As a female, I believe it is important to talk about a very crucial aspect of our physiology, the menstrual cycle. I have learned how to adapt my life to this natural function for over 30 years now. I started my transition towards womanhood in November 1985, one month shy of my 12th birthday. The school had no idea what to do with me during those times and I was rushed straight home to my mother so she could teach me what to do. Fast forward through several years of those dreaded pads that never offered enough protection for me, the embarrassing red mark on the back of my white dress in 9th grade Math class, all part of the horror of being a menstruating woman in a western society that has made it a taboo topic.
For just one moment, try to picture yourself as a menstruating female. Imagine that your body has a life of its own and you're just along for the ride. Picture yourself in the middle of a ground war and you barely have access to a bush to squat behind, much less a functioning toilet with running water. You're surrounded by people who don't understand and would rather taunt and make fun of you than help find a solution. In Mexico, even if you have a toilet, all paper products are placed in a small waste basket beside the toilet. If you're super lucky, the bathroom is outside and the canines will help you spread that paper waste all over the front yard and streets. Pregnancy was always an exciting time because then I wouldn't have to deal with the dreaded period for at least 9 months or longer if I was breastfeeding. My 13 yo daughter isn't looking forward to when she starts menstruating either. Why? Because our society tells her that it is something to be hidden and not discussed. Kept out of sight and out of mind.
Often times when traveling, it is difficult to find the right supplies. When we moved to Mexico, the land of feminine pads, I stocked up on my cardboard applicator Tampax and we were off for our 6 month adventure. When it came time to move the family to Spain, I decided it was time for a change. In the first place, even Super Plus Tampax were not meeting the challenge of my heavy flow days and I'd frequently have to run home to change pants during my lunch break. In the second place, now the news are full of articles about all the toxins contained in tampons so that has become even scarier than the dreaded TSS (Toxis Shock Syndrome).
I'll have to admit that my timing wasn't the best. I dawdled when it came to actually buying my cup because I wasn't sure which one to get. There are SO MANY options out on the market right now and where does one begin?? It's not like you walk into a dressing room and try them all in for size. I finally decided that my first one would be the Diva Cup size 2 for women over 30 and mothers who have already delivered one child. I certainly met all those requirements. I only had one cycle at home before we took off and they recommend a 3-4 month adjustment period. I really hate it when they're right! I didn't take the time to read all the information on their website either or my adjustment period might have been a lot faster. As it was, I had some leakage and awkward moments for the first three months and then I got the bright idea to read up and see if I was doing something wrong. And what do you know? I was! I was shoving that darn thing up as far as I could and trying to cap off the opening of the cervix. That's a no no. You are supposed to insert it below the cervix and give it a 360-degree twist to make sure it is seated correctly. I did that for cycle number four and it worked perfectly!
Now if I would just remember to start packing it in my purse or suitcase when I travel around that time of the month, I'd be golden. Hey, life is one big learning curve, right? I'll probably figure this out right about the time I start menopause.