Menopause Musings – or why the change can be a laughing matter

Women experience the menopause in many different ways. Some sail through it, the rest of us have a tougher time, as you can see here.

But no matter how it is affecting you, the most important thing is talking about it and sharing our experiences.

And laughing…

Which is why I’m delighted to bring you the humorous poem Menopausal Musings from Lorraine Mace, who was featured on Celebrating Women recently.

Lorraine wrote this when she was mid-menopause and “going insane”. It went on to win the Petra Kenney Award and feature in Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause so I was thrilled when she asked if I’d like to share it with my readers.

I think I’ve gone through the symptoms in each stanza and that’s why I wanted to share it and share a smile or two.

Research shows that humour is often the best way to get through a time of stress, even grief. It can be hard to find something to laugh about in the menopause at times, but it is true that laughter is the best medicine. It decreases our levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and releases endorphins, which reduce pain and trigger a positive feeling in the body.

No wonder Menopause the Musical has been such a hit with menopausal women and their husbands in the US, where they’ve been talking about the “ch-ch-change” for a lot longer than we have.

We should be able to have fun with this time in our lives. Menopause should not be something to be feared. While it was great that the beautiful Viola Davis was talking about how her body was changing on Jimmy Kimmel last month, I turned a bit frowny when she said: “Menopause is hell.”

We need to know the truth about the menopause – the good and the bad – but describing it as “hell” isn’t helpful. How many women avoid a smear test because they’ve heard someone describe it in a negative way? And for some women, of course, it is a breeze.

I feel much better when I’m laughing about the menopause with friends, sharing our experiences and trying to find something – anything ­– positive from the situation. Giggling like schoolgirls at vaginal dryness, night sweats, farting when you sneeze and how our boobs have gone from giant balloons (her) to fried eggs (someone else. Not me. Honest.)

By laughing at our menopausal symptoms, we take away their power to control us – remember the Riddikulus spell in Harry Potter? The menopause is our Boggart (and if that name doesn’t get you grinning, you’re a lost cause.) It’s a time when your periods stop, not your sense of humour and laughter should be prescribed by any reputable menopause specialist.

I have no doubt Lorraine’s poem will bring at the very least a wry smile to your face if you’re having one of those menopause days, or a rip-roaring guffaw if you’re having one of the other menopause days. Think of it as a form of cognitive behavioural therapy.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Menopausal Musings

Who is this batty woman, with hormones all unstable,
who used to feel so confident, but now is quite unable
to handle even simple tasks with confidence and flair,
who cries and yells and rages that life is so unfair?
Dear God, I think it’s me.

Who is this dreadful woman, who once was so delightful
to spend an hour or two with, but now is just so frightful,
that seconds seem like hours and days turn into years,
who sobs and storms and threatens, then covers you with tears?
Oh Lord, I fear it’s me.

Who is this happy woman, who thinks that life’s a laugh,
whose confidence is huge and there’s no blockage in her path
to writing epic novels at ten thousand words a day
with wild euphoric feelings that she wishes could just stay?
Oh yes, that could be me.

Who is this frenzied woman who’s trying to contain
her mood swings and hot flushes, which really are a pain?
So many times she’s woken, to find herself on fire,
with bedclothes drenched, but feeling – not one atom of desire.
Oh dear, I know it’s me.

Who is this nutty woman with her crazy sense of humour,
who terrifies her husband, or is that just a rumour?
He’s male and he should suffer, we ladies know the cause.
Our monthly curse is followed by the blasted menopause!
You’ve guessed, of course, it’s me.

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