A while back (15+ years ago) when I started menopause some older, and wiser, women equated it to puberty and at the time I thought that’s ridiculous. Now I realize it is a lot like puberty in reverse…you lose your period, your body goes all out of whack….and some friends doing the dating thing can be disappointed and heartbroken…like high school!
I’m one of the lucky ones that never had PMS growing up. I literally got my period on Christmas…reeeaaallly?…what a gift that was….and was regular as can be until I had a partial hysterectomy at 38. I had to actually put a dot on the calendar to remember that it was going to happen and be prepared, because I never had mood swings or cramps or basically anything. I know…you’re thinking “BITCH!” That’s okay…’cause the blessing I had through puberty did not carry through to menopause. Holy shit it was like being hit with a ton of bricks!
I was so moody in my early 40’s that at one point I said to the was-band, “I don’t even like myself”…who the hell is this person inhabiting my body! Yes, mine was pretty wacky, but that doesn’t mean all women have the same experience. I know some that hardly have any symptoms…to which I say “BITCH!” Oops, I mean, lucky them!!
When I was doing a little research on the topic I came across this article at womentowomen.com. It’s actually a very interesting article and I’d recommend reading it, but there’s one sentence at the beginning of the article that reads “Menopause is a gift, a lantern lighting the way to significant transformation in all areas of your life. I want you to know, unequivocally, that you can feel and look better than you ever imagined after menopause, even if your symptoms right now are terrible.” At first reading I thought…’what the hell is she talking about!’…but I’m now on the other side of menopause and, except for the weight gain part, it is a pretty great time of life. It was hell for me going through it…hot flashes, sleepless nights, moodiness, blah, blah, blah….but coming out on the other side has had some really nice benefits (to clarify, I’m not talking about the wackiness of the last 5 years).
You don’t have to worry about your period anymore…woohoo! You don’t have to worry about getting pregnant. I feel like you get a better sense of self and confidence in your decisions. I used to be someone who never said “no” and sometimes did things I didn’t really want to do just to be nice, or to fit in…I don’t feel the need to do that anymore. Personally, I’ve learned that it’s important to keep all those people around you that bring you joy, happiness, friendship and love…and it’s okay to let go of some people that kind of suck the life out of you. It can be liberating! So, yeah, in a way I feel like a kid again, before I went through puberty…weird?!
I used to say to younger people who asked for advice about parenting…each stage of child rearing is a different kind of easy and different kind of hard. In some ways it applies to menopause…each part starts out as a different kind of hard, but eventually it’s a different kind of easy. Coming out at the end of it can be really great if you can get through it and you look for the silver lining! I have some of the most amazing women on my rowing team…as well as other facets of my life…that are confident, strong, awesome women in their 60’s and 70’s…so BRING IT ON! I’m looking forward to that next chapter…and the possibilities it holds.
….and if you’re going through it right now I promise that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel….hang in there!