You think you know your body until you have to figure out the size of your cervix.
All first times are awkward, but the first time trying a menstrual cup is a rollercoaster that takes a few twists and turns through sheer panic to end up at pride and joy in just a matter of minutes (or a few months).
While the environmental aspect of reusable menstrual cups always attracted me, the idea of getting *that* up close and personal with my vagina and paying for something I might only once kept me from taking the plunge.
I’m not sure what the final straw was that made me try one–maybe I ran out of tampons, or maybe it was my best friend’s incessant praising of the thing–but despite the initial struggle, I’ve never looked back on my decision to use a menstrual cup.
My first purchase was not a success, but it did help me figure out what I needed: a firm cup (since yoga had strengthened my pelvic floor). After a lot of research, I settled for the MeLuna Sport and purchased it in both Small and Medium–for normal and super-heavy-IUD-induced flow days, respectively.
Considering buying one? Here’s a rundown of the things you might think (or scream) while alone and struggling, hopefully in the privacy of your own bathroom:
1. I can’t believe I’m actually looking forward to my period.
2. Time to take this baby for a test run. Hope I chose the right size.
3. That has to be too big. Or too small. It’s definitely too something.
4. Ok… let’s try the “C” fold.
5. Annnnnd nope. That’s not gonna happen. The punch-down it is!
6. Breathe in and out. You can do this.
7. NO, I CANNOT DO THIS.
8. Maybe I should take a break. I’m so gonna be late for work.
9. When in doubt… Google it?
10. “Do it while showering.” Got it.
11. This better work.
12. Ok, it’s in. Or is it?
13. No, YouTuber, I will not insert my whole hand in my vagina to make sure it opened.
14. I don’t like this at all.
15. I HATE this.
16. No idea whether it’s where it should be, but it’s gonna stay there because there’s no way I can take it out.
17. *Looks in mirror* You are a strong, independent person who can totally do this.
18. Pelvic floor muscles, I’m trusting you on this one.
19. I can feel it! It’s there! I have the strongest pelvic floor muscles ever!
20. It came out too easily. I really don’t think it ever opened up.
21. Google, my old friend.
22. Further in!? There is no further in.
23. You are graceful. You are strong. You know your body. You can do this.
24. I heard a “pop”!
25. Yup, that’s some suction right there. I am the queen of menstrual cups!
26. It’s like I’m not even on my period. This is probably the best thing ever.
27. Why didn’t I try this before?
28. Better wear a pad just in case.
29. Not sure if leaking or leftover staining.
30. It’s been six hours. Is it full? It might be full.
31. Can it leak if it’s full? I did not research this enough.
32. Ok. Pelvic floor muscles, you can do this!
33. Break suction carefully. Break suction carefully. Break suction care… and now there’s blood everywhere.
34. I’m starring in a Tarantino movie.
35. I’m never taking this out in a public bathroom unless I feel like having the police called on me.
36. How am I alive after bleeding this much?
37. I did it once, I can do it again.
38. Ugh, no, I can’t. I’ll just hope for the best.
And while this probably did nothing to help your choice… trust me, you will feel like a badass once you get the hang of it. And you absolutely will.
tabú tip: Interested in some #MenstruationInnovation? The Keela Cup is a menstrual cup with a pull string to make all of the above a little bit simpler. Product design ftw!
Header image illustrated by Marcy Gooberman