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7 Stages of Perimenopause

By Miriam Queensen

In the latest WTF News, a friend sent me this supposedly hilarious video about menopause:

 

It’s not that I find it offensive—I just don’t see myself or my friends reflected in the image on the video.

This picture implies that any woman past childbearing age immediately jumps into the “granny” category.

Most of my friends in their 40s and 50s reach a point when they experience a surge in energy and renewed focus on getting what they want out of life!

The only thing resembling a cane most of us own is a vibrator.

For those with children, when they grow up (and out) and depend less on us certainly helps. What also happens for most women is the realization that we care less what others think of us, and care more about what we think of ourselves.

And the honky tonk piano music? Like becoming a woman over “a certain age” magically transports us to the previous century?

Then we’ve got the 7 Stages of Menopause: Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy, Bloated, Forgetful, and Psycho-–Sounds like a really bad remake of the 7 Dwarves!

Is it accurate? Not if it’s meant to be an actual progression of 'stages.' And does every woman experience every one of these symptoms?

The whole experience of perimenopause is unique to each of us, but many symptoms are common and shared.

If you do experience enough discomfort that it’s interfering with your daily life, speak up! Some of these symptoms are normal responses your body is going through due to hormonal changes. You can use the hotflashsisters app to track your symptoms, and to recognize changes and patterns in your experiences of night sweats, itchiness, brain fog, difficulty sleeping, or anything else.

Awareness of your symptoms can help in your discussion with your doctor, who may suggest ways to reduce your discomfort and bring you back to your fabulous, energetic self again! You can also share your experiences and get helpful advice from your sisters in the discussion forum.
Apart from the real symptoms this graphic is trying to describe, the word choices here are mostly judgmental in nature.

Is 'Bitchy' how you feel, or how others might label you? How do you feel on the inside, when others think you are bitchy? Are you irritable and frustrated? Annoyed that despite all your best efforts to run your household and/or manage your job, others are ignoring your wishes and not helping out? Maybe everybody pitching in and treating housework and living in a home together as a collaborative venture in which everyone plays a valuable role for the wellbeing of all would be one way our families could reduce our 'bitchiness?'

Does 'Bloated' mean how you feel inside, or is this a poorly veiled judgment about our weight gain or difficultly losing weight (if that is our goal)?

And 'Psycho?' What is that trying to say about how we’re feeling and behaving? Maybe if we didn't bury our frustration for decades for the sake of being "The Good Wife" or "The Good Mother" or "The Good Friend" it wouldn't all come pouring out in a torrent when our hormones change.

Instead of focusing on how we appear to others and stigmatizing this stage of our lives, let’s focus on how we’re LIVING! Let’s talk about what we’re doing well, and how strong we are for getting through this, just like everything else we’ve faced in our lives.

Let’s come up with our own definition or labeling of Stages, shall we? How about: Courageous, Adaptable, Fiery, Adventurous, Exuberant, Witty, Resourceful, Persistent?

How would you redefine some of them? Let’s hear your ideas.

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