I started using sanitary napkins since I reached puberty at the age of 13 and it was an utter annoyance for me. The constant chafing, foul odor and fear of staining while doing most regular task had gotten into me. I have always had a normal menstrual cycle but despite the protection offered by overnight pads I would still cover the mattress with a layer of an old sheet/old towel with the fear of leaking and waking up to stained sheets. But for a long time this was part of my life
Like a halo, an internal voice always used to run in my head throwing up questions on how, where and when does the garbage created by humans degrade? Do they ever degrade or we have taken Mother Earth for granted by mistakenly confusing all human inventions as a gift to the universe. To make peace with my inner voice, I always tend to look for options to reduce waste towards nature’s gift be it water, food, paper, plastic or any other thing. And again an alternative that is environment friendly was always an icing on the top of a cake.
I began my quest for this transformation when my maternal instinct during pregnancy grew stronger. I understood the responsibilities of a bond that umbilical cord shared, but alas I had forgotten the bond with our mother planet that provides the same care, though not visible but omnipresent with the air that we breathe.
I was elevated the day my child was born, and I gifted him cloth diapers in place of disposable diapers and began my journey of self-transformation. However I admit that I was too late to do my part for the mother Earth. I started the use of menstrual cup for myself in place of sanitary napkin/tampon at the age of 30. Primary reason was not to abstain from it, but there was lack of awareness on my side. With increasing penetration of social media, I came across this product and it changed my life for good.
This magical cup brought immense change in my life & gave an internal happiness and satisfaction. Going for a holiday- trekking, road trips or camping, menstrual cups are the best feminine hygiene product of choice. No worries about buying or disposing the tampons/sanitary pads. It is a leak free alternative and good for overnight protection, once you get the hang of inserting it, there’s no need to wear a backup pad or liner. In fact, I don’t even feel the cup when it’s in place. Besides being ecofriendly it is absolutely safe, hygienic, comfortable and affordable
Just imagine, I need to just empty the cup after 4-6 hours, wash it properly and use again. No wastage, no disposing of vestigial human waste in landfills, nothing. Just a simple cup that made a huge difference. For one, it seems insignificant, but when multiplied it by the no. of menstruating female population * 5 days* 12 times a year, will throw up a magical no. that will be added to landfill. Besides they are cost effective and longevity of such products is up to 10 years.
I started using menstrual cup from 2017. In 2018, with the launch of movie Pad Man starring Akshay Kumar, people started discussing about Menstrual Hygiene. Ironically, like in the movie, Akshay Kumar was explaining benefits of using sanitary napkin over unhygienic cloth; I land up explaining benefits of menstrual cup over sanitary Napkin/tampon.
None the less, I had my own shares of ups and downs, when I started discussing my new exploration to my close friends, colleagues. It was difficult to make people believe that this invention is safe, hygienic, and comfortable. People heard about it but never believed me unless one took it up as a challenge for themselves. Some sexagenarian ladies who had left this menstruating phase of their life, appreciated my efforts and motivated me, however when it came to recommending them for their daughters put a distress on their own face. But these distresses only transformed into wonderful smiles when they took a first step towards trying it.
As days passed by, my belief grew stronger and stronger and I started sharing it with more people who were ready to give a thought about this. I feel there is a basic awareness which is missing that needs to be percolated among the society.
To start with, I just ask my readers who have taken some time out to ready my story, to search on Google/Youtube about the disposal methods for sanitary pads and diapers. I am confident that if you love greens, rains, smell of mud, food, it would leave you in splits as to how these sophisticated and comfy pads/tampons damages our mother nature and it takes decades to heal.
I felt the similar pain that helped me take up this journey of making a small change and I am happy to see other such women & men joining in their duty towards Mother Earth. Use and throw options are always lucrative but for sure we have this only one beautiful planet in the whole Milky Way and it’s our duty to restore its glory and beauty. And to add, we are just travelers on this wonderful journey of life, and need to leave back a wonderful memory and planet for our kids and future generations. As the saying goes ‘Sankalp se Shrishti ka nirman’, the menstrual cup is one of our Sankalp to restore the beauty of our Shrishti.
Story by Maitree Pandya
Edited by Raavya Sarda