Diary of a Diva: Life as a Peace Corps Volunteer

GT-1After finding out that I would be leaving for Albania as a Peace Corps volunteer, I started to immediately think of what I would need to pack. One of the things emphasized to me was that tampons would not be readily available.

Since day one, all I had ever used was tampons!!!

I hadn’t heard much about menstrual cups before I stumbled across The DivaCup in the feminine care aisle. I remember being grossed out at the idea of using anything other than a plastic applicator. After looking at it and contemplating the purchase for about 30 minutes, I decided to buy it. I practiced using it the month before I left and, forsaking all other feminine care products, packed it in my suitcase.

GT-2Putting that pink little Diva bag in my suitcase was one of the best packing decisions I made. Life in the Peace Corps was pretty chaotic and unpredictable. After leaving my home in the morning, I could rarely predict where the day would take me. Plans were always open to change, bus rides were always long, and finding time for trips to the bathroom required forethought. And using the bathroom was already difficult enough, believe me! Although there were some Western style toilets, it was more common to open a bathroom door and find a Turkish toilet without a square of toilet paper or trashcan in sight. No matter what feminine product a lady was to use, it was a chore to get your business done and a success if you did it without splashing urine on your shoes.

The DivaCup was amazing!

Firstly, because it reduced the number of times I had to go to the bathroom. The first day of my period, I would have to visit the (literal) squatter more than twice a day- because I have a pretty heavy flow. Other days, using The DivaCup meant I would only need to empty it twice. That was a huge stress relief.

It turned out that tampons were available, in certain cities. If you were fortunate enough to live in one of those cities, you had it made. If you didn’t, you were out of luck. With The DivaCup, I had the complete comfort of knowing I would never be caught in a bind. I also saved SO much money. Tampons were expensive when you could find them. Or outrageously expensive to have shipped over. I really began to see the economic and environmental benefits of The DivaCup play out. As an environmental advocate and a member of the Albanian Outdoor Ambassadors group, my conscience was appeased.

Since becoming hooked on The DivaCup, I’m a huge advocate for it. Besides the logical benefits, it’s a million times more comfortable than the scratchy, paper-y feel of tampons. It becomes super easy to put in and I feel more confident about my own body. It sounds super cheeseball, but it’s true! I’m not scared of my lady bits anymore (and why should I be?)! I can rely on The DivaCup to stand up to any activity I put it through. From life overseas to life in America, from wakeboarding to snowboarding, adventure to routine, climbing to biking, and everything in between; it’s passed every strenuous test I have put it through.

I encourage EVERY WOMAN to give it a try. I am a DivaCup for life. It’s the only thing I’ll ever use.

GTGeena T.

Geena is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who was fortunate to spend that time in the beautiful and unique country of Albania (2012-2014). She now lives in Denver, Colorado and is a graduate student studying to work with issues of homelessness and gender equality. She loves all things adventure, outdoors, and active. She is an Ultimate player, loves to rock climb, and dabbles in just about every other sport. She aspires to collect experiences in rocking chairs, stamp-collecting, and tea-drinking. Albania, Iceland, and Croatia are some of her favorite places to travel to and talk about. 

 

{Guest Post} Q and A with Ida Tin, CEO and co-founder of Clue

Thinking of charting your cycle, but not yet sure where to start? The Diva Team had the chance to talk with Ida Tin, CEO and co-founder of Clue, a cycle charting mobile app that is empowering women worldwide. Below is a recap of our correspondence:

1. What inspired you to design a menstrual cycle tracking application?

iphone2xWhen I was in my 20s, I had some side effects from birth control pills. It made me start to wonder why no one had developed technological, non-invasive options for understanding and managing one’s menstrual cycle and overall fertility. I started doing some research into the existing period tracking app options and was, to be honest, not impressed at all – a lot of bad design and a lot of pink and butterflies. I wanted to create something that was as thoughtfully designed as an iPhone itself.

2. What are the main reasons motivating women to start using a period tracking application?

The most common reason to use an app like Clue is to simply know when your next period is coming. This way, you can plan to carry the right supplies, any travel, that kind of thing. People also like to know on which days they are more or less likely to get pregnant, as well as when to expect any premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. We also see a lot of people tracking emotions and moods and discovering how they might be connected to the cycle.

3. Who is using the application?

We have users of all ages, from first period to menopause, in 180 countries around the world. We have both female and male users – a lot of men are using Clue to track their partners so they can both be more supportive and also better understand women’s reproductive health.

4. Although there are many, what are the top three features of Clue that sets it apart from other menstrual tracking applications?

Clue is the fastest period tracker to use – and we tested A LOT. You can enter your daily data in 30 seconds or less. Clue is also backed by scientific research. Every bit of text in the app was reviewed by doctors and scientists. And finally, our design is not stereotypically “girly.” It’s designed to make you feel both happy and empowered, not talked down to.

5. Have you faced any challenges or come up against resistance in your journey developing a menstrual cycle charting application?

It was a challenge at first to create an app that was as fast, easy and friendly as we wanted it to be. Our lead designer has spoken to literally hundreds of women throughout the research process. We put in a lot of work to make the product we have today, and now over 1 million people have downloaded Clue.

6. Why are cycle charting application and reusable options like The DivaCup important to menstrual cycle education?

It’s all about body literacy and understanding how your body works. The more information a woman has about her body, the better equipped she is to make decisions about the things that matter to her.

CEO Ida TinIda Tin, CEO and co-founder of Clue

Ida is the CEO and co-founder of Clue, one of the world’s leading women’s health apps. Born in Copenhagen, Ida graduated from Denmark’s prestigious creative business school, the KaosPilots. A lifelong entrepreneur, she previously led motorcycle tours around the world and published a book about her experience, “Direktøs” which became a Danish bestseller.

Diary of a Diva: On being a mom and running marathons!

RunnerSince having my first daughter five years ago, my period has been somewhat of a nightmare. The first few days of my flow are ridiculously heavy, and I would find myself changing out my tampon every two hours. Attempting to keep my sheets clean through the night was an effort in futility. I’d wake up like someone out of a horror movie, in a pool of my own blood.

But I soldiered on with tampons and pads because I didn’t know any better.

About a year after giving birth to my second daughter, I decided to get back in shape. I started running – a perfect fit because I was already constantly running around chasing after two kids under the age of 4! I absolutely love running. I try to get in at least 30 miles a week. It helps me clear my head, gives me some much needed “me time”, and I always finish feeling that runner’s high.

But whenever it came time for my period, I’d resign myself to the fact that I wouldn’t get to run for a few days – or at least could only do a mile or two.

Though I’d tried many options, none of the tampons I used were ever able to truly handle my flow without leakages. Not only was it embarrassing to come home finding a blood stain on my pants – how long had that been there?! – I was sick of ruining my running gear!

I honestly don’t know when I first heard about menstrual cups. The idea always sort of grossed me out. But after my youngest was diagnosed with leukemia, my family went on an all-natural kick. It was best for her, best for us, and best for the sustainability of our environment. So I figured if I was going to commit to a natural lifestyle, I better go all out. I bought my DivaCup several months ago. It took some practice to master. Well, maybe a lot of practice. I Googled how to do that all-important twist. I read countless testimonies by happy users.

After my first period, I was hooked.

The DivaCup handles my flow like nothing I’ve ever experienced!  I can put it in, and completely forget that I’m even on my period. Even on my heaviest days, I can leave my DivaCup in for 8-12 hours. 

Dominik PhotoI never worried about running on my period after I started using The DivaCup. But what really sold me, and why I will sing the praises of this product until my dying day, is that I was able to use my DivaCup while I ran my first full-length marathon. I promised myself I would run a marathon before my 30th birthday. It was a big goal when I set it – being 50 pounds heavier then, and never even having finished a 5k – and made even more difficult after my daughter was diagnosed.

But I was committed to doing it, and registered for one in my state on November 1st.

I used my DivaCup throughout my training, and never had any issues. As race week approached I realized that I was going to be on my period during my marathon. Before The DivaCup, I may have given up. I may have requested to defer my entry for next year. I may have seen it as a sign that I just wasn’t meant for marathons. Who wants to change a tampon in a port-a-potty in the middle of a 4 hour run?

But I never gave it a second thought because I knew my DivaCup had my back. There wasn’t a single time during my race that I even thought about the fact that I was on my period.  I just enjoyed the experience. I didn’t check my pants to make sure I hadn’t bled through. I didn’t have to stop every time I ran past a port-a-potty. When I crossed that finish line, the only thing I felt was the pride of my accomplishment.

I am so glad I gave The DivaCup a chance. It’s been such a positive experience. I tell everyone I can that this product will change their lives. Thank you, thank you, thank you DivaCup!

Dominik Photo 3Amanda D.

Amanda is a wife of seven years, and a mother to two fantastic girls – Hazel (5) and Margot (3).  She’s an Indiana University graduate, a full-time arts administrator and is currently working toward a Master’s Degree in Library Science. Amanda is a Hoosier through and through, loves the NBA and wishes she was a better golfer. She’s been a runner for the past 3 years and in her spare time she enjoys reading and is an avid baker. She and her girls can often be found at the Farmer’s Market, the coffee shop, or one of the cool local shops in their downtown area.