Today I want to talk to you about some new and exciting changes going on in your body: Menopause.
Some of you are probably thinking, “Ew, gross! What the heck is menopause?” For those of you still in step with your biological clocks, allow me to explain. Menopause is the name we give for the very exciting, very vulnerable process that has begun to take root in the bodies of some of the other women your age. And it’s thanks to this super cool development at the end of your biological clocks that your reproductive organs are gearing up to wither away entirely. But if it hasn’t happened to you yet, don’t worry! It will.
Let’s break it down. Do you remember when you first bloomed into womanhood? What an extraordinary time in a girl’s life. Those delicate moments when she came into her own, blossoming like a thousand roses. Well, the time has come for you to stuff those flowers in a book. You see, thanks to great advances in health and medicine women have extended their lives way beyond their sole purpose of procreation. As a result, nature is left blindsided! This is just her gentle way of sharing that with you.
Can you hear her?
She’s whispering, “What are you still doing here?”
So to answer your question ladies, no. Menopause is not gross—it’s just the sweet sound of your cycle slowly but surely coming to a halt.
Well now that we got the nitty gritty out of the way you’re probably wondering what this will mean for you as inch forward along your path. To those of you veterans who have already been through these changes I want to apologize for not catching you sooner. You must have felt very confused and alone. You must have lain awake at night, wondering “Gross! Why me? Make it stop!” as the tempest of your menstrual cycle faded and all of your peers kept on going about their months. I get it. But guess what? Even though you were one of the early ones, nothing is wrong with you! Your body’s ability to embrace menopause early on doesn’t mean that you’re weirder than the other girls here. It just means you’re more physically mature and there is no shame in that.
Now, that may make some of the other women here nervous.
“But what about me?” the fertile girls are all saying to themselves, “I’m still bleeding once a month like a dumb idiot while all my friends go through these cool changes. Am I normal? Am I even a woman?!?”
Oh, beautiful young ones. Yes, of course you’re still women. Even though your cycle is still intact it’s just temporary! I know it may seem like it won’t happen for you, which is exactly why I want to reassure you that it will. I can’t emphasize enough that you, too, will one day overlook the decline of your fertility, just like everyone else here.
Did you see what just happened? Both of you were self-conscious and anxious about your bodies. Regardless of whether you were early or late, both of you were thinking, “Oh my gosh, help! My body is totally messed up and embarrassing!”
Well, it’s not. And I think the real lesson we can take from all this is that when it comes to menopause, there is no such thing as “normal.” There is no “right” age to devolve into aridity and, ladies, rest assured there isn’t a wrong time either. Whenever menopause happens, it happens. You should just be excited that your turn has come.
Now let’s talk about the side effects. You may be surprised to know that even the side effects of menopause can inspire a sense of fear, jealousy and humiliation in women.
One of the most common side effects is night sweats. Hey, ladies. No biggie. It’s just your body crying from the inside over the loss if its sexual health. And that’s super normal. You might consider whether or not to wear deodorant to sleep. Everyone responds differently, but yes, absolutely you should wear deodorant to sleep. Especially those of you who didn’t think to ask if you should. You probably need it the most.
In addition to night sweats you also might experience hot flashes. Again, nothing to worry about, this is just a regular panic attack as your body realizes it will never again be able to do what it’s supposed to do. Look at it as the little woman inside of you coming to terms with the realization that this is the beginning of the end for both of you. She’s blacking out a little in there! Let’s say it together, girls: totally normal.
Finally, as you start to undergo the process of menopause you may be subject to wild mood swings. It’s just your body clinging to that little bit of crazy you used to be allowed to whip out once a month. You just miss the opportunity to be terrifying! But don’t worry. As you leave behind your womanhood and embrace old age, I assure you: your crazy isn’t going anywhere.
At the end of the day, you may experience some of these symptoms and you might experience none. You may get menopause in your early forties or maybe in your late fifties. Who knows? All women are different. But also, all women are the same. And if you were to take away one thing from our talk today I would want it to be this: don’t be afraid of menopause—it’s not just you. Take comfort in the fact that you all are in this together. You are winners. You are nature’s survivors. You. Are. Women.
Now or later, all of your menstrual cycles will one day up and die.