My friends and I have been talking for about this for a few years now. As we are enter into the decade that starts with a 5, we have learned that we are the Lost Girls of Menopause. When we were young we were told about ‘becoming a woman,’ (well at least some of us were told- thanks Crow), and there are 752 books out there about how to be a good wife, a good mother, a good daughter, a single career woman, or having it all, which in itself is fallacy that we can discuss another time. Books and webinars and television shows and movies all clamor about, telling us how the exact steps to take and what to expect at every stage of life but one.
For example, as I fully enter over to the dark side no one gets me. No one but my friends that are similar in age, suffering sisters we are. The older ladies don’t discuss it, after all no one told them what to expect. I am here to offer support, and to break the cycle of silence.
We have considered putting our own blog out there (The White Elephant, Sneeze and Pee were are few blog titles we toyed with), to offer support to other women who wake up in the middle of the night in a puddle of sweat, who are jubilant one moment, angry and confused the next, and who take pregnancy tests because they can’t believe they could be so bloated, only to find out that they have given birth to a bouncing baby muffin top that just won’t go away.
I’m optimistic though, as now there are a few people out there offering some small sense of support. But many times its only superficial, because going down into the treacherous depths of transformation may lead to discomfort, emotional and physical. No one talks about it because no one wants to admit that they are old enough for it to happen to them. So we can only talk in small huddles, with our closest friends, when no one else is around that is still menstruating. And heaven forbid we discuss our incontinence or low sex drive when there are men folk within earshot. No one wants to be around a woman with this condition when they could be around a younger, happier woman who merely gets PMS once a month. We old hags get what feels like PMS once every three hours.
My OB/GYN, God love him, doesn’t offer much advice. Hormones made of horse pee, or birth control pills, or try something over the counter to help with the moods, the flashes, the insomnia, the feelings of rage over nothing in particular. But he’s never sat at work dry at one moment, drenched the next. Oh, and when I talk about dryness, I mean dryness EVERYWHERE. Hard to feel sexy when you have to douse your privates in what feels like gallons of lubricant. There I said it. And plucking chin hairs at 7am that seem to grow back by 5pm give me a much better understanding of the phrase “Five o’ clock shadow.”
We old gals (bleh) congregate, electronically or in person, and commiserate discretely. They make pills for guys who can’t get it up but what about a pill for women who change into old dried up monsters who don’t recognize themselves in the mirror anymore. We never thought this would happen to us – all they ever told us was that someday we would no longer get a monthly visit from our friend. Some friend.
I am committed to making sure my daughter is prepared. Sure, you just started menstruating a few years ago but you must prepare. Get ready for that day 35 years from now when you will feel so dried up and ugly one minute, so drenched in sweat and irrational the next, and everyone will expect you to just carry on. You may be able to skip school, or work, or some other obligation due to your period, but no one is going to buy that you need to stay home because you just might rip someone’s head off if you leave the house. I don’t want her to be as surprised as I was. I really never got it back in the 70’s when Edith Bunker went through the change and Archie told his beloved to hurry up and change.
Here is a snippit about Archie’s coping ability
Mike Stivic: [Edith is going through menopause] What did the doctor say?
Archie Bunker: He just said that menopause is a pretty tough time to be going through; especially for nervous types.
Mike Stivic: So?
Archie Bunker: So he prescribed these here pills.
[takes bottle of pills out of paper bag]
Mike Stivic: Oh, good.
Archie Bunker: I gotta take three of ’em a day.
While I’m thankful that the subject was broached back then, I’m livid (of course) that we haven’t made much progress since then. Norman Lear where are you?.