This new and wonderful adventure now occurring in my life really did sneak up on me. You see in early adolescents as women we are forewarned, (is that the right word ?) or at least educated about the oncoming earth shattering, life changing event called puberty. All the areas are covered, cramps, zits, moodiness, cravings for fatty foods, bloating, et al. We are somewhat prepared and even sort of competitive, "Have you started yet ?" , "NO", "I did two months ago, do you think there is something wrong with you ?" As teenage girls we shared stories, good and bad, there was a sort of fraternal feel to puberty, a "we are all in this together" theme. Adolescent girls are lucky, they have many chances to be informed about the shift to adulthood, it is openly discussed and a well anticipated event. Not so with the next big hormone adjustment in a woman's life.
It came on slowly, it began with a noticeable change in my husband. The worlds most thoughtful, loving and kind man I have ever encountered had become a neanderthal. My prince charming, the man that will re watch Pride and Prejudice with me for the 100th time without complaining, had become insensitive, indifferent and made me cry at least three times a week. I knew deep down inside during my bouts of indignance that I was being "somewhat" unreasonable, but the irritation was so acute that there was no turning back. This scenario continued for much of this summer, occasionally rearing its ugly head and ruining the day or four eekkk. Something had to be done, what on earth had happened to the harmony and camaraderie that had once been our marriage?
Yes my ipad saved our marriage, well, improved temporarily (or until I am irritated again). I cannot say enough about the Flipboard App for the ipad, it allows one to subscribe to websites that you really enjoy and keeps them in one big book that you can refer to daily, open it up and voila ! all your favorite sites are there for the surfing. But I digress. The all important article regarding peri-menopause and menopause caught my eye. I believe the title was "Am I Losing My Mind ?"
Lets just say epiphany does not even cover the moment I had after reading this article, not to mention the letter I composed in my mind to my dear, sweet, bewildered, tortured, and very understanding husband. It was refreshing to know that what we were experiencing now had a name and was something that could be addressed.
I am at a loss as to why menopause/perimenopause is not the anticipated, well documented and openly discussed event that is puberty. We know all woman experience it yet we really don't discuss it amongst ourselves. In a perfect world I would have had a discussion with my Dr. in my early 40's discussing perimenopause, regarding symptoms to look for, perhaps reading material to educate myself. This did not take place with my physician and I am now 49 and in the midst of peri-menopause. Kudos to those that might have a physician that has done the above, you are one step ahead of the game.
I am really questioning why this very important, liberating event in a woman's mid life is such a taboo, there really is a sort of hidden shame attached to this whole process. If menopause were something that men experienced there would be specialists with offices all over the country. We would have Menopause Special Care Units, these would be health care facilities with one bedroom suites that men could go to (completely covered by insurance) when they were experiencing severe hot flashes or increased irritability. All joking aside, ladies lets educate, support, reach out and empower one another. I ask you to step back in time and remember your anticipation of becoming a woman, this is the next step in that process. To the people out there that may be the loving family member or friend of a woman in transition at mid life.............be kind, be patient and educate yourselves, that is the most supportive thing you could do.