Boxing Day ladies lunch with aunties and mothers and cousins – and I decide to ask my older female relatives their experience of the peri menopause and menopause. (my menopause book says I should ask as I am likely to go through a similar process).
Within twenty mins I am thoroughly depressed (my younger cousins are wearing similar depressed expressions but taking comfort in the possibility that a cure will be found by the time they get there) as it would appear all the older female members of my family had long drawn out awful menopauses where they were lucky to avoid jail/being sectioned/being on social services radar. My mum insists hers lasted 25 years – I panic and Google it on my phone secretly under the table and am relieved to find that 8 years seems to be the maximum. I’d rather trust Google than my mum. Her medical expertise is limited – she insists to any overdue expectant mother that they should refuse to be induced as the baby will come in its own time – and adds I was due at the start of August and arrived in my own good time in the middle of October. (I was 6lbs 13oz – I don’t need Google to know her theory is highly unlikely)
Then my aunt who has been fairly quiet suddenly declares that the menopause is just like puberty and women just need to accept that and know that it will pass and get on with it.
“Just like puberty? Seriously?’ I say.
“Yes” she says – “look at puberty as the opening bracket of the reproductive and sexual part of your life and the menopause as the closing bracket”
That doesn’t really cheer me up. It is also embarrassing as my aunt is a bit deaf and therefore shouts rather than talks and we are in a restaurant. Several people turn as the word ‘sexual’ was bellowed out. Heads shake as the word ‘menopause’ was bellowed our twice.
“Remember you moped about all the time, snapping at everyone who asked you how you were” she continued. “And you just listed to a tape of that Cure band all the time and dyed your hair jet black – and you had that massive crush on Christine Cagney. Well it’s the same now – except its Helen Mirren you have a crush on. And you dye your hair blonde now. Yes – it’s like you are 14 all over again” she repeats, laughing merrily away.
Oh yes – it’s exactly like I was 14 again! Exactly like it – apart from:
• Occasionally peeing myself whenever I sneeze or laugh too
• Being five stone heavier with the weight I used to put on my
legs and boobs now pooling around my tummy (though one
benefit is I can rest my dinner plate on it now)
• Needing tweezers not just for my eyebrows but for various
other random parts of my face
• Worrying about everything rather than just how to nick a
blue eyeshadow from Woolies and whether dewberry or
white musk perfume from the Body Shop would be best for
the School Disco.
• Not having regular ‘whooshes’ of excitement for the future
and what it might hold because according to my
menopause book it is likely to hold osteoporosis,
cardiovascular disease, thinning hair, zilch sex life and
depression. Whoop de feckin whoop!!
• Regularly feeling like I have an internal radiator that ramps
up whenever I least expect or want it
• Having sagging skin and wrinkles rather than smooth silky
even skin (I wish I had appreciated that more!!)
• Waking up at least three times a night to visit the loo
Menopause is just like puberty? I beg to feckin differ. And actually – my hair is blonde – I just have a few highlights put in to brighten it up. And it wasn’t ‘the Cure band’. It was just ‘The Cure’. And they were cool. I actually preferred Alison Moyet and Yazz and the Communards. But it was cool to like the Cure. And I wanted to be cool.
That is one good thing I suppose – as well as giving very few fucks about anything, I don’t feel any need to be cool any more. That is quite liberating. I know I should proclaim to like London Grammar and other cool bands for 40 something people – but I quite like One Direction and I think Justin Beiber does some good songs too. And Jesse J does some songs to make you think too.
I just remembered that Christine went through the menopause on Cagney and Lacey!!! I didn’t really understand it at the time – but it was an episode towards the end – she had hot flushes. I’m off to find some old episodes – Christine was my crush, my role model, my vision of what I wanted to be. I wonder if it will still be the same 34 years on…..
Happy Boxing Day all.