Saturday, April 8, 2023

Can We Please Normalize Conversations About Menopause


I'm not sure why I am using this photo to begin what I am about to talk about. Maybe it's because Mother Nature appears to be menopausal. And. That's the topic of discussion. Because it's early Spring and it appears that we are going to have a blast of Summer weather next week. 

So. Menopause. Are you cringing? Open for discussion? Between point A and point B? Do you want to know where I am at? 

I am finally done with menopause. 


There are a few residual symptoms like night sweats and gagging at the smell of foods (mostly snack foods) that I used to love, but that is all. 

My angry vagina drawer, filled with pads of all sizes, no longer exists. 

First and foremost, I am beyond grateful that Lisa went through this more than a few years before I did. She is almost 6 years older than I am.

She got it. 

She knew I was going through it. 

We survived it just like we did when she was going through it. 

Throughout my ordeal with menopause, I learned a lot. 

More than a lot...

1. We need to normalize discussions about menopause. For those of you born in the 70s and earlier, you know what I mean. I was born in 1973. When I started my period, I had no idea what was going on. Women didn't talk about this stuff. Our elders certainly never talked about menopause. 

2. The symptoms of menopause are lengthy. It extends beyond hot flashes, mood swings, irregular periods, etc. It includes but is not limited to, decreased libido, tingling in the hands, feet, arms, and legs (it feels like bugs crawling on you), changes in taste, thinning hair, facial hair, an overactive bladder, irregular heartbeat, etc...

3. Accept what is. Facial hair. Mood swings. Food cravings. Sporadic periods and spotting. The joy of not having to spend a fortune on feminine hygiene products every month. Etc...

4. Lucid dreams about being pregnant. I had these for about a year during menopause. Vivid dreams of being pregnant. I never remembered the process of actually giving birth. But. Suddenly a baby would appear. In my arms. 

5. The most bizarre cravings. They are worse than P.M.S. cravings. I'm not joking. Pickles. Chocolate (which I was never fond of). Hot buttered popcorn (not the microwave version). California and vegetarian sushi. Portabello mushrooms. Bacon. The list goes on. And on. And on. 

6. The chills and night sweats. Or should that be the other way around? I got (and still get) the most fierce chills at night. I have socks on my feet. A blanket over my head. I am covered in blankets. Then. The night sweats hit. Big time. Lots of sweat. Lots of splashing my face with cold water. Lots of throwing the blankets off. 

7. Perspective. This one will probably not be mentioned in any medical journal, but with age, comes wisdom. When you go through menopause, you take off your rose-colored glasses. You see things and people for what and who they are. And, you no longer give a shit what other people think. When your female body goes through that amount of chaos, you've earned all of that and then some. 

8. No more periods. I had my period for almost 40 years. Each and every single month I thought, "I wish I didn't have to go through this." But. When it finally happens. It's weird. Really. Really. Weird. As women, we get so used to having periods and cramps and everything in between. However, when you no longer have to deal with that. Weirdness. But. Greatness. 

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