I read this really cool post on insta last week which turned all the 'last times' as your baby grows up - last breast feed, last nappy, last time he needs a carry arghhhh, the list goes on; into a series of just-as-amazing first times - first step, first words, first time he says I love you, first time you have an actual conversation, first time he falls in love argghhhh, the list goes on! It reminded me that for every last time there's an equally awesome first to enjoy.
Such a lovely approach to the non-stop journey that is motherhood, and actually, a lovely approach to life.
I thought about my own firsts and lasts. except the last last which i can't think about.
I'm going through menopause at the moment. Definitely a first. Most definitely also a last. By definition, the cessation of menstruation. Your very last ever period, a full 12 months ago. Whoooop! Periods are a hassle. Tampons are an additional expense. yeah, I should be high fiving menopause! Win win! Hellllooooooo new first! I'm liking this new approach to 'lasts!'.
Now that I've said a happy bye to periods, I can embrace all the wonderful new firsts that menopause brings. Let's take a look. Everyone's are different but mine are:
Hot flushes. Can't say I'm enjoying these.
Nausea, kind of like morning sickness all over again. Another no for the wonderful basket.
Needing to pee often and immediately, and then not peeing much. and then needing to pee again 10 minutes later. Hmmmm, not that wonderful either.
Forgetting stuff and generally being a bit of a space cadet sometimes. Also not that wonderful.
Not a great start. I googled my new first.
Apparently it's this :
Aside from a fairly liberal use of pink (reasons unknown), what strikes me about menopause imagery is that none of it looks particularly wonderful. Or better than my last period. Or like a wonderful new first.
Especially this delightful one which deserves a special mention (kindly created by a man called Joshua). I particularly like the wilting flower to depict our newly "dehydrated" vagina's. Actually laughing out loud now, omg, my poor husband: "hey honey, fancy a bit of action with a dried up daisy? yeah, it looks a little wilted but I'm sure it'll perk up soon!" hahahaha! Not sure he'll be dropping his pants too quickly for that.
Although I'm younger, 51 is the average age women go through menopause. To me, this is how i see the 50's.
51 is also the average age. That means alot of women in their 40's, like me, are going through menopause. This is Libby and I, and Justine Cullen, a woman i don't know but admire a lot and we're all in our 40's, and this is how i see the 40's*. vibrant, happy, living.
Not pink. Not completely dehydrated. Definitely not wilting. Definitely not old.
There's SO MUCH to share around this menopause journey, but, in the spirit of firsts; the vibrant, energised, beautiful 40's and 50's; and this being my first official post about menopause; I've decided to list all the actual good firsts that menopause brings.
Because, even though it's uncomfortable and I'm a bit of a space cadet, I'm not old and I do not identify with the image of menopause. menopause needs to be de-olded and re-framed as a first with a lot of upside.
To be fair my good list is short so please comment with your own good menopausal firsts. I think menopause is a journey best shared, and together we can build a big ol' list of good firsts x
1. 1st tube of ky - i took it off the shelf and immediately hid it under the lettuce, vegemite, milk and crackers in my basket, and I did go through the self check-out - but it was kind of exciting to think about trying it out. new experiences with old lovers are definitely good.
2. 1st ky enhanced action - fun. and kind of sexy. i definitely rate it. to be fair, joshua did have a point with the dried up daisy, and it was a little painful at first, but ky does what it says on the tube and overall, I'd rate it 9/10.
3. 1st winter I get to legitimately wear pretty tanks and floaty dresses under super warm jackets - i somewhat hesitantly write this one because we should wear whatever the fuck we want to at all times, but there is something weirdly liberating about wearing a summer/winter combo out of necessity, not just for 'fashun'. it's kind of like a badge of honour. only other menopausal women understand. i feel like i belong to a special club of menopausers and it's quite nice. we should actually create some kind of secret handshake-type acknowledgement. not a wink because i can't wink, but maybe like a subtle one of these:
4. in the vein of the above - the 1st time i get to wear a pretty gown on a not summer evening and not freeze. now that covid is chilling out a bit, can someone please organise a mid winter ball??? i need to make the most of this opportunity to wear a barely there dress mid winter.
5. the 1st time i told a [relative] stranger I'm mid flush. super empowering! i'd been in a few situations where mid chat (with either a stranger or someone i knew but not well enough to know i was menopausal) i'd had a flush. each time i'd rolled on like it wasn't happening. except that it was happening and it became awkward because it's physically obvious and the other person is wondering what they did to embarass me so suddenly and also because, I don't know if it's the same for you, but when my flushes come on my brain time's out for a few seconds and when it fires up again i return to the conversation with no recollection of where it left off. after fumbling through this a few times i resolved to inform the person i was talking to of my flush and the repercussions. "sorry [person I may, or may not know very well, if at all], please excuse me, it's all good i'm just having a flush. i'm fine but you do need to repeat that last bit because my sudden wall of body heat repelled it all back into the room like a giant rebounder from the 80's and i have no idea where I left our conversation 5 seconds ago". I tried it out a few weeks ago and it was incredibly liberating and the woman I was talking to was so grateful I'd bought it up and we ended up bonding over menopause and several wines and it was a really cool evening. So the giant upside of hot flushes is that they give you a chance to own your shit - which is always empowering, and also lots of opportunities to connect on a deeper level. Also empowering and very lovely.
That's currently where my list ends. Short, but good.
And that's where I'll end this very first post about menopause too.
A short list within a not so short post.
This has been good for me to write, and i really hope, good for you to read. Please comment below with your menopausal firsts, good or bad, and stay tuned for the 2nd round of de-old-ing menopause.
Have a good week hotties! x
*to clarify, this is how i see the 40's. libby and justine, to my knowledge, are not also going through menopause.
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by Linda Smyth July 27, 2021 4 min read
by Linda Smyth July 22, 2021 4 min read
by Linda Smyth July 14, 2021 9 min read
A beginners guide to menopause - and a first step in the de-mystifying and de-olding process. an overview of what it is, when it happens, the symptoms, and a few method's which are currently helping me manage. Cockatoo reference will make sense when you get to the bit about hormones and emotions x
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