Nivedita Priyadarshini

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From wings to cups

I have been using Whisper winged sanitary napkins (also called pads) for as long as I can remember. Actually, always. I remember this really well. When it all began, I didn’t know there were alternatives. There was no one to talk about the alternatives. I learnt about tampons somewhere down the line, high school I think. But somehow that never made me change my mind.

I had gotten comfortable with my usage of pads.

I had always known (at least whole of my 20s) that using pads is ecologically damaging. I am regularly creating non-compostable, non-recyclable waste that is probably burnt or ends up in a landfill. But that is not what triggered me to make this change. It was the rashes, the irritation, the discomfort, and the smell.

It took me close to 10 months to make the switch. I bought my menstrual cup in September 2018. I started using it on and off. At first, my worry was leakage. I got over that in the first month by wearing a panty liner with the cup whenever I was worried. It took a couple of months, but eventually I stopped worrying about that and using liners. Then my worry was using it day to day, in office, in public spaces, specially emptying it or washing it in a public bathroom. Luckily, I am not a heavy bleeder and slowly I got used to using for a stretch of time without checking on it every few hours. And today finally, I am using it outside in an office space without giving it a second thought. It feels like an accomplishment, to be honest. No more unmanaged garbage, no more stealth black polybag or brown paper bag wrapped pad buying from middle aged men and women at pharmacies who think just a glimpse of the pad to the outside world can cause a natural disaster.

A lot of people I know got comfortable with a cup quite easily. One of the reasons I wanted to write to this is to say that it is okay to take your time. If it feels uncomfortable in the beginning, give it a little bit of time, try a different size maybe. Don’t get discouraged and chalk it up to “it is not my cup of tea”. Use it once in a while on your 3rd or 4th day when the flow is decreased. Practice cleaning it in the comfort of your home before you try wearing it outside. Read about other people’s experience or talk to them to see how they went about using it. It is definitely worth the effort, I can say that for sure.

I didn’t do a lot of research into choosing my cup. It was an impulse buy, really. I saw it in a storefront (not in India) and asked the lady in the store a couple of questions before buying it. But post buying it, I read a lot about how to use, how to choose etc before I started using it. I found the information on the Mooncup website( really helpful. You can read that or even ask questions here and I will try to answer them as much as possible.

While I was transitioning from pads to cup, I started using Carmesi ( instead of Whisper and that helped me a lot as it is all-natural, completely biodegradable sanitary pads. If you are unsure about the cup, and want to continue using pads — switch to Carmesi.

I have never written a post before so please pardon my writing. Yes, it can happen. I am 28, a software developer, and not a blogger. I just wanted to share this small little accomplishment in the hopes that it might inspire someone else out there to make the switch. Hope it does. :)