The DivaCup: Does It Really Make For A Better Period Experience?

Abso-freaking-lutely. I am definitely a believer. I’m sold and I won’t go back! But let’s start from the beginning.Pink_DivaCup-Logo_No-Star-Final-Aug-2014Large

When my husband and I first started to realize we were going to have a harder time conceiving than we had hoped, we decided to change our lifestyles to try and rid unnecessary toxins and chemicals from our bodies and our household. I heard of the DivaCup, but it sounded gross, weird and just plain scary. But you know what else is scary? All the shit that is in the majority of tampons and pads out there. If you’re not buying organic feminine products, there’s a really good chance you’re putting some nasty stuff up/in/around/below your vagina. And I was too, so no judgement here. I’m going to spare you the science lesson that I would probably botch (and we’re all adults here and know how to use Google). But go now and do a few Google searches about what’s in tampons and pads. Even scarier, the FDA isn’t required to list the ingredients because feminine products are considered “medical devices.” I don’t doubt a man is behind this somehow.

Anyway, after I did all that research and decided my vagina deserves better, I started looking into menstrual cups. I was still hesitant, but I liked the thought that 1. I could spend around $30 and it would last me a year or so and 2. there was no waste going into the landfills. There are tons of different brands, each with different sizes/benefits, but I was a newbie and decided to go with the brand I heard most about, The DivaCup. I ordered mine from Amazon and it was right around $30.

In case you don’t have a clue what the hell I’m talking about when I say “menstrual cup” download (1)(like my mother, love you mom!), I’ll explain. It’s a small silicone ‘cup’ that you place in your vagina. It’s super bendy and flexible, and it kind of suction cups to the walls of your vagina. The cup catches all of the blood. Imagine a funnel (without the hole in the bottom), as long as the cup is in place, there are no leaks.

When I first received my DivaCup, I got online and read all kinds of tips and watched videos so I knew what the heck I was doing. I will admit, it took a few tries to get the hang of it and to get it to where there were no leaks, but once I figured out what worked for me, it’s super easy! It’s completely painless and not weird at all.

Here are some things I’ve heard when I tell people I use the DivaCup:

Ew. I don’t want to get blood on my hands. Yes, you might get a little blood on your hands, most likely  when you’re first figuring out how to use the cup. If you have to take it in and out to get it in the right spot, you may get a little blood on you. Once you get the hang of it though, the cup is clean when you put it in, and the bottom part you pull out should stay pretty clean while it’s in there! I’ve never had an incident where I was covered in blood. It’s your own blood after all, it’ll be okay.

How do you empty it when you’re in public? I don’t. I’ve never had to. You can go 10- 12 hours without emptying it and I’ve always been able to plan ahead to where I will have a private bathroom to rinse my DivaCup out in. I will normally empty it in the morning before leaving for work and in the late afternoon when returning home from work. It’s kind of amazing to see how little you actually bleed most days.

What if I spill my DivaCup everywhere? I don’t have much advice for this, except don’t! It’s really much easier than people think. There’s a little stem at the bottom that you use to pull/pinch the cup to pull it out and empty in the toilet, rinse it in the sink then put it back in. I’ve never had a ‘Carrie’ moment with blood and my DivaCup.

How do you clean it? During my cycle, I just give it a good rinse with hot water in the sink (hot water makes the cup more flexible and easier to insert toM1-M2-BOXES-WEB05202015o). When my cycle ends, after I give it a good cleaning in the sink,  I just put it in boiling water to sterilize it. They now sell a special DivaCup soap called DivaWash, but boiling has always worked for me.

I could go on and on with information and facts, but by this time you’re either interested or you think I’m crazy or gross. There is endless information out there, so I encourage you to do some research and find out what the best option is for you! Your vagina will thank you!

– Chelsea

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I am a Millennial Mom Sick of the Commentary

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Millennial is defined by Wikipedia:Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates when the generation starts and ends; most researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.”

As a millennial, born in 1988, the commentary on millennials is familiar. More so, the negative commentary. Millennials are categorized as lazy, entitled, spoiled, whiny, coddled, fiscally irresponsible, unskilled,  socially inept, narcissistic… the list goes on indefinitely.

I find myself in a generation where we are between a rock and a hard place. Growing up many of us were pushed into higher education, only to come out and be shoved into the conveyor belt of a workforce during an economic recession. I find that millennials have high expectations of life, a generally optimistic outlook, and are willing to work for what we want… even if that means long work hours and minimal pay, benefits, and no option of a pension plan, not to mention the inequities created by former generations between genders and races.

I finished my bachelor’s degree in (the not-so-standard) four years– because let’s face it, when you’re required to take courses like “The History of Rock” and “Earth Science” you’re typically stuck taking a good 5 years to get through a bachelor’s degree. I left school with a sizable amount of debt, but I was more practical about my student loans than many (I went to a state school, had grants, scholarships, and didn’t live in campus housing… certainly saving me thousands.) I quickly got a decent job. I had a small savings account, paid my bills, went to work, paid my debts, practiced my frugality…ate a lot of Spaghetti-O’s.

I got married, to someone I dated for 5 years. After being married 3 years, we had a baby (which we planned for, both in the sense of family planning and financially.) Being a millennial mom is not for the weak.

Millennial moms are an entirely new breed of women. Many of us don’t have the option to stay home to care for children, because financially some of us are monetary equals or more. We juggle caring for a house, children, our spouses, personal finances, all while maintaining an external career from the home (I say external career from the home, because I firmly believe that being a stay at home mother is also a career, and a demanding one.) Even then, women that stay home are often multi-tasking, couponing machines just to be able to afford the basics. And, unless you’re upper-middle class or better, it’s unlikely you can afford full-time child care at a decent organization.

But having a job outside of the home comes with some serious implications. I get my child ready, get myself ready, somehow manage to look professional enough, and put myself into business mode. Do you know how difficult it is to go from focusing on giving your child puffs and their sippy cup, or changing the diaper of a flailing infant, to managing the finances of a company? These things are night and day, and almost require me to be two totally different people.

I’m tired of hearing how lazy millennials are. If there’s a lazy bone in my body, it only exists when my child finally falls asleep for that brief hour I have before I head to bed. Even then, that hour is usually spent cleaning up from the chaos of the day, managing my side businesses (2,) paying bills… and occasionally spent watching Mad Men on Netflix.

I may not speak for everyone, but I know I speak for the majority. I am not entitled, and I have worked for everything I have. If anything, we have a new generation of men and women that are striving to be equally employed, responsible for children and finances, and work collectively to get things done. As women we fight the glass ceiling and stigmas pushed upon us to create something better for our own children, but at the same time… we are still expected to take care of our homes and families. Don’t get me wrong– I think MANY men are stepping up to the plate to help with these tasks, but certainly not all and not always to the extent they should. Being a woman now means doing everything that men do, plus more. I’m not here on my soapbox to complain about how hard I work, but I am here to say CUT IT OUT with the “lazy millennial” crap.

*Steps down from soapbox.*

-Katie

 

Raising Sons as Feminists

83d7e83dc7e8fe9d2c6048c08acf19ddI didn’t hear the word “feminist” until high school. I grew up in a family primarily composed of home-makers (and all the credit to them, because I can honestly say, being a part-time worker now, that the days I stay home with my almost 9 month old are vastly more exhausting than my days at work.) That being said: not once as a youth did I think to myself “I want to grow up and be a stay-at-home-mom.”

I have a questionnaire that I did when I was in second grade, where I proudly wrote that my future career would be a “paleontologist.” (1. I was a strange, nerdy kid. 2. I’m okay with that.)

Feminism is so much more than rising above the glass ceilings and ideal standards for women. So much more. It’s about being equally respected, with equal rights, equal pay. It’s being an intellectual equal to our male counterparts.

Feminism is a scary word to many, and often stereotyped as being said by the woman that lives some kind of crazy, nomadic life, and doesn’t shave her armpits or wear makeup or make dinner (which really, a feminist CAN be all of these things, but doesn’t HAVE to be.) To me, it’s always been having the option to do what you want. If you want to cook dinner and raise babies and wear makeup everyday? Great. You can totally still be a feminist. If you’re like me and it varies day-to-day, great, also a feminist.

Equality for women is far from being a dead subject. We have a LONG way to go. Keeping the ball rolling doesn’t just mean teaching our daughters to be strong women, but also teaching our sons how to empower and respect women.

This starts with me! 705db224cd2b6327e87131511e004670

My son is nearly 9 months old now. Soon he’ll be jabbering away, soaking in as much as he can into his little sponge of a baby brain. So yes, while he’ll mostly be learning colors, Dr. Seuss, and how to use the potty for the next few years… teaching feminism starts early! He’ll know that his little girl friends are his equals and treat them as such.

Why? Someday he’ll be in a workforce, or a husband, father, etc. He will be working with women on a daily basis in so many aspects of his life. He’s a white male, meaning that he faces the fewest economic hurdles of any race or gender. So he’s going to use that for GOOD and I’m going to teach him how.

The obstacles that he and I face in learning feminism are enormous. To many, gender roles should still exist. We have an increasingly sexualized culture, where woman are taught that looking hot and acting stupid will get you anything you want in life. (Turn on the TV for just a few minutes, and really pay attention… even food commercials utilize “sex” to sell.)

So my plan? I’ll be teaching him as much and as soon as possible. He’ll know that pink doesn’t have to be girly, and that a girl might kick his a$$ at a sport someday. I’ll surround him with as many empowered women as possible, and men that have the same ideals. He’ll learn respect, and he’ll live by it. I will teach him through example and try to be the strongest feminist momma I can be.

(I may still shave my armpits, but that’s just because arm pit hair is gross. I still think my husband should shave his too.)

My husband may not outright call himself a “feminist” but he definitely is one. He has pushed me to be the best I can be, and not trivialized my decisions. I was the bread-winner for many years, and he never belittled the work that I did. When I made the decision to go part-time, he was 100% on board. He helps with laundry, cleaning, groceries, and the care of our son. And while cooking dinner will never be his strong-suite, he’s as much of a “home maker” as I am.

My son will be a feminist. And his parents will teach him.

-Katie