Monday, 21 May 2012

Why aren't we talking (and laughing about this?)

Originally posted on 1 May 2012.

I'm gobsmacked. My gob, she is smacked. In searching the interwebz for pithy quotes and throwaway lines about menopause, thinking I'd find a million of 'em, I was absolutely stunned to find barely anything.

I found a quote by Stevie Nicks, one from Whoopi Goldberg, and a bit from Cybill Shepherd. Where is everyone else? Where are the fabulously funny women? Why aren't there reams of funny quotes about menopause and perimenopause? I found a few (and I do mean a few, barely anything really) articles about famous women who have spoken about menopause (Susan Sarandon, Jane Seymour, Kim Cattrall) but all with a very earnest and "take this seriously tone".

I ask you, where is the laughter? And...where are the Australian women? Do we have any menopausal role models? Hello? *sound of crickets chirping*

Could it be....*glances around carefully* that it's not funny? No, I don't think so. Pretty much everything has a funny aspect to it (except the possibility of Tony Abbott becoming PM - there is absolutely nothing funny about that but I digress).

Or is it still such a taboo thing to discuss publicly that the great majority of women simply don't (good girls, that's not polite conversation now is it? We don't talk about those kind of things). Or (dons tinfoil hat) is it a massive cover-up by the media (with a shameful amount of women complicit) to pretend it isn't happening at all? In our beauty and youth-obsessed world, the whole ageing thing has more than a whiff of the yuck factor doesn't it, or at least that's what I'm seeing, or smelling as it were. And the silence is deafening.

Well guess what? I want to talk about it. And I'm bloody well going to. All this 50 is the new 40 bullshit has to stop. Fifty is 50, any way you slice it and guess what lady? You're never going to be 40 again. But there's nothing to say you can't and won't still be fabulous, gorgeous, sexy, sexually active, get pissed, have rotten hangovers and dance like a dervish to the B52s and Blondie whenever you hear them.

In the future there's going to be a very different generation of old women in the aged care homes. Look out!

*If you know of any Australian women who have spoken publicly and humorously about perimenopause and/or menopause, please let me know.

PS: The Period from Hell is finally tapering off. I hope I don't have to go through that again! O_O


From Lilith on 10/5/2012: Your timing is just brilliant, madame! I've been *dying* for somewhere to talk about this - but who wants to hear about girlybits, right? Even girlfriends, who you'd think might be interested, go glassy-eyed and look like they're just enduring until you finish speaking after a minute or two.

For the last 12 months or so, my monthlies have been getting steadily heavier - in the way of can't-leave-the-house because I stand up and suddenly there's a puddle at my feet... Like you, I assumed that 'erratic' referred to timing - I thought that menopause would just be the gradual and graceful disappearance of my Aunt Flo going gently into those Goodnights™ (hehe)

It wasn't until I consulted Dr Google last week that I heard about the uterine 'Last Hurrah!' that is perimenopause. I'm only 33, so it's not something that even crossed my mind as applicable to me. (Like turning 30 was one of those things that only happens to other people.)
I did go through a number of IVF cycles in my mid-late 20s as an egg donor, so that might have had something to do with it happening early if, indeed, it is happening.. But who knows?

I've been putting off going to the quacktorcologist.. it's just easier to put pajamas on and sit in the bathtub with a blankie and a bottle of gin. I'm not sure there's even anything they can do.. or that I'm ready to have a roolly trooly diagnosed name for it yet.

Anyways.. Brill idea for a blog. I'll come back and visit. :)

"The writing on the uterine wall was a childish, albeit musical scrawl.." ~ Carrie Fisher, Delusions of Grandma.

Madame Menopause responds:
Hi Lilith, thanks for dropping by. 33? You poor thing! I imagine it would be even harder for you finding someone to talk about this with but you're more than welcome to exercise your perimenopausal rage and confusion here any time. Virtual chocolate, wine and a sympathetic shoulder are always available here ;) It would be interesting to find out more about whether egg donation trigged early menopause for you - perhaps Monash IVF or one of the private clinics have some data on it? Worth checking out I think.

I haven't heard about the Last Hurrah period either but I will start checking it out. The last one was a doozy!

Hope to see you around the place and feel free to share the link with anyone else you think might be interested and want/need a place to talk about the girly stuff no one really wants to talk about ;)

By Lilith: It's not a 'last hurrah' specific bleed - but rather a period of erratic monthlies in which your girlybits just go crazy.. The 'last hurrah' was just how one website that read I described it.
You've prompted me out of my procrastinatory gin-fest.. I have an appointment in a couple of hours to go and discuss it with my GP.. so I guess we'll see how it goes. :) Fingers and toes (and legs!) crossed.

Madame Menopause responded:
Good luck Lilith! I look forward to hearing how you go and what your GP says.'s a bit depressing to learn that there could be more periods to come like that recent one. I'm considering buying stocks in the Libra company!

Dory wrote: Hello Madame, thanks for the blog. Its about time that there was somewhere for us gorgeous menopausal girls to go, and the timing for me personally is just brilliant. I am 47 years old, and I think the time has come. Last week I took myself off to the doctor for the dreaded PAP test. Now its been a while, maybe 6 years (I know!), and hubby, who is just to die for (well today anyway) nagged me in to it.So off I went.
Up on the table, ankles together, and drop your knees. Drop your knees please (I though i did), no just a bit further please (Im sure my hips used to be more flexible than that). Three seconds of discomfort and yeah, I'm done.
What , I'm not?
Pelvic floor examination? OK
I'm just going to pop two fingers into your vagina dear, and can you squeeze for me, as hard as you can.
This is so funny, I laughed and laughed.
Pelvic floor all good.
Now dear, I'm just going to check you cervix just to see whats going on. Yes it looks like your menopause has started.
So is there a team of workers down there busy sewing it up or something?
So now I'm done? What not yet?
Ok boobs. Hell, I didn't wax my armpits. They need another day so the wax will stick, and why would you need to poke around my hairy armpits. Oh breast examination, yeah.
So now I am done. Waiting for results. Except I have to have a mammogram, and a breast scan. And the moral of the story is dont go 6 years without a pap smear, cos they will make you pay.
I shouldn't bitch, I am one of the lucky ones. Except for my cycle being 21 days now, and the periods a bit sketchy, I'm not having too much trouble.A few mood swings, but Im not convinced they are the result of menopause, I think they are caused by being surrounded by large amounts of stupid.
I think one of the funniest things about menopause is watching the men involved. Sometimes the look of absolute terror in their eyes when their lady looks at them a certain way is priceless. Most of my girlfriends are at the same stage as me, so there is endless entertainment.
Thanks again for giving us a place to have a laugh. I will be back.

Madame Menopause responded:
Hi and welcome Dory! Thanks for your wonderful post - that's just the sort of thing this blog was started for: hearing our stories in our own voices. Very happy to have you here :)

I have a Pap smear every two years because...well, just because I have to but I don't recall having my pelvic floor examined. I had a mammogram a few years ago because there's a bit of a link between breast cancer and cervical cancer and the GP thought it worth a go. Being extremely well-endowed boobage-wise it wasn't as painful as I'd heard some women say but I can imagine it would hurt like a bitch for small breasted women.

Drop by any time - I hope to make a post at least every few days, depending on time constraints and whether the menopausal muse grabs me and gives me a shake.

Dory wrote: I look forward to more, Madame. Just a quick heads up for the ladies who have finished their periods. My dear old mum finished her periods when she was about 47. Ahh the relief. Or so she though. Turned out her ovaries had one last egg they had been saving for a special occasion, and she was a little bit pregnant. And here I am.
So be vigilant girls, dont take anything for granted.

Lilith wrote: So I'm back from the quacktorcologist's office - (And may I just borrow your platform to extoll the virtues of my GP - it's so unbelievably nice to have a GP finally that listens and remembers what you say) - with a shiny bottle of Cyklokapron (Conjures up all sorts of funny mental pictures of cybertronic-anti-period aprons) .. which is to take while I'm on my period if it's too heavy to do normal activities (like leaving the bathroom?).. And she's ordered a pelvic exam ultrasound to see if there's any nasty in there responsible for it. and she checked my hormones from a blood test a few months ago (I had one with my pap smear) and said that if the ultrasound doesn't give us any clues, she'll do some more specific tests. Feels good to be working towards an explanation.. thanks for the motivation, Madame. :)

Madame Menopause responded:
Wow Lilith, that's efficient! Your GP sounds fantastic. They get such a bad rap in the media much of the time, yet most of them are doing a great job, often in difficult circumstances. Hope the Cyklokapron (which does indeed make me think of weird aprons...dammit, now I'm thinking of the robot maid from the Jetsons!) works. Let us know how you go with it.

Dory wroteJust out of curiosity, does anyone else remember the giant pads from years ago? The ones you attached to a belt, they didnt even have self adhesive. They came in a pack about the size of a weetbix box. I worked in a chemist way back then (that was about the only place you could by pads then) and we had to wrap them in brown paper, and they were stored under the bench, out of sight, so as not to offend.
My how things have changed.


  1. Vacuous O'Possum27 May 2012 at 09:58

    Bah. Try having the perimenopausal period from Hell, along with pneumonia that makes you cough so hard to don't just pee a little, you actually fully empty your bladder. Now, do that in a public place whist wearing taupe pants. THIS is one of the reasons I gave up being Pagan. I just couldn't align loving my menstrual flow and daubing my third fucking eye with "the blood of life, of birth, of teh goddess", with clots the size of Namibia and smelling like the men's urinal at Flinders Street Station. Jaysus, If I'd daubed my 32nd shakra, or whateverthefuck I used to believe the majik hole in my forehead was called, I would have looked like I had a piece of liver hanging between my eyes.
    I am doing up to 60 pelvic floor/Kugel exercises a day, in the vain hope they'll help. But so far my detruser (sp?) muscle is failing to cooperate and I am resorting to leggins filled with post-partum pads, under long skirts as a my go-to outfit whenever I leave the house.
    Yeah, I TOTALLY love this transition from Mother to Crone. I am TOTALLY about the sexeh. I am LOVIN' UP on the 47+swerve that I haz goin on right now. Cos an already-larger-than-average woman with maxipads stuck down her inner thighs, poured into a pair of leggins, weaing a mumu and doused in prophylactic "it will hide the smell if I have an accident" Red Door is so Kim Catrall, don't you think?

  2. I only laugh hard and fast with my legs crossed. ;). Let's not talk about sneezing! Yes, great topic MM. I'm looking forward saying tata to those ridiculous bleeds too. Coming and going at will they are. I don't know if I'm Arthur or Martha half the time. :) Any sensible set of ovaries would have worked out that the historical shrine that enfolds them in is old enough to be on the National Trust Heritage List. Yet the enthusiastc pair keep sending those shrivelled up, over baked eggs down the shute in the hope that maybe, hopefully, I've gone completely insane and in a brief moment of lapsed concentration a conniving, cunning sperm may pass by unnoticed and succeed in its dastardly plan to penetrate the outer surface of an old, tired egg. Im not sure how one might go about informing a pair of over zealous, enthusiastic ovaries that the sperm is ineffective, the eggs are hard boiled, the uterus has the elasticity of a brick and the brain's maternal instincts fizzled out when phones were attached to walls? Okay, they aren't very smart and with persistence being their over riding attribute, we will just have to wait until they work out that after dropping thousands of eggs with no takers, it's thanks but no thanks. Hanging in there with you MM and waiting for the penny to drop when the ovaries have that much anticipated light bulb moment. It won't happen over night, but it will happen. ;)

  3. You speak the truth with this. Laughing would be healthy. We're not laughing though because we know that although we as women may be able to embrace the idea of fabulous at any age, we know that many men still don't, and I think that the desire to be desirable is hard-wired and hard to shed, no matter what our age. And we're not laughing because letting go is hard--being young is, after all, infinitely easier, don't you think? (I'm trying to believe in fabulous at any age, and I have a wonderful husband, but the truth is that sudden menopause at 55 has been no picnic. I want my old body back.)


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