It was the winter of 2019 when I decided to hop on a bus and head into downtown Prince George located in B.C., Canada. I was determined to purchase a Diva Cup, because I was determined on attaining all the zero-waste menstrual products I needed in order to have a zero waste period–like I’d seen many of the zero waste bloggers I follow on social media have.
So there I was, standing in front of a selection of menstrual cups at the local pharmacy. There were various sizes which confused me at first. I picked one up: for girls ages 18 and under, read the box. “Nope!” I said in my head and then placed the box back on the shelf. Just a few boxes over and I found the one I was looking for, The Diva Cup: Model 1, for those 19-30. I took the box over to the cashier’s and made my $50 purchase and left.
I waited for the bus in the middle of a cold Northern B.C. day, hopped on and headed home. That’s when the countdown for my next period began. I had purchased period panties from Thinx about a year and a half prior to my first menstrual cup purchase, and couldn’t be more excited to combine both for the ULTIMATE zero waste period experience!
It surprised me on a cool and dark Saturday morning.
Excitedly I ran to the bathroom–I had spent the past two weeks reading the “How To Use” instruction pamphlet and watching YouTube videos, and I was excited to start my journey using zero waste menstrual products, ONLY!
So there I was, disinfected Diva cup in hand, pants and panties down to my ankles, trying to find the perfect posture for the ideal Diva Cup insertion. My heart started to race, and I could feel myself beginning to break a sweat–what was going on? I’d been so ready and courageous two weeks ago....
I realized that the fear was stemming from the fact that I didn’t know if I was going to be able to retrieve the menstrual cup after it was inserted–which now I know is absolutely ridiculous, but at the time the fear was so real. “God damn it. Why can’t these zero waste menstrual products be more user-friendly!” I said, a bit agitated.
I sat on the toilet and folded the cup in a C-fold, just like the instructions had prompted me to do. I took a deep breath in, and began feeling around my vagina. I pushed it in slightly...I struggled because although I had taken a deep breath, I was still tense. So it didn’t work. But I am not one to give up, I am not a quitter. So I folded my cup again and made a second attempt. I failed. So I tried again. Nothing. And then, after an ice cream break and several other failed attempts...SUCCESS!
It was out of my hands and inside of me. I stood up. Bare cheeks, fingers covered in period blood, and full of glee I smiled in happiness at myself in by bathroom mirror. I was immediately surprised when I realized that I didn’t feel anything inside of me. This zero waste menstrual product thing was beginning to feel great! I went throughout the rest of my day feeling confident, proud and almost empowered. I felt like I could do anything! I was GLOWING...if I could do cart-wheels, I would have been doing them all over my apartment.
I wasn’t going to wait the full 12 hours you’re allowed to keep it inside of you, out of fear that I would panic and not be able to get it out by exactly the 12th hour. So back to the toilet I went. The instruction pamphlet, the Diva Cup had come with, said to relax and make a bit of a pushing motion...like pooping...or birthing a baby...I mean, I’ve never birthed a baby but I would imagine it would be somewhat similar to pooping?
In I went, digging around for the stem of the cup. After a few awkward seconds of not really knowing where I was exactly, I touched the stem. I pushed, and the stem came down, allowing me to pinch the cup. I pinched, and to my pleasant surprise, the cup slipped right out!
I practiced this for the next few days while on my period and then...had a few more awkward experiences a couple of periods later. If anything I would recommend really practicing the insertion, and the extraction just to get super comfortable with it! That and watch a few YouTube videos to find out what fold might work best for you.
Is using zero waste menstrual products gross?
I mean… I don’t think so...I think our bodies are beautiful, and they do so much for us...I think being ashamed of our bodily functions is just something that maybe society has taught us to do. I do think that there are many menstrual brands out there that are helping women step away from that way of thinking and encouraging positivity around our periods.
But getting back to cleaning, it’s not that difficult. So for the Diva Cup you’ll want to buy the rinse that comes with it called Diva Wash. I did try to wash it with lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide...for a more “natural” wash...but it started to smell a little weird...so I went and purchased the wash! I guess that’s really the only part about my period that isn’t very zero waste friendly, unfortunately.
While my first experience with the Diva Cup was quite awkward...it has blossomed into so much more. I can finally say that I only use zero-waste menstrual products, EVERY, period! The Diva Cup is seriously life changing, and honestly, while the thought of sticking a plastic cup up your hoo-ha is intimidating, once you get over that fear of the unknown, it’s bliss from there!
I pair the cup with my Thinx reusable period panties because when it’s time for bed, I don’t really like the idea of having something in me. I prefer to just let it all gush right out of me! So, that is what I do. The best part is that they don’t leak...so there are absolutely no surprises on your white bed sheets when you wake up from a nice eight hour sleep.
How do I clean my Thinx Period Panties?
This is also super easy! You just take your panty off, and hand wash it with cold water. You can let it air dry (I always air-dry my clothes as I find that they last longer), and then use them again that night, once they’ve dried. Once you’re off your period, wash them by hand and then add them to your laundry machine, and wash in cold water. See, easy peasy lemon squeezy!
The Diva Cup, Thinx panty combo is one I recommend to every single person with a period out there! Your periods won’t feel like a drag anymore, you will shine brighter than you ever have before!
-Veronica Beltran recently joined the Modern Match Lingerie Team. Veronica has been a vegan for three years and has a passion to help inspire others through her social media to take the leap into the #plantbased world. While advocating for animal rights, she also advocates for the environment.
Connect with me:
YouTube: @Veronica Belle