I was introduced to the DivaCup this past summer when I interviewed Madeleine Shaw of Lunapads.
Actually my sister turned me onto them when she bought hers, along with Lunapads (check these out!), and hooked me up for an interview.
I have to say that the DivaCup + Lunapads combo is the single most AMAZING purchase of 2013.
The Environmental Angle
Let’s start with these stats.
An average woman throws away about 125 to 150kg (16,800 disposable pads or tampons) in their lifetime. (source: Lunapads)
In North America alone, this amounts to 20 billion pads, tampons, and applicators going to landfills annually.
These are staggering figures with a tremendous environmental impact.
Because of the customers of this Canadian Company, about 12 million disposable menstrual products are diverted from landfills each year. A small dent, but a dent nonetheless.
The environmental focus in only one aspect of why using the DivaCup and Lunapads just makes sense.
There are many other equally important aspects of switching to reusable menstrual products. (see the interview with Madeleine for more Information).
Women + Menstrual Cycles
Our period is a special time of the month that carries different meaning and varying degree of anxiety for different women. For some, it’s the onset of menstrual cramps and other PMS symptoms. For others, it could be the inconvenient clash with travel plans, romantic liaisons or sporting events. Menstruation could be nothing for some women or everything to others. It could be like any other day or it could mean a week of hibernation/isolation. Every month.
A woman’s menstrual cycle and monthly bleeding is still taboo. Have you noticed that blue liquid is coyly used to explain the efficacy of a pad’s absorbency in television ads? Or that we call it a period (as in let’s stop talking about it) or euphemistically as, Aunt Flo?
In many parts of the world, women are forbidden to enter holy places or take part in religious activities during their menses. Sexual intercourse may be disallowed. Even in the West, it is socially frowned upon to discuss our menstruation in mixed company. Even when we ask our BFF for a pad or tampon, it’s in a hushed tone. And how many of us palm our tampon from our desk to the bathroom for a change?
The connotation is that our menses is unclean. The message is that we must hide it. And ourselves. The stigma runs deep.
Menstruation – Revisited
I haven’t thought about my period in years. Not really. It is part of my life. Luckily, I do not have PMS or any associated pains. That is after I eliminated dairy and cold foods and drinks before and during my period. Mom was right, after all. And unlike the early years when I was plagued by debilitating pains, which I literally passed out from, I am now happy to get my period. With all its wonderful and wondrous implications.
Interviewing Madeleine brought the question and issue of our menstruation to the forefront once again. We pondered it for ourselves, the women around the world, and the girls coming of age.
The whole idea of disposable products puts the label of disposable on the whole thing. Because we flush or toss it away, we are no longer intimate with a huge part of being female.
This is a very first/developed world worldview, where disposable is the dominant way of life, though with a welcomed trend towards more sustainable lifestyles. We live in a world of convenience where the range of just the disposable menstrual products can send me into a dizzying headache. Madeleine was right – we still mostly use what we used at the start. Having grown up in Canada, the pink, blue, and the recently black packaging on Singapore Watson or Guardian’s shelves were plain confusing. The many different sizes, lengths, with or without wings, different weaves…still not instantly recognizable to me.
Even the easy-on-the-eyes white packaging of organic cotton products can be formidable.
Using disposable products has only added to our disengagement of being. Of being female. Of being an empowered female. And of being in tune with the natural rhythms of our world. With the moon and the stars and the spin of the earth.
Even if it’s made with organic unbleached cotton.
Check out Madeleine’s interview for her very succinct discussion of what this means for the girls becoming women and for the women who have adopted this mentality without thought.
It is not an indictment, but an indication and a reminder of where to go, from here. And how.
For me, using the DivaCup and Lunapad is freedom.
DivaCup is a silicon menstrual cup that is latex-free, plastic-free, and BPA-free.
It is an internal product that can be used with or without Lunapads, which are ultra soft, comfortable, breathable reusable cloth pads and pad inserts.
Because the DivaCup can hold one full ounce or 30ml, I can enjoy its 12-hour leak-free protection, even on my heaviest days. And nights.
And once I learned how to use it properly, I trust my DivaCup. 100%.
What does this all mean? WOW, let me share.
I wake up in the morning, confident that I won’t be doing laundry. I sleep at night, without extra pads or a towel for backup.
I am no longer a slave to an irritating and inconvenient two-hour change schedule. This means I can elude the less-than welcoming public bathrooms.
I can travel light. And out the door in a jiffy. I don’t have to think ahead how many hours I will be away from home and therefore how many pads or tampons I need to carry with me. And where is my pouch to hide it all?
I can declutter and not have to stock my bathroom like the shelves at Watson, Guardian or even Brown Rice Paradise. Panty-liners. Overnights. Light flow. Medium flow. Wings.
One product. The whole day. Every day.
No more worries about Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). The DivaCup is made of silicone and none of the synthetic materials in tampons like viscose rayon which produce toxins that the body would otherwise flush out.
No more forgetting to re-stock. No more convincing the boyfriend/husband to make a tampon run.
I don’t have to ask my sister or a friend to check for embarrassing leaks. Or rush off to the bathroom every time I suspect one. Which is often.
And because I now can use the DivaCup 12 hours at a time, regardless of the flow, I can enjoy my days uninterrupted. Not only do I not have to experience the pokey cardboard of an applicator or the annoying sticky bottom of a pad that invariably sticks elsewhere, I am feeling clean and odour-free.
The DivaCup is a receptacle and not an absorbing product which means the natural pH and lubricating ability of the vagina are not disrupted as they are with tampons.
During my second month of using this combo, I was shocked to find my DivaCup empty one morning. I literally had to count to see that the correct number of days had passed!
To me, using the DivaCup has been life-altering, and in such a simple way. Very practical ways that filter through psychologically.
I remember seeing the first menstrual cup in a magazine almost a decade ago. My thoughts? No way! The whole idea just seemed so…messy. And fiddly. But it is not. In fact the menstrual cup is not even a new idea. The predecessor of what was to be patented in 1937 was a strange and uncomfortable looking contraption. That was 1867.
Fast forward – there are now many variations to the menstrual cup – DivaCup (Canada), Lunette (Finland), LadyCup (EU), SoftCup (US), MoonCup (UK)…Google and you will find endless reviews and tips. I highly recommend the DivaCup!
Not ready to switch to a menstrual cup? The Lunapads is a MUST-TRY! They are soft, comfortable, eco-friendly, and easy to clean. Infinitely better than disposable pads.
Some people switch because of environmental concerns; some to save money; some for health reasons…what will be yours?
I am not only making a difference to myself, but to the planet I call home and Mother Earth.
Being female is very special and having a monthly bleed is one of the hallmarks of a certain time span in our life. It signals our childbearing years, which directly relates to our powers of creation, whether it be an actual baby or projects, adventures, and endeavours. This is a time of great growth and discovery of who we are. Being intimate and comfortable. If we are distanced from a part of ourselves, every month, we are distancing ourselves from, well, ourselves. More and more, over the years.
How can we exist completely and fully in a world where a part of who we are is suppressed and hidden, even shamed?
This is why, on so many levels, the DivaCup + Lunapad was the single best purchase of 2013.
Support Lunapads and their Lunapads program with Afripads” href=”http://lunapads.com/one4hershop.html” target=”_blank”>One4Her program.
For every eligible product you purchase from Lunapads for yourself, Lunapads will provide a girl with a Uganda-made AFRIpad. One for you. One for her.
By supporting the girls in Africa with menstrual products, we can be helping change the trajectory of their lives. We help by giving these girls access to menstrual products, without which they would be forced to remain at home. Up to 20% of their education could be missed. This means that these girls are more likely to drop out, making it more likely for them to marry earlier, earn less, and even contracting HIV or dying in childbirth.
It is widely agreed that when we support the girls and the women, we are supporting entire villages. Micro loans given to women, for example, have been shown to help them re-invest in their families and communities. Empowered women is a stabilizing force in society.
Enter now to win one of two $30USD gift certificates from Lunapads and check out their products. Help spread the word!
Details of Giveaway:
Email Hello@WhatTherapy.com with the subject line “Lunapads” and stand a chance to win.
The draw will be made November 10 2013.
All entries will be added to our mailing list to stay in touch with our bi-monthly newsletters and quarterly magazine.