Diary of a Diva: UnTabooed, Then and Now

How it all Started

My name is Diandra Kalish. I am the founder of Untabooed. This is my story of how The DivaCup inspired me to fight for access to menstrual products for all.

On April 6th, 2013 I bought a one-way ticket to Quito Ecuador. My dad passed along a travel blog written by a solo female traveler, crediting it for the excellent hiking boot, travel backpack and water purifying straw recommendations. He had assembled these items in the perfect college graduation gift. When I checked out the blog, I noticed another packing essential: The DivaCup.

I had never heard of a menstrual cup, but after some research, I decided it would be wise to get one for my trip. I purchased a cup knowing that I would get to test it at home first. If it didn’t work out, I could pack a separate suitcase full of tampons.

My immediate discovery: I loved it!

Fast Forward to January 2015

In early 2015, I had moved back to the United States and was living in Brooklyn working for an education nonprofit. By this point, I had convinced some of my friends to try out a menstrual cup too. One evening, an article online caught my eye. It described the struggles that many homeless women face each month trying to get access to menstrual products.

I was shocked and enraged by this. As someone who consistently donates food and clothing, I had never thought to donate menstrual products. I started to do research and found that organizations around the world provide menstrual health education and reusable menstrual products to girls and women who can’t afford them. A big issue in many places is that access to products and health education is limited, holding girls and women back from opportunities.

As I did more research over the next few weeks, I started considering that the root of the problem could be the taboo surrounding the topic of periods. I was finding that many shelters don’t ask for the products directly. This means that people do not even think to donate to the need. When shelters do have the products, women typically have to ask a manager for one.

It should be a basic human right to have access to all of the products that you might need in the bathroom. I was also thinking about how convenient The DivaCup has been for me, and how much money I had saved by using it. I started to think more and more about how great a solution like a menstrual cup would be for women who might not have access to anything else.

Enter UnTabooed

In May 2015, putting all of my research, curiosity and frustration together, I founded UnTabooed.

The mission of UnTabooed is to break the taboo surrounding menstruation by providing menstrual health education and sustainable menstrual products to those in need.

UnTabooed is unique from other similar organizations in two key ways. First, we work only with reusable menstrual products, specifically cloth pads and menstrual cups. This helps us provide a long-term solution to the problem of access. In doing so, we make sure no one has to worry about menstrual care for an entire year. Second, UnTabooed focuses on education. Our programming consists of a one-hour educational workshop that covers the basics of the menstrual cycle and menstrual hygiene. The workshop also includes an introduction to reusable menstrual products. After the workshop, participants receive products of their choice.

With the help of Diva International and other producers of reusable products, UnTabooed has educated over 600 menstruators, set up seven community and four college partners, and distributed over 1,000 reusable menstrual products for free to menstruators in the Northeast United States. We have also reached over 100 more through events and workshops at colleges and universities. In total, we have helped our workshop participants save over $250,000 and reduce menstrual product waste by 5,000 lbs.

UnTabooed organization

What’s Happening Now 

After two years, UnTabooed has been acquired by PERIOD. The Menstrual Movement.

PERIOD is a global youth-run non-profit that strives to provide and celebrate menstrual hygiene through advocacy, education, and service. In the last two years, they have addressed over 78,000 periods through 43 nonprofit partners in 27 states and 14 countries. Additionally, they have 65 campus chapter at universities and high schools around the United States. PERIOD has the passion and youth driven leadership to bring revitalized energy to the menstrual equity movement. PERIOD will enable UnTabooed’s curriculum to grow nationally through their Campus Chapter Network. UnTabooed will help grow PERIOD’s support of sustainability in period product usage.

Diary of a Diva: Princeton Menstruation Celebration!

Hi there!

My name is Jamie, and I’m one of the co-presidents of Princeton Students for Gender Equality (PSGE). We teamed up with The DivaCup to hold a Menstruation Celebration, an event to break the menstrual taboo, educate students about menstruation, collect product donations, and most of all, celebrate periods!

Why Hold a Menstruation Celebration?

It all started last summer when I was texting with a guy friend who is studying to be a doctor and the topic of menstruation came up. It soon became clear that he knew the science behind it and the technical terms, but had no idea what periods are actually like for those who have them. He thought we changed a tampon two or three times per period! I was shocked! I texted a dozen other non-menstruating friends and found that many also had no idea what people who menstruate experience on a monthly basis. Something had to be done! So, PSGE decided to partner with Princeton Students for Reproductive Justice (PSRJ) to plan the Menstruation Celebration event!

We Spread the Word!

To advertise the event, we hung up posters and put the word “menstruation” all over campus!
We also interviewed Princeton students who don’t menstruate about what they know about periods for a hilarious and surprising video.
I definitely recommend you watch it!

The Day of the Event!

We held the event on November 18th in our central campus center, and it was a huge hit! Hundreds of people stopped by to talk about and celebrate menstruation.
There was so much to do and see, including:

  • Homemade period-themed snacks: vulva cupcakes, pretzel tampons dipped in white and red chocolate, uterus cookies, and chocolate-chip ovary bread.
  • Fun games and activities: pin the ovaries on the uterus, a uterus piñata full of red candy, a photo station with a giant uterus and period trivia with The DivaCup notebooks as a prize!
  • Informational posters about what a period is, period myths, periods and politics and how to use trans-inclusive language when talking about periods.
  • Alternative products station featuring a demonstration of The DivaCup!
  • Access station featuring stories from people who struggle to access period products.
  • Collected donations for Distributing Dignity, an organization that provides pads, tampons, and bras to those who need them.
  • A raffle for The DivaCup and Diva Wash, as well as some other great products.

Amazing Results!

We collected some amazing menstrual product donations and we raised over $700 for Distributing Dignity! The event had a huge impact on campus, people were talking about menstruation in dining halls and dorms across campus. Thank you so, so much to The DivaCup team for the support and the incredibly generous donation. Tons of people came into the event confused or unsure about The DivaCup and left with far more information and excitement. (And a personal thank you to Diva Cup for getting me through hiking trips, my gap year in Senegal, and life at Princeton!)
Much menstruation love,

 

Jamie O’Leary.
Jamie O’Leary is a sophomore at Princeton University from Rutland, VT. She is an Anthropology major with a Gender and Sexuality Studies minor, and she is especially interested in studying and breaking taboos around women’s bodies and sexuality. She is one of the founders and co-presidents of Princeton Students for Gender Equality (PSGE), an activist group and an inclusive, intersectional forum for discussions of feminism, gender, sex, and sexuality. (Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/princetonstudentsforgenderequality/).

 

Diary of a Diva: Living the Green Life

Hi there!

I am 30 years old and like many other women I started out with pads early on. I remember in middle school, pads with wings were not a common product to come by. As one could imagine, it was always an accident waiting to happen. Later, I “graduated” to wings and thought “WHERE HAVE THESE BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!” Then came the challenge of summer and as young ladies know the combination of PE, summer, and being on your period are the perfect storm for paranoia. Asking your friends to check your pants for leaks became the norm or even tying a sweater around your waist (it’s interesting that it’s become a throwback fashion trend). Fast forward to the college years, I finally decided I was grown up enough to move on to tampons. Growing up in a Latin family there were always talk about how only women that are no longer virgins could use tampons. I went ahead with it nervously. I recalled my first attempt at trying a tampon when I was 13 years old, I tried it because one of my best friends at the time used them and I wanted to be cool and try to as well. To save you the trouble, I had no idea what I was doing and I gave up.

At age 21, there I was reading the pamphlet and determined to make this work for me and then SUCCESS! This felt like a godsend. I could finally work out and go about my day without worry. Well, as time went on I realized that having to change one out every 3-4 hours started to became a hassle. Sometimes I wasn’t around a restroom and what if I had to pee?! I had friends tell me they could pee with one on and I thought, “Well there must be something wrong with my anatomical structure because that has never been the case for me.” I accepted it for years and just went on as usual.

A few years later, I remember a friend bringing up the idea of menstrual cups and I immaturely replied, “EW!” I later saw the error of my response and apologized. To be honest the idea of a menstrual cup just gave me the “willies” so I put it behind me. Then, in 2015, I discovered there was a huge cyst on my ovary that led to the removal of the entire ovary. After that my cycle continued on schedule but I then decided to switch to organic cotton tampons since I became hyper aware of the products I was using. I still didn’t feel right even though it was organic. I remembered that previous conversation about the menstrual cup and decided “What the hell, why not?” I purchased The DivaCup and immediately went home and watched the company’s YouTube videos about how to use it, and then I cracked my knuckles and said, “Let’s do this.”

I found the push-down fold to be the easiest and much to my surprise it was easy. Now the question was would it hold up? I tried it on a relaxed weekend and left it in for a normal work day length of time (8 hours) and YES!!! The DivaCup WORKED! No spill, no accidents, no discomfort. I could use the restroom like normal, it had no harmful ingredients, was easy-to-care-for, eco-friendly, AND I could do my fitness routine and not have to worry about it at all!

I became a DivaCup convert for LIFE!!!

diary-of-a-diva-living-the-green-lifeCindy L.

Cindy was born and raised in Southern California and has been happily married for two years. She is a professional Spanish translator and interpreter by day and a green beauty enthusiast and blogger by night. Cindy loves researching healthier natural alternatives and educating herself and others about living an intentionally greener lifestyle.

Diary of a Diva: From Peace Corps to Conservation

When I committed to joining Peace Corps Morocco in June of 2014, I received a packing list that included, among other things, The DivaCup. I had used similar products in the past but was never very pleased with the results often I had trouble with leaking or had to empty and clean the item several times a day. I knew that tampons would be difficult to come by in Morocco, so before I left, I purchased The DivaCup and hoped for the best.
Peace-Corps

Since that time, I’ve traveled the world and am so happy to have The DivaCup.

During my time in Morocco, I worked at a women’s center teaching aerobics, English, world culture and cooking classes. More than 30 women attended these daily classes, learning things like how to prepare healthy meals, the English lyrics to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” or how to salsa dance. Over the course of my 30 months of service in Morocco, my students and I developed wonderful relationship and shared our cultures, recipes, and music with each other.

Frequently, however, my students would bow out of attending aerobics or dance classes because they were on their periods. In Morocco, this means a week or more of using pads because tampons are completely unavailable. Many of the rural women I worked with would rip the absorptive pads out of diapers and use those, because they were far cheaper than the name-brand pads available at stores.

While my students had to creatively negotiate running, playing basketball or doing fitness classes while menstruating, I was able to keep teaching week after week, thanks to The DivaCup.

The DivaCup also made travel incredibly easy. I vacationed in Europe during my time of service, spending two weeks in Greece, Spain and Italy, and The DivaCup made those journeys so much easier (and cheaper!) than if I’d had to rely on tampons. Even traveling throughout Morocco – when I often had to spend 12+ hours on a bus to get from my home town to the south for work – I was able to rely on The DivaCup.

Divacup-Diary-Peace-Corps-Sea-TurtleAfter my position ended in Morocco, I immediately came to volunteer with a project protecting loggerhead sea turtles in Cabo Verde, a small island nation in west Africa.

Conservation is the name of the game here: we flush the toilets with sea water, as the only fresh water on the island is desalinated and very expensive. We reuse everything, from rope found on the shore (we use it to separate nests in the hatchery) to peanut butter jars (used to hold clothes pins, flipper tags, and so much more).

The DivaCup is especially important to me here, because not only are tampons very expensive, but the small island of Sal has limited landfill facilities, and I would hate to be filling it up with bleached cotton and cardboard applicators.

Thanks to The DivaCup, I am able to live an eco-conscious lifestyle while helping to protect an incredible, endangered species.

Victoria A.

 

Diary of a Diva: Birthday Diva

birthday

My name is Francine and here is my The DivaCup story.

On Sunday July 31st, 2016 it wasn’t any ordinary day…it was my 48th birthday, and for me, birthdays are very special and need to be celebrated.

On that morning, at Parlee Beach, Shediac, NB, it was going to be a very hot and sticky day but I took comfort in knowing that we had been invited to join our friends for a beautiful day of boating.  It was going to be a glorious b-day and I was really looking forward to the fresh air blowing through my hair and to feeling the salt water on my skin.

On the morning of the 31st, I woke up to my very own personal “birthday gift”: my period! On one hand I was thrilled to go out boating, but on the other, I was worried about having to wear a tampon and about having to change it every few hours without access to a washroom!!

My day had just gone from being TERRIFIC to being DREADFUL. I wanted to cancel our plans at that point, but my husband convinced me it was going to be great day.

My husband and I got ready for our day out on the water! We packed food, drinks and snacks galore, and I decided to run out and get some sanitary supplies for the day! So we rushed out to the drugstore to get my usual stock of tampons and pads. When I was going through the array of choices in feminine hygiene products, I came across The DivaCup. I had heard about The DivaCup before and had even watched a few of the instructional videos. Standing that day in the feminine hygiene section, I decided that this was the day!! I was desperate and I needed something that I could trust and that would last all day even while wearing a bathing suit.

We rushed home and I read The DivaCup instructions carefully and with confidence. I took a long deep breath and inserted the cup… and… to my surprise, it felt very comfortable and I felt very secure. I was so confident in The DivaCup that I even wore a white bathing suit for our excursion.

Once out on the water on the Shediac Bay, our captain decided he would park his boat on the shoreline of Shediac Island alongside a few dozen other boats. Little did I know, my friends had a huge surprise instore for me. My awesome husband and our close friends had organized gigantic beach party on a small Island with 45 of my closest friends there to wish me a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

I was so shocked….I had NO IDEA that they had planned this day for me!! Tears of joy were running down my cheeks while everyone was rushing to greet me on the island. As I approached in-land, there were some beach chairs in a huge circle and a very special chair with my name on it and a Hawaiian lay. Lots of love was felt and I was so touched that all my friends would go through so much trouble for me. I am truly blessed in so many ways.

I had the GREATEST birthday EVER! I even went swimming a few times without being worried about my period whatsoever. When I got home that evening, and it was time to empty the contents of the cup, I have to admit that I was a little worried and concerned about removing The DivaCup but it was easy and I had no problems whatsoever. I was totally impressed with this product.

Thank you to The DivaCup for making my birthday the best one it could be! I consider The DivaCup to be my birthday gift from me to me! I will never go back to pads and tampons. You made my day that much more special knowing I didn’t have to worry and stress out about my period.

I’m a believer in The DivaCup!!  Happy birthday to me!!

Francine

 

Francine L.

Mother to a 17 year old son, happily married and beach enthusiast who loves to spend time with her family and close friends. Enjoys life to the fullest and always looking to make people smile.

 

 

 

 

 

Diary of a Diva: Kick-boxing Diva

ac17c737-89e7-46ef-83e8-1095e1bb32a8When November hit, I had an itch to do something new and something out of my element. After I was done work one day, there was a flyer on my car for a free week of boxing. I thought to myself, “this is a perfect opportunity for me!”  I went with a few co-workers for the free week and had a blast! That’s when I knew that I had found what I was looking for.

The classes are exhilarating and the coach is talented in both boxing as well as helping new members feel motivated. Not only does he teach you the proper techniques of boxing, he also provides you with a full body workout, all within a 90 minute class. With classes from Monday to Friday, ages ranging from 5 year olds to 50, and people from different fitness levels, it was easy to feel welcomed and encouraged to come back every day. On a regular night, the classes start with 25 minutes of conditioning while the rest of class is focused on boxing, either on the bags or with a partner.

Learning the basics was hard work and still is after seven months of attending class. Not only am I learning a well-known and respected sport, I’m also learning how to defend myself. Who would have thought that learning the foundation of boxing can be applicable to other activities! I’ve incorporated the basics to playing softball and my batting has improved drastically. A few of my other classmates were even able to improve their golf game.

With the amount of energy spent in class, I have no time to worry about my period. BoxingThat is why I rely on The DivaCup!

With The DivaCup, I have the confidence and freedom to box without fear of leaking. Even on my heavy days, I feel relief that I can do combination hits and slip from punches while boxing with the boys! I normally forget that I’m on my period while in class since I don’t feel the cup at all during wear.

I’m so incredibly happy with my DivaCup that I feel invincible! I can’t even imagine other women using anything else but The DivaCup while doing any intense sport or activity. I’m such a proud user that I even convinced a classmate (now friend) to get The DivaCup and she is thrilled with the results!

I’m a proud Diva and I will never go back to the dark days of using tampons or pads.

 

 

 

Diary of Diva: From Homelessness to Menstrual Advocacy

NadyaHi there! I’m Nadya, an 18-year-old living in Oregon with my mom and my two younger sisters (and a beta fish). I also consider myself a loud and proud advocate and leader of the menstrual movement. In this post, I am going to talk a little bit about my story of how I became introduced to and passionate about periods.

Three years ago, in the spring of my freshman year of high school, my mother lost her job and within a few weeks we could no longer afford to live in our two-bedroom apartment. We had no choice but to move out and begin what I call our time of transition — several months of couch-surfing with our closest friends, who have since become family. My commute to school went from ten minutes to over two hours with two bus changes. I was constantly worried about my family’s financial situation. I questioned if we could afford food, and wondered how much longer I would have to fill in the bubble marked “no permanent address” on forms.

At that time, I became fascinated with other people’s hardships — probably to raise my own spirits, to distract myself, and to better understand what was going on in my own life — and I felt that I could relate in a way because at that same time, I found myself in an abusive relationship and without a place I could call home. During countless hours navigating my way to school or in staying at a shelter, I conversed with homeless women I met. I asked them what they found most challenging about their situation, and if there was anything I could do to help.

Their responses surprised me because until then I had never thought about menstrual hygiene as an issue. I kept a journal, and wrote down stories of using stolen pillowcases, toilet paper, and recycled brown grocery bags to maintain their periods. I became fascinated and angered by this unaddressed natural need, noticing how women’s shoulders rose in nervousness when I asked them questions about it, whispering when they said the word “period,” looking around nervously as if they had something to hide.

I began talking to different nonprofit organizations, and found that none of the organizations I spoke to openly supported menstruation, whether due to a lack of funds or a lack of displayed need. Thus, there was this never-ending cycle of organizations not prioritizing menstrual hygiene and women not feeling confident to advocate for their natural needs, leaving periods completely unaddressed. I also found it confusing that so many people were scared to talk about periods. After all, if basically every woman experiences menstruation for an average of 40 years of her life on a monthly basis, why was it such a hushed topic?! However, even though I felt myself being an advocate for periods, I still remembered the immense amount of terror that I felt when I was twelve-years-old and found blood lining my underwear — I remember screaming, crying, and convincing myself that I was dying.

These stories, coming from women who were in much worse living situations than I, tore down whatever close-minded and pessimistic perspective I had until that point. I thought about how lucky I was to have been given The DivaCup by my mother when I was twelve-years-old and angry about how much waste was being produced with all the packaging of the feminine hygiene products I was using on my period. I thought about how lucky I was to have access to clean bathrooms so that I could use the product, and how much the product helped my family save as we scrimped to save up money.

Suddenly I found myself waking up each morning with excitement, optimistic about the smallest things in my life at the time. I looked at my life with immense gratitude — grateful for the supportive network of family and friends we had to take us in when we couldn’t afford our home, for the camions of careeducational opportunities that I had, and most of all to have my mom in my life as she always inspires me with her intelligence, resourcefulness and strength.

I knew at that time in my life, I had the power and drive to make positive change. I began dreaming of different ways of addressing the need for menstrual hygiene, and when my family saved enough for us to move back into our home, in the summer of my sophomore year, I did something about it.

In the spring of my freshman year of high school, when my family saved up enough for us to move back into our two-bedroom apartment in Portland, I founded Camions of Care. What started as a personal project to use savings to buy and hand out feminine hygiene products on my way to school, with the help of an amazing and driven youth team of peers, is now an exponentially growing organization.

To read more about Camions of Care and how The DivaCup has partnered with this incredible youth-driven organization, click here!

 

 

Nadya with members of The Diva Team at HerConference in NYC

Nadya with members of The Diva Team at HerConference in NYC

Nadya Okamoto is an 18-year-old from Oregon. She is also the Founder and Executive Director of Camions of Care–a global nonprofit organization that strives to address the natural needs of women through advocacy, education, and service. Nadya founded Camions of Care after her family experienced a degree of homelessness, during which she discovered the unaddressed need of menstrual hygiene. Nadya wants people to understand that everyone deserves to have their natural needs met so they feel ready to achieve their full potential. She is also the Youth Director of Social Venture Partners Youth, is on the board of the Women’s Foundation of Oregon PLAN International USA, and is involved in many other school activities around law practice, politics, and gender equality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diary of a Diva: The DivaCup vs. a Marathon

The DivaCup vs. a Marathon

My name is Lindsay. I am a teacher, graduate student, and outdoor enthusiast! I enjoy hunting, kayaking, bicycling, riding horses, running, and I even volunteer at my local animal shelter.

I have always considered my periods to be normal to heavy, and I usually have to be prepared with back up supplies at all times. It’s not uncommon for me to leak or bleed out onto my clothing or bed sheets. There have been many times when I have changed my plans or rearranged my schedule due to my period because it was too much of a struggle to plan for bathroom breaks, find places to change, or imagine creative ways to stash feminine supplies. Purchasing The DivaCup changed my life!

Recently I ran the Gettysburg North vs. South Marathon. While packing for my trip I was feeling the normal anxiousness that the race weekend brings, but was more worried when my insides began cramping with pre-menstrual symptoms. I knew that my period was on its way, and I was not happy! I didn’t want mother nature to ruin my hard work and training.  I think these are usual fears for women, especially active women. Our periods still control and dictate what we can or cannot do. So instead of packing extra underwear, worrying about where I could stash tampons for my run, or trying to prevent myself from bleeding out onto my running tights, I packed my DivaCup and DivaWash.

The DivaCup vs. a Marathon

The next morning I performed my typical race routine of brushing my teeth, putting on extra deodorant, and lubing myself with baby ointment (my fellow runners will understand), but quickly decided to add The DivaCup into my ritual. I wore the cup for the entire marathon! I had no leaks, cramping, or discomfort! It is so very true that when inserted correctly, The DivaCup cannot be felt. I had to use a public locker room afterwards, so I kept my cup in for my shower without any problems. If that was not enough, I wore my menstrual cup for the two and a half hour car ride home! I felt free and confident without my typical period concerns. I did not have any discomfort or leaks and was able to use public restrooms, including port-a-potties, without the typical fears I would have had with changing a tampon in such dismal conditions.

I would like to thank The DivaCup family for all of your dedication to women’s health. I love your product and would highly recommend it to all women! Women all over the world would be blessed to enjoy life’s adventures without worrying about scheduled bathroom breaks, stashing feminine hygiene products, or devising a plan for battling embarrassing leaking accidents. I do not, and will not, fear my period any longer! I feel empowered with my body, and am confident to seek out more opportunities without limits!

The DivaCup is changing how my generation views women’s bodies, menstruation, and female reproductive health! Thank you again!

The DivaCup vs. a MarathonLindsay C.

I started running in the Spring of 2013 with the hopes of finishing a local 5K race. I quickly embraced the running phenomenon and competed in more races, including muddy obstacle courses, for the remainder of the year. I continued to challenge myself to compete in a variety of distance races such as a 10K, half-marathon, and marathon. Although I will never be the fastest runner, I do enjoy working toward accomplishing personal goals. Within six months of my first ever marathon, I ran the Gettysburg North-South Marathon. Despite of an injury, I was able to finish the race. I started running to lose weight, prevent diabetes, and strengthen my heart. Through the years I have met amazing people from all walks of life; I have been inspired and motivated to create a dog running program at my local Humane Society; and most recently I started coaching Cross Country at a local high school. Runners are not just people who wear tight neon clothes, blow “snot rockets”, or provide the slowest parade to unknown audiences. Runners are people struggling to balance careers, families, and various economical issues. I am thankful that The DivaCup allows me to continue discovering capabilities, opportunities, and inner strength without extra worry and stress. I am a runner, and I proudly use The DivaCup.

Plastic-Free for the Sea

P2210324 v2“Head Instructions: Please do not put anything down the toilet that has not been passed from one end of a human to the other…This means NO tampons, bad dogs, cardboard, kittens, plastic, dreams, maxi pads, cell phones, or souls.”-Sea Dragon

While aboard the 72 foot sailing vessel, Sea Dragon, with 15 women for the next 15 days, this colorful note that hung above the “head” (also known as toilet for land dwellers) meant serious business! Backing up the “head” on a 15 day-long passage, island hopping through the Caribbean, was a sure way to make instant enemies fast.

Luckily, myself and these 15 other women were not just ordinary women….we were part of the eXXpedition team of female scientists, sailors, artists, moms, students, and journalists from all over the globe that had come together, united in passion, to save what we love: the sea! We were just one of several all-female crews that was helping Sea Dragon sail across every ocean in the world conducting plastic research in order to uncover the unseen and educate local communities about ways they can live plastic free for our sea! In short, we were a motley crew of Diva Cup wearing mermaids, and our “head” thanked us!

In preparation for the trip, I realized that I would be out at sea for 2-3 months before heading back home to San Diego to my own sanctuary,  a 28 ft sailboat called Mi Corazon. That’s 3 menstrual cycles worth of tampons! These are the moments when being a female traveler is a bother. I weighed my menstrual hygiene options:

Option 1: Pack a satchel full of a 3 month supply of tampons. P2220454 v2This option was problematic because waste disposal on a boat is a bit of an issue and second because I was on an expedition to rid the sea of plastic.

Option 2: Pack nothing, save space in my bag, and hope that the islands are stocked with the essentials that I would need when I need them. This option was very risky since feminine hygiene products are not always easy to come by in the Caribbean, especially in Cuba without a ration book.

Option 3: The DivaCup! I had never heard of menstrual cups until my girlfriend explained The DivaCup to me two months prior to my trip over a glass of wine and a cheese platter. I tried not to let my face reveal my instant reaction of “hell no! gross!” as she explained to me what it was in detail. A cup you put in your hoohaa, holding blood?! yuk!! But I guess a cotton tampon stuck up there is just as gross if not even more gross when you really think about it.

About a month before my trip to the Caribbean, I went on a surf trip in Baja with another girlfriend. As we walked along the beach picking up trash, we found that tampon applicators, along  with  plastic bottle caps and straws,  were among the most common plastic trash in our sacks. As women, we feel a special connection to mother earth, pachamama, and we have a persistent calling in our hearts to preserve her beauty. But yet in being women, living in a tampon culture, we also have this seemingly unavoidable plastic footprint that we turn a blind eye to once a month. That’s when it dawned on me: there was hope! The DivaCup! One reusable silicone cup that would not only save me money every month, but more importantly, it would save our seas from plastic applicator waste created from tampon use! Being a woman does not mean we necessarily have to have a larger plastic foot print than our male counterparts. We can truly live a plastic free life for the sea and live in harmony with Mother Nature.

P1300741 v2I have traveled and lived in remote places around the world, and in between my travels I live on a small 28 foot sailboat. All of the places I have traveled to, including life on my boat, can make dealing with my period a struggle. Yet my 3 month trip through the Caribbean was the first time that getting my period was not a hassle or an embarrassment. I have so many stories of trying to ask for tampons over the counter using hand gestures to replace the foreign words I couldn’t remember, or at home walking the dock stealthily with a baggy of used tampons, hoping I don’t run into a fellow boating neighbor red handed. These stories are now stories of the past. With The DivaCup always by my side, I’m ready to continue living my active life style of surfing, climbing, biking, and sailing string free! And most importantly, I have confidence that I am doing my part to save the playground I love by living plastic free for the sea!

 

 

insta hang ten v2Natalie S.

Surfing, sailing, diving, open ocean swimming, kayaking, and even living aboard her 28 ft sailboat Mi Corazon docked in San Diego…. NATALIE sees water as an integral part of her life. Her life and professional goal is to utilize her Marriage and Family Therapy skills plus her love for ocean conservation to engage women in the great outdoors. To help people disconnect from the choas of life in order to re-connect with their truest self, re-connect to their community, and re-connect to nature.  We naturally want to save what we love. Fall in love with the sea with me and lets restore it’s beauty by living plastic-free!!!

 

 

  

Diary of a Diva: Putting The DivaCup to the Test!

stethoscope in shape of heart concept. blue color.

Hi my name is Lee, I am a pediatric home care nurse and a mother of three amazing children. I have used The DivaCup for three cycles now and can never imagine going back to using tampons or pads.

I first learned about menstrual cups through a local Facebook moms group. Intrigued by this conversation, I immediately began researching and watching numerous videos about them, making me more aware of options I have never heard of before.

The number one reason I wanted to switch to The DivaCup was its claim of 12 hours of leak-free protection.

I decided I would pick up The DivaCup from a local store and give it a try for my next cycle. After I made my purchase, I felt a sense of relief and excitement to try The DivaCup.

I tried The DivaCup the following week and was beyond amazed. There were no leaks, even on my heavy days; though I checked frequently. There was no odor. It was way more comfortable than I even thought possible, I couldn’t even feel it. I was hooked by the end of my period. I tell anyone that will listen about how much I love it.4 School Fears I Don't Have with The DivaCup | The DivaCup Blog

As a nurse, I can’t stop caring for my clients to change my tampon or pad, some days I may not even have the chance to pee. The DivaCup was my savior. I am no longer concerned about leaking
through my white scrub pants or changing my tampons or pads at a client’s home. Now I can do it all conveniently at my own home!

As a mother of two young girls I am excited to be able to teach them alternative ways to the “traditional pads and tampons” and show them better options for their bodies. I am happy that I have the ability to educate them on their menstrual cycles and speak openly about our bodily functions.

The DivaCup is a great option for many people! I am glad I can help spread the great news and continue on my path of helping others!!

 

IMG_20150430_132646221Lee is a nurse, mother and wife who lives in the Midwest. In her free time she enjoys crafts, kayaking, disc golfing and just relaxing with friends and family.