The sacred rites of menstrual cup disposal, post-hysterectomy

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The sacred rites of menstrual cup disposal, post-hysterectomy
Menstrual Cup Comet – Soft Enamel Lapel Pin from
My uterus and I had a complicated relationship, and a rather messy break up. About a week after my hysterectomy, I came across my menstrual cup and it hit me — I no longer need it post-hysterectomy. I’ll never need it ever again.

It’s time for me to let it go. But… I keep hesitating.

I think I need a ritual, a rite of passage, some symbolic way to move on from where I was to where I am. Disposing of my menstrual cup feels like an opportunity for just that. Anyone have any suggestions, ideas, thoughts on the matter? – Sable

Having a period for most of our lives can mean it becomes its own sort of ritual, for better or for worse. You hate it, love it, or you embrace it as a natural part of your life and anatomy. And if you were able to do that, hurrah! But you’re right, once you’ve embraced it, you’ll eventually lose it, either naturally in menopause or otherwise.

We’ve talked about ritualising the departing of a loved one, saying goodbye to your last name, private and symbolic memorials, and even having a self-love photo shoot to celebrate a milestone (or the end of one).

There may be some wisdom to glean from any one of these rituals, but ultimately it will come down to you. Maybe it’s a ceremony where you bury your menstrual cup or send it out to sea with some words of celebration for all of which our bodies are capable. Maybe it’s spending the “disposal day” on some self-care: a massage, some reiki, a manicure, some intentional reading, or something else that celebrates your freedom and health as a former period-haver.

It could even be a little mentorship session with a younger person in your life who may need some education or validation about their own cycle, if that’s an option for you.

Fellow Homies: do you have any ideas for a way to symbolically dispose of a no longer needed menstrual cup? Share with us in the comments!

The sacred rites of menstrual cup disposal, post-hysterectomy
Illustration by Sable Awesome

Comments on The sacred rites of menstrual cup disposal, post-hysterectomy

  1. I suggest you only send to sea your words of celebration, and dispose of the cup in a way that doesn’t add to the plastic continent. The sea doesn’t need your used cup, but some other people might. I’m pretty sure some shelters/thrift stores would take it, just as some of them take used sex toys. How about writing a note explaining your donation and passing your cup on to someone else (after a proper cleanse)?

    • Eeeeesh as someone whose never been able to get those little airholes totally cleaned out… the idea of using someone else’s cup, even sterilized, is seriously squicky.

      Maybe properly dispose of this one and donate an unused one in it’s place.

  2. I don’t know about the actual “disposal” aspect (used medical grade silicone sounds kinda tricky – perhaps advice from your local hospital, clinic or doctor’s office?)

    As far as a ritual goes, how about tucking it in your pocket or bag and taking it on a Farewell Tour? Visit the places that were important to you as you’ve come to this point in your life (or reasonable stand-ins for those places that are not accessible). School. Grandma’s house. Where you and your bestie used to hang out. Where you were first kissed. Wherever was important for *you*. You can reflect upon the relationship between these places and what the cup represents.

    Naturally, this is a personal journey, so it might be good to keep it subtle. (Besides, people will look at you funny if they see you running around having conversations with a menstrual cup. 🙂 )

    At the end of your journey, you can say something like, “Thanks for everything. It’s been quite a trip, but I can take it from here.” (I’m not you, you say what works for you.) Then wrap it up for its ultimate disposition. Once that’s done, treat yourself to something that makes you happy. Dinner and drinks. Lunch and lattes. Marx Brothers movies and mac & cheese. Whatever. I don’t judge; you do you.

    Just an idea.

    Peace, dear Sable!

  3. This would be more of a way to mark your hysterectomy, or a new phase in life, than about the menstrual cup, but in Judaism, many people are reclaiming the mikvah (a Jewish ritual bath) for major life transitions (as well as marking their menstrual cycles). There are a growing number of progressive mikvaot (plural), the most famous being in Boston. While these places are meant for Jews, there is no reason why you couldn’t create a water ceremony in a nearby lake, river, or ocean when it gets warm enough, and water seems particularly appropriate to the occasion. There are all kinds of ceremonies, but in Judaism typically you immerse several times (gently lifting your feet and ducking your head so every part of you is suspended in water) and say a blessing when you finish. If you want to mark it publicly, there are also some beautiful traditions involving close friends who are present (either at the shoreline or in a room nearby, depending on your comfort) who shower you with blessings and joy, quietly meditate, or share their own stories on a related topic (making transitions, their bodies, etc).

    • Yes! I went to the mikvah before my hysterectomy and after my final period. I’m only 40 and given our family history, I had many years of periods ahead of me when I had surgery. I wrote the wonderful staff at Mayim Hayim in Boston for a modified prayer.

      I’ve been trying to find an appropriate act of charity now that I’m healed – perhaps a supply drive for a shelter.

  4. Lunette suggests to burn your old menstrual cup in a fireplace, woodstove, or bonfire. Apparently the silicone burns off harmlessly, leaving only ash behind. So…maybe some kind of fire ritual!

  5. I imagine something like putting the cup in a vase and then planting something pretty. Because out of what you were is born a new you, and you’re pretty =)
    Be well!

  6. Bird feeder!!!! Those holes canwork for threading something through to hang it from. If you’re into witchy things, it could be a powerful crystal holding object?

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