If you are male, you really really don’t want to read this post. Believe me.
Hopefully that just leaves us girls reading, right? OK, (if you are male and still reading, don’t say I didn’t warn you) I’ll try to not be too graphic in this post, but another of my oh-so-completely-essential-I-couldn’t-do-this-trip-without items is my MoonCup.
There are several ways of dealing with your period, as we all know, and by my age, you’ve tried them all and settled on one that suits you just fine. And then you find yourself a) without regular access to a bin in 34 degree heat b) nowhere near any single shop when you get an unexpected visitor c) with very very limited storage space and d) without a flushing (or any other type really) toilet to hand. Most methods of period protection involve being able to throw something away that when it hits the air, and there is no nice way to say this, stinks. And attracts insects. And is generally yucky. Not something that you would be happy sitting in a rubbish sack in the back of your car, that’s for sure. OK you could just toss it out a window instead, but seriously? Are you that gross?
I thought about this before we left the UK and had heard previously of the MoonCup but thought it was just for hippies who were seriously into Yoga (so they could get themselves into the necessary positions to insert/remove it) and not something for the likes of me. As I was rather worried about the a,b,c and d issues above on our travels, I researched it a little and decided to take the plunge – I’d give it a go, and if it wasn’t for me, I’d come up with another plan. So, using the advice on the website I ordered one (as I am rather elderly according to their size guide I needed a Large (they come in Normal and Large – oh how flattered I felt!)) and thought I would give it a whirl before we set off for Oz. If you haven’t already heard of the MoonCup, its basically a little silicon thing that looks a bit like an eggcup (similar shape and size I’d say) with a little stem on the bottom. Its made of clear silicon, so is very bendy. You insert it into yourself in place of a tampon (but wear it a little lower) and it catches all the blood and gunk of a period. You empty this out every so often and then when your period is over, you sterilise it and pop it back in its box until next month.
The first attempt was not good – if you read other people’s reviews of the MoonCup, a lot of them go along these lines ‘I got in in fine, but when it came to getting it out, I thought we would have to go to A&E’. Well, I was up there with the best of them. OMG I panicked. I freaked out. I took the advice on the instructions to leave it and come back later – still nothing. I thought it would be there forever. Eventually I got it out , and swore I wouldn’t go back there. But I did some more thinking and came back to a,b,c and d above and thought I should give it another go. And it worked like a dream! I was completely amazed (seriously, the amount of tears that were produced on the first attempt were not funny), and so so happy I wouldn’t have to have an entire sanitary system lugged around with us.
Couple of things though – first, ignore the website. If you haven’t had a child vaginally, go for the Normal size. I ordered one (as I still thought the large was HUGE, and needed a second as a back up once in Oz anyway), and it is so much better. Side by side I can’t really see much difference, but my lady parts seriously can tell! Second – cut the stem really short – especially out here you do a lot of walking etc, and a long stem really rubs badly. You will be able to get the cup out still after the first time or two, I promise, but it will mean you don’t get any nasty sore bits.
Obviously its not very easy being as hygienic as one can out bush, however you manage and you prioritise when its MoonCup time (more water for washing hands and sterilising at the end of the month, less water for a hair wash? Deal, with dry shampoo, which is another post anyway). And you would have to be hygiene girl anyway whatever you were using at that time of the month, so that isn’t any different from any other method you were using imho.
I really would advise anyone coming out and living like this for a period of time to give it a go – hell, I’d advise any woman to give it a go anyway – the money I have saved on sanitary wear is a complete and utter fortune! (The MoonCup is pretty cheap, and you only need one, or one and a spare, so no ongoing costs). You have nothing to lose by giving it a go imho, just remember – the first time getting it out is hell, after that it really really does get so much easier, I promise