How to Stay Positive About Menopause
Each time I read a title claiming to have a cure or remedy for menopause I laugh. There is no cure. Menopause is not something to be healed, it's a cycle of life for women. It's something that happens like birth, death and taxes. But, it doesn't have to be miserable.
Let yourself think about the whole thing, the big picture and find your own way through it and out to the other side. One way or another you are going to get there. It's up to you how the ride, the journey, goes.
This is not an easy topic for me to write about. I am 52, or will be in less than a month, I've never had children though I have been married. I would have liked children, instead I have looked after a lot of other children all my life. Most of all, I've been feeling old and the fact that I have menopause ahead of me, hasn't been something I feel okay about. So, I'm not writing this as someone who has all the answers, more like someone searching for the answers myself. No professionals required. Which of us is really a professional anyway?
From the start of our years as a young woman we begin teaching ourselves how to be women, how the woman's body works and what does it mean to be a woman in the world today. There are some written guidelines. There are a lot of spoken guides and a whole pile of double standards.
I'm a woman, born this way, lived this way, cleaned up my own blood for years this way. Being a woman is not about wearing a dress, putting on cosmetics and smelling nice. There is more to being a woman than the fact that we have different plumbing. We bleed. I don't think that should be taken so lightly or passed off as our obligation to the species, or whatever other babble religious officials and the male gender tend to tell us.
By now you must have heard that old thing about not trusting something that can bleed for 7 days and not die. Well, that's us, the magical, mystical woman. We can bleed, we do bleed and we do it so often it becomes a part of who we are. Menstruation becomes part of our identity, like having breasts or not growing a beard on our faces (for the most part). It's more than hormones.
Stay on the Sunny Side
So it does shake you up when you get to that age. The age where menopause becomes a reality, not just a word you learned how to spell.
I think it is easier for those who had children (or those who really never wanted them). You don't need to wonder what the point of all this blood, cramps, mood swings, mess and ruined underwear has been for all these years. As you take your Midol because the cramps have gotten worse in these last few years... I don't think those with children can feel the anger I feel. I don't have to apologize or explain it or avoid it. It's there and it's how I feel.
Of course, what we feel only matters to us. Menopause waits for no woman.
It would be nice to have a date for it. Menopause will start at 1:34AM on December 14th and end on December 16th, roughly 2:45PM. There isn't a schedule though. No plan and no knowing just when it will start or finish or what all the symptoms will be.
We hear about hot flashes. If our Mothers were around at the time, we know what they went through. I remember my Grandmother telling my Mother she should just have surgery and get it all taken out, like spare parts. My Grandmother just wanted her daughter to avoid pain, or what she thought of as a painful experience.. In fact, my Mother had a very easy menopause as much as I remember. We did talk about it so it's not that I wasn't there or didn't hear.
My sister-in-law just had a hysterectomy. It wasn't what she would have chosen. But, she has had endometriosis for many years and though she is sad about not having been able to have children - I think part of her is glad. An end to suffering is a good thing.
Today I'm writing this on the third day of my period. I wonder how many of them I have had since I was that 12 year old kid. I wonder how many more of them I will still have. I won't miss much about menstruation. I'm tired of dealing with it.
On the other hand, the mystery of menopause is just ahead of me. My friend, Deanna, is already there and she is just a few months older than I am. Her symptoms are things I'd be glad to do without. So, I'm hoping I will take after my Mother when the time comes. But, there's nothing we can know for sure but the fact that it will come and then, one day... it will be over and life will go on.
Women have to endure a lot with our bodies all our adult lives. I didn't get pregnant and give birth. But, I've been here in the trenches all these years. I'm sure I will get through menopause too. In the end, it will be nice to have it done and see how life is on the other side.
Each time I buy maxi pads now I think... this could be the last time I ever need to buy these! That's the thought that cheers me up. I guess we each need to find our own encouraging and happy thought (or thoughts) when it comes to menopause.