I Bought Two Menstrual Cups and Took One for the Team


I’ve been a tampon girl forever. Pads are for postpartum use only, as far as I’m concerned. So when my daughter started her period, I floundered a little on what to do. Starting with pads is the obvious choice; but I wasn’t sure how long to wait before introducing tampons. We live in Florida. It was summer. There are pool parties, beach days and boating to contend with. I’d explained tampons in the past and knew she had read the various body books I’d given her over the years. Her third cycle coincided with a big swimsuit-centric event, so I decided to encourage her to use the more active alternative.

It was a disaster of epic proportions. She hated it. Hay. Ted.

I was completely lost. I refuse to have her relegated to the poolside in a maxi pad the rest of her life! In the movie Sisters, Tiny Fey takes a shot at Maya Rudolph’s character by taunting, “You’re pads all the way and everyone knows it!” Dang, girl! The first time I saw that scene, I really liked that zinger.

Suddenly it isn’t so funny. Is my girl going to be pads all the way?!

Not on my watch. It was time to get creative. I’ve shared before my misadventures with teaching her to shave, and the lessons I’d learned about embracing alternate approaches to hygiene. I began researching other methods to going with the flow and found the alternative voted most-likely-to-succeed.

The menstrual cup.

I perused the myriad of brands and products available online, read blogger reviews, watched these super amazing teen-focused videos by some girl across the pond who is now my hero. And eventually, I bought one. Actually, I bought two. One sized for me. One sized for her. I figured I needed to learn it first, really crack the code before I tried to introduce it to her. Having said that, even if I hated it, I figured my daughter still deserved the right to love it or hate it herself. Even if I bailed, I still intended to give her the option eventually.

I was like a super-secret agent. I stalked the mailbox so my husband wouldn’t ask what came in the mail. I stayed home on a work day just long enough to do the initial 20-minute boiling to sterilize it, so no one would be home to witness that weirdness. I’d even purchased a secret saucepan for this purpose weeks before, which is weird in hindsight since I’d never used the cup, and it was just a piece of clean silicone. I stood at the stove making sure it didn’t burn on the bottom of the pot like the package says, while trying to carry on a professional conversation. We’ve all tried to imagine the weird things our telecommuting co-workers are doing at home on a conference call, but I’ll bet cooking their crotch crud catcher isn’t one of them.

Finally it was time to get “Project Pad-Proof Period” underway. The first few inserts and removals were strange. It takes practice to avoid embarrassing squelching sounds, to not make a mess like those horrifically funny fails I read about, and to not drop it in the toilet…more than once, anyway.

Eventually, it got easy.  Soon after, it was simply fantastic.

I am not what you would call “earthy”. Actually, I’m the opposite of crunchy. I’m…soggy? If you’d told me a year ago that I would ever try this, I’d have laughed at you. Only motherly necessity changed my mind. If you’d told me at the start of this little adventure that I would actually prefer this method, I’d have checked you for a delirious fever.

Menstrual CupsLadies, I’ve been converted. After just a cycle or two, I stopped tampons altogether. I haven’t used anything but my cup in 6 months. The freedom it brings really is a game changer. I’ve put together a list of the reasons I love my cup. But that’s for a later post.  Besides, this post isn’t about that. It’s not actually about the cup at all. It’s about what I’d do for my kid, and what you’d do for yours.

I could have lived a long and happy tampon-filled life. I had no desire to explore the other options available to me. Doing what I’ve always done was working just fine, thank you very much. But as a mother, I want more for my babies. I don’t want them to do only what I do because I’m stuck in my ways. It’s important that they see me try new things, keep an open mind, and be brave for someone else’s benefit. My daughter knows I bought these things. I told her almost as soon as they’d arrived. I wanted her to know that I was being bold and personally engaged in trying to find a solution she could be comfortable with, even if I had no idea what I was getting into. She needs to know that I am willing to invest myself and be vulnerable and a little intimidated by new things for her sake. So when I ask her to try something scary, attempt something weird, or just grimace and try something gross, I want her to know that I’m right in the thick of it with her.

So is she going to be pads all the way? Time will tell. She knows what’s tucked away in my bathroom closet, waiting in that pretty little package for a day when she’s feeling brave and tired of staying out of the pool. Meanwhile, I don’t really care if she ever becomes a cup fan. This soggy but daring mama learned a new trick, and I’m sticking with it.

What have you tried for the sake of your kids? We’d love to hear about it!


  1. My daughter straight fainted on the toilet the first time she tried a tampon. I’m petty sure she uses them now though. Like you say, the pool calls…
    I’m only posting to let you know your daughter probably won’t be resigned to the poolside her entire life.

  2. I used tampons from my second or third cycle (I was 15 when I started my period) After I gave birth to my oldest son, I was using a diaphram for birth control and still using tampons. When my son was three months old I developed TSS and nearly died. I was using tampons properly and changing regularly and still got it. Although it was not advised, I continued to use tampons for years. Then I discoverd a menstrual cup. What a treasure! The last few years of my menstrual cycle was not filled with the fear of developing TSS again!


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