomfort, and I didn’t have to change it, which was especially nice for spending the whole day outside. Still, there was the ever present knowledge that at some point, soon, I would need to take it out.

When the day was over I returned to the bathroom. It was now. Maxie had mentioned the most important facet of removal: “Stay calm”. This – shockingly – is not my best trait. But I had fallen in love with the cup! I didn’t feel it, it hadn’t leaked, I would no longer have to buy and carry tons of tampons, and I would never again be forced to run to the bathroom every few hours even if I didn’t have to pee.

I had to give it the absolute best shot. I had to remain calm.

I did just that and was easily able to remove it. I had worried for nothing! The cup was right where I had left it. I can absolutely see how this could be a struggle if I had been nervous, if I tensed up, or if I resigned myself to just leave it in forever, but staying calm was literally the best advice I could have received.

After successfully removing the cup once, I was cured of my fear. It wasn’t going to get stuck and I could always take it out when I needed to. After all, where did I think it was going wander off to? While I didn’t find insertion and removal quite as quick as a tampon, the time saved by not having to change it was more than enough to make up for it. After successfully using it I was thrilled, excited, relieved, but most of all, converted!

I left the bathroom and strutted to the living room triumphantly. “I will never use another tampon again!” I proclaimed dramatically. “I love it!” I had done it. I had conquered my fear, tried something new, and literally changed a big part of my life, which a month before seemed to have had no alternatives. I was ready to join the menstrual cup crusade! It was time to tell women everywhere how the Ruby Cup had changed my life. Period.


Further Reading

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