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Four months in and I’m a menstrual cup convert

It felt like periods were a taboo subject when I was growing up. It was never something we discussed as a family and the only conversations I ever had were misinformed giggles with my friends or the single guidance class talk at school.

So, starting my periods at the age of 13 whilst staying at my grandmother’s house in remote Perthshire was not the easiest thing. I remember hanging back in the local store whilst my gran was loading the car and asking the shop keeper across the counter if I could have the pads on the shelf behind her - not the nicest experience for a very shy teenager! And when she asked if I had a belt for them, I just looked confused, said yes and stuffed them into my bag. I wanted the earth to swallow me up – a belt??

Perplexed by period products

So as you can tell, I had no idea about the various period products and so very ignorantly glided through my twenties and thirties using ‘traditional’ products – a mix of towels and tampons with applicators - none of which I found very pleasant and always thought there must be something better than this. However, I shamefully admit, I was hoping for something more comfortable and hadn’t given the environmental impact a second thought.

Coming from someone who has been committed to recycling for many years and loves an upcycling project, I really can’t believe that until I started my role in Zero Waste Scotland, I had no idea of the environmental impact of menstrual products nor what a reusable product was!

A whole new (reusable) world

When I first heard the words ‘reusable menstrual products’, my initial thought was “how can that be hygienic?” but was inquisitive enough to learn more. I also had no idea of the plastic content in tampons or towels. Putting the environment aside for just one second, this was enough for me to take notice.

Four months in and I’m a convert. I’m not going to pretend it was easy from the word go but after reading some articles online and a few attempts – success! I was of course concerned that it would ‘overflow’ but it surprised me how little you actually bleed. There’s no leakage – it feels and is hygienic and it’s so simple - I feel liberated. Not only do I feel it’s better for my body but I know it’s better for the planet and my pocket!

My main piece of advice

Get a sterilising cup from the outset. I started off using a saucepan which I then stored at the back of the cupboard. But after the constant questioning at teatime of; “You didn’t use YOUR pan to make this did you mum?” I invested in a sterilising cup on month 2!

Whilst I want to shout it from the rooftops about how fantastic a menstrual cup is and how it really has changed my life for that one week every month, I also remember a period is very personal to everyone – one size doesn’t fit all. I have two pre-teen daughters and I’m determined to make sure they feel confident enough to decide on which product is best for them. It’s all about education and choice – something I wish I had, had some 27 years ago.

Find out how the rest of the team got on...

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