The Twelve Days of Menopause

A Song of Survival


I promised myself I’d never write an article about menopause.  After all, it’s just not done. Polite ladies don’t discuss those sorts of things in public.  They’re too personal.  In fact, when I was a child the very word itself was never used.

My earliest recollections on the subject go way back to when I was about five years old.  I was laying on the floor coloring, listening intently while my grandmother and her sister discussed a friend of theirs who was going through "the change.”  I probably wouldn’t have paid that much attention to their conversation had it not been for the way they spoke the term in a hushed whisper, putting it right up there with all those other words that were always spoken in a whisper – words like pregnant, and cancer, and divorce – as if denying them audibility would somehow keep them safely at bay. It was all so mysterious.  What was "the change” anyway?  And what was happening to this poor woman who was going through it? I didn’t have a clue, but it sure sent my little kindergarten imagination into overdrive.  So much so, in fact, that when the friend came over later that day, I half expected her to have sprouted a second head, or feathers down her back, or at the very least a decent case of reptile skin.  You can imagine how surprised I was, and not just a little bit disappointed, to see her looking just the same as she always did.

Years later, my mom’s approach to the whole issue was more matter-of-fact.  No she didn’t whisper about it, but she offered no particulars either, which left me just as clueless.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I mean, obviously by this time I had figured out that it had something to do with stuff that happened to a woman’s body when she reached a certain age, but details were still sketchy.  Not that I would have pushed for them anyway, because the truth is, I didn’t really want to know.  (It’s the same logic behind why I never ask for specifics from my Roto-Rooter guy.  Some details are just better left un-detailed, if you know what I mean.)

Fast-forward to now and what I’m going through myself.  If my grandmother were here she’d give me a knowing look and ask if I was almost through with (remember to whisper) "the change.”  If my mom were involved in the discussion we could talk out loud – we just wouldn’t be saying much.  My generation is different.  For one thing, we’re a lot more open.  We’re also living in the information age, which ought to make an issue like menopause a lot easier to handle.  Unfortunately I have neither the time nor the inclination to navigate the Himalayan-sized mass of medical and psychological data available on the Internet.  Besides, (and maybe I’m harking back to the old Roto-Rooter mindset here) I don’t really need an in-depth examination of compound bazedoxifene/conjugated estrogens and how they may or may not affect the rate of endometrial hyperplasia when a selective estrogen receptor modulator is combined with conjugated estrogens to alter vasomotor symptoms.  I just want to know what the heck is going on with my body. 

And I’ll bet I’m not alone.  Women everywhere are going through "the change” as we speak (not to mention all those future generations who are laying on the floor coloring while visions of claw-footed behemoths dance in their heads, who will also one day suffer the slings and arrows of this outrageous misfortune.)  What we all need is one concise definitive menopause resource.  No more mysteries.  No more gyno-babble.  Just the straight poop telling us exactly what we can expect.  I therefore submit for your consideration, my contribution to womankind.  I call it "The Twelve Days of Menopause.”  To play it click on the Media file at the bottom of this page.  (Hey, I promised I’d never write an article about menopause.  I didn’t say I’d never sing about it.)

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