One of the things I’m most proud of is my ability to discuss menopause. And I love that about my generation generally. I deplore euphemisms like “the change”. Ugh. Aren’t we grownups? So I think for me and my friends, menopause is a health issue, an inevitability. And a source for huge laughs and lots of commiseration. It’s no different than arthritis. It can be discussed without shame or embarassment.
So I’m at my office talking about menopause with my co-worker Belinda who is about ten years older than I am. She has successfully navigated the menopause waters and is a big help. Unlike my 70 year old mother who gets wildly uncomfortable when she senses the conversation turning to hormones and can’t we change the subject for God’s sake?
Belinda told me about a great book on menopause. I looked it up and read a chapter or two. I was thrilled and relieved to discover that a weird thing I’ve been experiencing is actully part of menopause for some women. My toes cramp and cross over. It’s seriously referred to as flat toe. For months I’ve been worred that it was the first sign of a significant neurological disorder and I’ve been afraid. But no, it’s hormones. Evidence that I’m getting old. Awesome!
In addition to the freaky behavior of female extremities, the book discusses how empowering this time of your life can be. And not solely because you can own sex without pregnancy, but also because the hormones that provide care giving instincts, the compromisers and the accommodaters, start to lose their oomph. You no longer have the urge to mother people and make sure they feel good or cook nourishing meals for everyone and keep the house perversely clean. It gives women a killer instinct at just the time in their career arch when they need it. I probably won’t surprise anyone that there is a divorce spike during this time – my divorce came right on cue.
Of course someone will need to tell my six year old why I think he should drive himself to school and make his own dinner, but that’s okay. I won’t care since that mothering instinct is a distant memory. Really they should tell women this stuff before they delay motherhood.
By the time you become a mom, you won’t feel like it any more.