I Didn’t Pause for Menopause

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When blogger Ruth Crates told me that she flew through menopause, I asked her to write us a post to present that side of  the story.  Take it away, Ruth!

Menopause?

I think I was so busy I missed it.

Since I am now 62, and I haven’t had a period in a while, I am pretty sure it happened.

Let’s back up just a little bit…

menarche

When I reached the age where periods were probable, my mom sat down with me (briefly) and we had a talk.

What I remember most about the talk was the fact that my grandmother never told my mother about the entire process.  Some subjects were just taboo in the 1930’s; this was one of them.  When her first period came, she seriously thought she was going to die and was afraid to tell anyone.   Luckily, her older sister intervened.

Even though Mom didn’t really give me a lot of information during the talk, she at least wanted to spare me the fear of the unknown.

She  gave me a little book created by Kotex  called “Now You Are 10”.  It explained everything very nicely and even had a diagram explaining how to use the little belts we had to wear to hold the sanitary napkins in place.   I never did get the hang of that!

now you are 10

Girls are always at some hormonal point in their lives.  I figure we get 10 years of no worries.

Then you have:  Premenstrual, Menstrual, Postmenstrual,  Pregnancy, Post pregnancy, Perimenopause. Menopause, and Post Menopause.  It’s the never-ending story!

I have gone through all those stages (some of them several times).

Unfortunately, now I have reached the stage which I have taken the liberty of calling “Oldness.”

I may be done with all of the above afflictions, but now there are new things  like memory-loss, confusion, arthritis, joint-replacement, and the ever popular incontinence.

As for the menopause thing, I had a pretty easy time of it.

My periods were never  regular except for a brief time in the 70’s when I was on “The Pill”.  So I can easily dismiss that symptom.

I don’t recall a single hot flash.

I did have night sweats for a long time…. maybe even as long as 10 years, but I blamed it on my mattress.

Since my periods were irregular, they were sometimes “super-heavy” and unpredictable.  I bought a rubberized bed cover to protect the mattress.  I always thought that the rubber discouraged air flow and  resulted in the sweats.  Maybe it was actually … menopause!

This I am sure of:  paranoia is a direct result of menopause.

When I turned 57, I had not had a period in several months and I began to have thoughts about being pregnant. It could happen.  These thoughts took on a life of their own and I began to obsess about it.

I had several mini-panic  attacks thinking I was pregnant.

I actually went to the doctor and had a pregnancy test done.   My doctor, thank goodness, is a woman, so I think she sensed how disturbed my thoughts were and wanted to put these fears to rest.

Of course, the results were negative, and I was quite relieved. I guess the funniest part about this obsession is that my husband had  a vasectomy 20 years earlier…. I mean, really, what were the odds!

I have always thought that obsessive and unrealistic thoughts were a side effect of menopause, at least in my case, because usually I am pretty sane.

Every woman’s menopause is different.

We should be careful not to compare our experience with others too closely. Experiencing an uneventful menopause is definitely preferable to having a difficult one.

Taking your menopausal symptoms seriously is sound procedure.

Visiting your doctor on a regular basis is just good sense.  The better your doctor knows you, the better chance you both have of being able to figure out what is going on with your body.  That is something we all need to be aware of no matter what time of life we are in.

Regardless of how you deal with the stages of your life… they are your Life.

Enjoy the changes and embrace each stage because there is always another one on the way!

Ruth profile

Ruth Crates was born and raised on a Midwest grain and livestock farm and has  lived her entire life within a 30 mile radius.  She’s  been married to a grain and livestock farmer for 41 years, and they have three children (An attorney, a carpenter, and a librarian) and three grandchildren. Ruth taught for 35 years. She’s now retired and loving it! She started blogging to record stories for her children and grandchildren. Check out her  blog at Retiredruth: Life in the 50’s and Beyond.

22 responses »

  1. Great post! Made me chuckle! And you are right–we are always in some hormonal state. Luckily some of us don’t have as difficult time as others. My periods and menopause weren’t really all that bad. But I’m glad both are done and over with. I think all this “oldness” stuff might be even harder to deal with!

  2. My mom also was not told about menstruation by her mother and also thought she was dying when it happened. And then she was too uncomfortable to have “the talk” with me and I learned it in a girl scouts meeting. My menopause symptoms weren’t too bad but I did have some. I love having a woman doctor; it’s so easy to talk to another woman about symptoms, etc.

  3. Pingback: Guest blogger with Friend For The Ride | retiredruth - Life in the 50's and beyond

  4. You can consider yourself really lucky. When I was younger I mentally rolled my eyes when an older woman talked about the “change,” as I knew I had a great attitude and it wouldn’t faze me. Well, I was wrong. My menopause was so bad I had at least six doctors insist I had lupus.

  5. Nicely done, Ruth!! I particularly liked your comments regarding each woman’s experience being different. I say that same thing to every woman that I work with. As a National Certified Menopause Practitioner (NCMP) I begin offering anticipatory education in the early 40s … knowledge is power, right?
    I am one of only 2 NCMPs in Southwest Virginia and I am a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. A gentle reminder for your followers: NPs, not just doctors, provide amazing healthcare. And as a 53 year old woman, I can personally relate to my patients and their experiences (in that I lived through what I like to call “the 10 year hot flash” before finally deciding to use an estrogen patch!).
    Thanks, and congrats on your guest blogging stint!

  6. Well done, Ruth. My mom didn’t tell me but had a friend who was 2 years older to tell me. My periods started during school, in mid December. My teacher bought a pad out of the machine for me and with my thanks to her I said “Boy, this is going to ruin my Christmas!”

  7. My mum didn’t talk to me about menstruation before I got my first period, but luckily I knew the basics from other girls at school who started before me, so I knew what it was.

    I remember that I got my first period at home and that I had to wear one of mums looped Dr Whites towels pinned inside my knickers until mum could get me something more suitable for a teenage girl!

      • Looking back, it’s also funny how much of a taboo subject menstruation was back then. I remember mum being horrified when adverts for tampons and towels started appearing on TV. She would always buy her ‘supplies’ at the chemist rather than the local store or supermarket and never when my dad was with her!

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