A letter for my sister

My mother died when I was a young Mum, very young actually, I was in my early 20’s with four children already. Then a baby girl later, who never met her Nan.  But we all know that. What we forget is that Mum was the mother to 5 other children, two of whom were girls. She was OUR mother. She left three daughters, very young women all.  And Mum was young too… 49 (actually she was 50 but she said to say 49. It is more dramatic, she whispered – cancer did not interfere with her sense of humour.)  But my little sister was still a teenager when her Mum died.

50 is such a rich time in a woman’s life because 50 is very close to the Change of Life. The Big Secret. The Witching time. The aging. The Menopause. I know this is a shocking word. Menopause. I know by saying this word many of you turn off. You become furtive, what if they think we are obsolete if we are infertile, you think.  Many of you look over your shoulder and hope ‘The Men’ are not reading.  We live in a society that worships youth. The menopausal woman  has been trained to Shut Up about it. But I have no idea what to expect. My Mum never reached menopause.  So my map is incomplete. If she had, Mum would have known what to say to me and my sisters. But my Mum is not here. Mum is not here to say that Menopause is OK, it is not dirty or sad. It is a beginning time. Or is it a long time? I don’t know.

But what am I to tell my little sister? What shall I tell her? How shall I draw the pathway that she will follow.  I am the oldest. I want to write a letter for my sisters.

So I thought I would ask you. Many of you have mothers who can teach us, many of you are old enough to be able to tell me real stuff I can pass on to my sisters. Many of you have gone through the woman-a-pause and are in a gentler phase. Many of you are men who have been through the menopause with your mothers, or your wives. Many of you are young women watching your own mothers struggle or not struggle. Maybe menopause is simple for some women. Did you feel the need to buy a red sports car? Did you have dizziness or hot faces? Were you a little drifty and forgetful? Or did you want to yell and stomp? Do you still?  Were you terribly tired? Or manic with an itchy foot? Did you think that if you had to make one more dinner for a silent man you would shoot somebody? Maybe I will have no trouble at all? Maybe my sister won’t have any problems either. But she is half a world away and she has no mother. What shall I tell her?

I know this is a taboo subject but I don’t care. We need to gather our information.   This is what I thought.

Then I thought; this is such a wonderful subject, such an empowering subject, there is so much I want to know,  you and I are sure to have so much to say. The comments section will be heaving. Then I thought: what if I were to turn the comments section into a book for my sister  and THEN I thought. Let’s WRITE a BOOK.  You and I and all the Fellowship. We can write a book together. Let’s collect 100 essays about Menopause,100 anecdotes, 100 mad things, or funny things, or poems or paintings, or telling things your aunts said or your granny told you or your mother experienced or you have felt.  I am not going to call it The Change. I am not going to whisper it. I refuse to think that running out of eggs in my ovaries means I am less powerful than I was yesterday. Maybe I am more powerful.44-020

I know you are wondering what this has to do with a farm journal blog.  Um.. looking deeply..  nope.. Nothing!! But it has everything to do with you and I. And I know for sure that many of you have no mothers, or your mothers cannot speak about these things, I know that many of you have something to say about  this. Many of you have been through it. Many of you are IN it. And many of you are stronger for it. Many of you have been silenced by it. Tell me. Write it down for me.  So I can collect all your words into one glorious letter to my sister.

Are you brave enough. Do yu want to add your words? Do you have a sister or a daughter or a mother?  Shall we make a book? I cannot pay you.  I have no money for this.  Though I think we will find it then pay them back. But I don’t care about that either. But I feel deeply that we should write it.  You and I. You can write a short or long essay. And you should all get a credit. I think we should yank this subject out from under its rock. I know that you and I will probably have to buy the copies to give to our sisters and daughters and nieces, just to pay for the printing.   But will you write something? Will you leave you name on the bottom of the paragraph? Your voice is important. Clever writing is not important. Grammar is not important. Length is not important.  Spelling is not important. (Spell check does great things.)  Punctuation is not even  important.  YOU are important. 12 words or 1200. Every voice is worth listening to because we all go through this one way or another.  We are totally equal in the progression of womanhood.

Are you brave enough? You can all write. Everyone can write. Will you write something?

Make a comment.  Even if you have never commented before.  Let me know what you think and I will email you with more details. Shall we write a book together.. you and I?

If you cannot comment but want to join, my email is celima.g.7@gmail.com

There is no-one else like you.  No-one else sees it like you do. That is how important you are.

Your friend on the farmy,

celi

 

 

152 Comments on “A letter for my sister

  1. Celie, of course I will write for you. Come to think of it, I should have done this a while back for my daughter, who is past the age when I started the menopause! I’m up to my eyes in poeming for Napowrimo, but I will make time for this. It’s important, and bless you for thinking of it.

  2. This is a beautiful request and a wonderful idea! I would love to contribute to the book with my own story because I have only just realized that this horrible skin condition I’ve developed on hands and one foot, triggered by excessive perspiration, may be due to menopause. Anyway, you can count on my support Ceci!

  3. I remember a doctor telling me to think of the menopause as taking out the carry cot, and leaving the play pen! Frances from Scotland

  4. I truly can’t wait to read it! I’ve always thought there should be a book on “What to Expect when . . .” similar to all the many books out there on what to expect when you’re expecting, what to expect from your one-year-old, . . . . And I will seriously consider how I can contribute. Great idea!

  5. Yes!!! My mother has Alzheimer’s and can’t remember that she had a hysterectomy around the age of 45 and started taking hormones so never went through it at all. She always says, “I can’t understand why you’re having such a horrible time! Nothing happened to me at all.” Essay to follow…and partnership in anyway you require!

  6. Great idea! I am well out on the other side and have plenty to say about the journey! This requires a little thought and organization.

  7. Marvelous idea, C! I’m ready to break this taboo, too…I don’t think there’s ever been a woman more ready to face the End of the Cycle, especially after the week I just had 😉

    Like you and your sisters, I have no guidance. My mother had a hysterectomy in her 40’s, so she never experienced a natural menopause. My grandmother is still alive, but comes from a generation for whom Female Trouble could mean anything from cramps to cancer, and was not (IS not, indeed) discussed. A 96 year old woman is not going to change her attitude now….

    Looking forward to reading the stories of others, in search of a bit of useful information!

  8. I would love to be involved. Unfortunately I am yet to go through menopause {I long for it – in whatever form it takes!}. And my beautiful Mum battled cancer in her early-mid 50’s and when she came out the other side she was period-free! She had absorbed the ‘change’ in amongst all of the other awful experiences and battles she had been through.
    And like, you her experience leaves me a little short of a story or expectation. 2 of her sisters have spoken briefly in my company about it. One had a horrible long time of it and the other said hers wasn’t too bad. I guess I could land on either side of the fence.
    What a wonderful idea Celi! ❤
    I will follow it with much interest and would be interested in purchasing a copy of what we can all come up with 🙂

  9. I think it is a splendid idea and I might be able tc stop the hormonal surges long enough to come up with a few words on the subject! 🙂

  10. Count me in! I’m close to “that” age; soon to be 47. I had a bit of a tease with menopause when I quit taking birth control pills, so I have tiny experience to share.

  11. My mother is still alive and she told me nothing about menopause. I went through menopause very early, 39, as a side effect of IVF. I remarried when I was 36 and my new husband wanted children so I went along to the doctor to see if … (I have filed the rest to go in the book ..c)

    • Thank you Debra, I shall pop this in a document and begin the collection. What a story! I will be in touch via email.. c

  12. Older Women

    Dear Celia,
    I’m 68 now and went through menopause starting an early 48. But I had a homeopath who turned it around and extended things for about 8 years. However, my mom died when I was 19 so I didn’t have anyone to talk to me about it…. (the rest is saved for the book)

    • Thank you Diann, you were fast! I shall copy and paste this into a document for yo, to send to my friend who I will introduce in a few days. She will be compiling the work for us. I will be the channel. You are way ahead of me here.. many thanks.. after I have copied it I will take it down if that is OK so your voice stays individual. It is great! c

      • Hi Cecilia,
        You’re welcome. You have my permission to print. I got something from the lady who is compiling the book but I found it hard to jump over the hoops for it. So, just take this as an OK to print. If it doesn’t satisfy whatever things you have to do for it, then I don’t know how else to give you my permission. At any rate, it’s a great idea for a book, and I wish you every success.
        Diann Dirks, The Garden Lady of Ga., Mothers School of Self-Reliance, Certified Permaculture Designer, author, artist, researcher, organic gardener, consultant, Auburn, Ga.

        • Thank you Diann, i shall print this and file it.. I am sure it will be fine.. Your words are in the anthology and shining.. have a lovely day. and thank you again for finding an easier path for yourself.. i do appreciate that.. I hate rules!. c

  13. Been there ..done that….and I’m in too …love the idea !!

  14. I will need a copy! I am a young-ish mother and most days feel older and tired. I always thought menopause was going to be great other than hot flashes. I think I am mis-informed and will need a copy of this book.

    • I think we will discover that many women have many different physical responses to menopause.. no need to fear it i am sure! c

  15. I’m in! My mother had to have a hysterectomy before menopause. I went through menopause at age 43.

  16. Cool! Sounds fun. I don’t have much to share, yet, but I’m willing. I’m 51 and in just dipping my toe into those waters right now.

    My vision of the secrecy of menopause isn’t the same as yours; I see it as a secret only in that it’s something women share that men will never understand. Not awful, not to be dreaded–just another arc to complete the circle. A mystery, really, not a shame.

    The crone whispers to the young mother, and all the women laugh while the men sit on the other side of the fire and wonder what’s so funny.

    • That is kind of how I want this book to be too, cackling crone-like. Love that image. Everyone is different too..

  17. I am on the other other side, tho only just turned 50. My past is similar to yours in that my mother died of cancer @ 52 when I was 25. I have no idea if she was in the beginnings of menopause as she was of the “we don’t speak of such things” persuasion. I just started a little list of notes in a text file. I am not much of a writer, never have been, but I will write about my experiences. Reflection can be a good thing.

    • Morning Kim, just write the way you speak, write it as an email if you like, then your own voice will shine through. I will email everyone as soon as i can work out how to make a group thingy in gmail, but 1200 words max.. it will be wonderful.. thank you.. c

  18. at 74 I should be able to write a whole book myself on this subject, but I can’t. Not because it is taboo, no never, but because I never went through the menopause. I had a hysterectomy when I was about 40 and it relieved me of al those problems. I will add that one of the benefits was getting my 6 monthly dose of medication which boosted my sex batteries to the hilt. I had a wonderful time.
    My eldest daughter who is now 55 has not had it so good. She has suffered sweats, hot flushes, mood swings and all the other paraphanalia that goes with it but she has come happily out of the other side without too much mental damage ( not that anyone would have noticed as she is scatty in her normal way of life)
    I will add that this is just a normal pattern of how your life should progress. It is nothing terrible….freedom at last

  19. It is interesting to read about how many of our mothers had hysterectomies! Mine did too. And I was almost slated for the same route … Then I came across a young gynaecologist who was using a different approach. I had been experiencing a TWO YEAR LONG period … and was teaching at the same time. It was damn near driving me crazy! So I agreed to try the new approach – an IUD that released small doses of progesterone daily. Wow! Amazing! Within a month everything evened out and I haven’t had a period since then. The IUD is used to bridge the process between premenopause and the end of menopause. It greatly diminished the hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and … general grouchiness! 🙂 I am due to have it removed this coming summer. If my body develops an overactive hormone cycle again I’d gladly go another round with the IUD. They last four years. One of my sisters is checking this route out as well. Good thing to have mothers and sisters to share experiences with – and those sisters can be blood relatives or ‘sisters by chance’!

  20. Oh yes count me in! Being 64 I have been there and managed to come out the other side a different person. Much like Diann i took the natural way through it all. Had no one to give me advice (yep I also have a mother who prefer not to talk about ‘those kind of things – heck she doesn’t even like it when someone says “breast” !!). But luckily enough the great internet was just starting up and I could do research on my own. Took me awhile and a lot of experiments, but came up with a herbal solution that fit my needs. Mainly things like Black Cohash, Fenugreek, B vitamins, Evening primrose oil etc. (have to look up my list of what I took). I certainly don’t miss my reproduction years – had two children before the age of 23, and that was fine with me. Suffered badly with the monthly periods, with a good dose of migraines, cramps, bloating, the whole nine yards! Now I may get the odd hot flush, which is wonderful in the winter (especially winters like we just had LOL) and maybe night sweats, but that may be just I don’t have air conditioning and it can get pretty darn hot during the summer nights. But these are hardly things I worry about. Luckily I have always been a very open minded person and do not find any subject taboo, so my daughter has all the information and knows she only has to ask if she needs more.
    Just a side note – do you know why they call it ‘Hysterectomy’ ? Because back in the day the so called medical geniuses found that woman going through menopause where often prone to hysterics, so they reasoned that if you removed all the ‘womanly’ bits it would cure her! Either that or she ended up in a nut house!! Not kidding, many women that ended up in a mental institution where sent there because she was having a hard time with menopause and the men in her life (husband and doctor) thought she had completely lost it!!
    Hugs, Lyn

    • Lynda, that is a great contribution, would you like me to use this as is? I like it. Love the hysteria reference. Do you want to sit with it for a day and then email it to me.. celima.g.7@gmail.com

      • You can use what I have written as is, this is fine with me. If I think of anything else that is relevant I will let you know . Looks like you have some great material with all our friends here!!

  21. I’ve seen my mom go through years of hot flashes, mood swings, all the negative aspects of menopause and then have a hysterectomy because of ovarian cancer at the age of 70. Her difficulties lasted close to 35 years. I was blessed in that I had an easy period every month and at the age of 48 just stopped having them. Never have had a hot flash yet and I’m now 62,Never experienced mood swings or excessive anything that I saw my Mom go through. And, yes, I was terrified that I would go through the mood swings, the hatefulness, the seemingly different personalities. I cannot imagine how horrible it was for Mom to go through those things and not be able to control them. The Doctors put her on a variety of medicines, vitamins, and I’m not sure what all, but they didn’t seem to help. My sister and I were told that we would probably have a difficult time also. Sis did have some mood swings and hot flashes, but they were mild.

    I lived with the pain of menopause through my Mom’s experiences. My daughter, aged 40, is going through the night sweats and hot flashes. But, guess you could say I never really did experience menopause myself, even though technically the medical personnel say I’ve gone through it. I know how blessed I’ve been!

    • Do you want me to file this as is Katy? If so I will take it away across to the master document. I love spontaneous writing. c

  22. Count me in! At sixty seven, I have passed the Menopause and lived to tell the tale. A very long tale in my case, but then I do not have a text book body. I can in all honesty say I am unique! I have two blog posts that I want to concentrate on this weekend. Once they are out of the way, I’ll make a start. I can feel the words tumbling around already. Please give us a cut off date, otherwise I might let it go on and on!

    Celi, you are a brick (a golden brick) you care and share so much. We all need to share, particularly the taboo subjects, it is only in sharing that we realise we re not alone. Knowing you are not alone is half the battle.

    • Wonderful.. my word maximum will be around 1200. But you just go ahead. There is plenty of time. I will email soon with the details.. the response has been fantastic, this is going to be marvellous.. c

  23. I’ll have to ruminate on this one and email you later. Mom barely told me anything about when I changed from being a girl to a woman (what she did tell me traumatized the *&^% out of me) and while I saw her go through the pause I was too young to understand and she didn’t tell me anything. By the time it was even remotely close to me knocking on pauses door, mom had Alzheimer’s so again I had no mentoring from her or my sisters. My sisters were from a generation that did NOT discuss such things.

    • good, have a think and let me know and the wonderful thing is that in a book you can use Language! no need for &$*&%.. just extending what you are saying is certainly relevant.. c

  24. Celi, count me in! I’ve been quite vocal about menopause and the changes I’ve faced. I’ve been met with all sorts of responses – some positive but most people feel it’s a taboo subject. I hope we can change that with this book! What a wonderful idea to gather various experiences… because when I first had questions, I never did find a book that encouraged me and spoke to me.

  25. I love this picture of Sheila and Poppy, btw. I made it my laptop wallpaper!

  26. I remember my mom going through menopause. I want to say she was in her mid-40s. The skies darkened. Thunder clapped, lightening flashed, fire and brimstone rained upon our earth and burnt our crops. Don’t get me wrong, there were some bad days, too… (this has been filed as is straight to the book c)

    • janine I took this away and filed it. Love it. If you want to amend it at all, let me know. You will get an email soon. c

      • I don’t even know, Celi. I fell asleep while I was proofreading it. *LOL* I’m sure it’s as good as it’s going to get or I wouldn’t have hit “post” even in my sleep. Glad to be of help!

  27. I am also on ‘the other side’ and will add my little saga later but first, do you know that our too-modest Charlotte (no, not THAT Charlotte) of The Daily Cure, has produced such a book? It’s called ‘Ripe’ and it got me through menopause and aging with its wisdom and insights and humor all beautifully illustrated. I hope it’s still in print for anyone here who will now go looking for it!

    • yes, Charlotte is sending me a copy, she is marvellous and was one of the catalysts of this idea! You can buy it on amazon I think, i will find out. maybe we should collect a list of good books to read and poop that in The Book too.

  28. I’d like to contribute. Have to have a bit of a think first… And It doesn’t feel weird at all to talk about such things here. We’re a fellowship, after all. 🙂

    • Susan you are so right! What a wonderful collection of people we have here. Don’t think too much. Just let it flow and email me the result.. celima.g.7@gmail.com. 1200 words max (if you can) ..c

  29. I’ve been ‘in it’ for seven years now. Seven years of hot flushes, the night ones being the worst. I’ll tell you what though, this menopause malarkey ain’t half as bad as PUBERTY!!!
    Christine

  30. Oh yes, I’m in. I am in the middle of it and have a sister 11 years older who is my beacon of hope. My mother also went through a hysterectomy when she was my age, so no information for me there. Three years so far of night sweats, hot flashes the lot, and the worst part for me, no libido. I’m going to come right out and say it, I really miss my libido the most! My husband is a good and patient man, and for this I am grateful. But its hard for him too. My sister says what follows is a period of menopausal zest, whatever that means…I am unwilling to believe that I need drugs to fix this, as it is not a disease. It is a natural part of life. Like you Celi, I work hard on the farm, and push through the changes that are happening to me. Somewhere inside all of this change is a certain power. I am freed to be me. More outspoken, more truthful. Blunt, if you will. Not as willing to give quarter, or pretend. I am becoming the Crone. The Wise One. Our youth driven culture seems to have no respect for the wisdom of its elders. Maybe your\our book will help change this! I’m proud to contribute!

    • wonderful maggie, when you are ready just send me whatever comes to mind, I will email the details soon.. thank you.. c

  31. Great idea! My mom had an emergency hysterectomy after I was born, so I’m flying blind about menopause, too, except for the rare comments from my father in law who refers to it as menohell.

  32. I want to contribute. I’m in the middle of it, brought on prematurely and hard by chemotherapy. My mother and two of my older sisters never saw a natural menopause because they had hysterectomies. I had no idea what or when to expect, and still don’t… I’d like to hear about other peoples’ experiences to see if what’s happening to me is ‘normal’ or ‘induced’. Count me in. You have my email address…

  33. I will happily share both my experience and my mom’s. Mom had a very hard time physically during the transition into menopause. I really dreaded it, despite how ready I am to not deal with monthly periods. I have had a much easier time if only I had not gone a full year and gotten my certificate – just to have my body surprise me the following month.

  34. The worst part is that my hips have filled in. The fat tire around the middle. As if since I don’t have working ovaries, I don’t need a hip to balance a baby. And then came grandchildren that keep sliding down my leg without a ledge to rest on.

  35. Ahh what a time, I’m 56 and I started when I was about 48, my monthly’s were always quite heavy, but for a few years they were awful and really affected my life I had to take iron tablets could not wear white, don’t mean to be crude ha ha didn’t have any help, just told I had fibroids and to wait till the end of the menopause when they would shrink. Had really hot flushes ohh I remember being out at lovely restaurants and my big red perspiring face looking back at me from some artfully placed mirror sweat dripping off me, sleepless nights, first the duvets on then it’s off! But to tell the truth I didn’t get mood swings well not that I can remember. Didn’t have a monthly for about 6 months then it would come back and stay for about a month if not longer then nothing again for about a year, then back again. but I have been free now of all symptoms and no monthly’s for about four years, I have a very occasional hot flush but nothing like they used to be, so there is light at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t take hrt or any meds. sorry if this is a bit of a muddle haven’t done this before x

  36. My mom went through it at 39 and I was told by doctors that as a daughter you will probably go through it at the same time. But I will be 54 this year and I went through it from 51-52 and think I am past it at this point. Mom said it was no big deal for her, no big issues that she could remember. I had a few night sweats and definitely noticeable hormone surges just before and during this time, some forgetfulness and was more prone to weepiness, but nothing debilitating. The worst thing, really, has been some definite weight gain and “rearranging” around the middle, which I’m still fighting and it doesn’t want to leave! (Sitting at the computer for such long periods definitely contributes to this.) I’ve also noticed a little less elasticity in skin, etc., but that could just be age. I have to say that on this side of menopause I am experiencing a renewed sense of empowerment, confidence and found energy that is really exciting. In some ways I feel younger now than I did in my forties. It really feels like there is another dimension of the world and life to experience and explore.

    • Good point above, the tapering off of periods can be really disconcerting. I, too, experienced having one…then six months, then two…then six months and so forth. Doctor told me that you must go a full 18 months without one to be considered through menopause and I have a month to go. Didn’t take any drugs, just vitamins.

  37. I am one of those ‘oh so fortunate ones’ who had very few symptoms, of which I am oh so thankful for! But I do have a story to add to the wonderfully important book! xo

  38. I’m in too C. after a bit of reflection first. I will await your instructions. You know, I think my husband is going through MANopause…can we talk about that? 🙂

  39. Oh count me in too, Celi. I’ll email my bit.
    Just wondering–do cows, pigs, ewes experience menopause too? I guess this is a weird question, but all my dogs and cats were altered or spayed, so I don’t even know if they would have experienced menopause.
    Not so long ago, I finally got up the nerve to ask my vet if dogs and cats have belly buttons, and if they do, how come I can’t find any.

  40. I’m in, too. To say this should be interesting is an understatement!

  41. Hi! My Mom passed when I was 33 and I had four young children at the time and I had my youngest son a few years later. She had a hysterotomy in her mid 40’s and had pancreatic cancer at 67. The menopause subject never
    arose but my sister, who is 14 months older than me, and I share what we symptoms we have and I share them with my three daughters and my two sons. We laugh a lot about my aging which is usually how I get through life.
    Great subject to talk about! I love the pic of Sheila and Poppy!

  42. Interesting topic. My mom had a surgical menapause so I had no compass. It hit me all at once when a lady said
    I was going through the change. Change? What change? I am simply sweating to death in this store and they could
    sell a lot more clothing if they amped up the A/C!!! 😉
    Then one Sunday I cried and cried and cried and just couldn’t stop! I called my doctor and he put me on hormone replacement meds. Well…I started to feel like my old self again! I stayed on them for two years the max for safety.
    During that time I educated myself and found that this was going to be a liberating time! But first I had to get over
    the fact that I was no longer young and fertile. But still not old either! It was rather said to say good bye to tampons and pads and the idea of letting go of youthdom. But then it was actually pretty great to not have to worry about when it was going to
    come and where I would be when it happened! I don’t mean hopping in the sack and fear of pregnancy…I mean
    do I have a tampon in my purse? Do I have to find a drug store? Yikes! And then there were the mood swings
    a week prior! LOL I figured that before perimenapause I actually had two good weeks a month! Geesh!
    So menapause is not so bad at all!!!! 🙂
    Hot flashes, night sweats, and weight gain! Dry skin, thinning hair and my shoes are too small!!!!
    It is all part of life and when you understand what you are going through and what to expect it makes it so much easier!
    You are not alone! Ignorance is not bliss when you start this new phase of your life! Knowledge is huge and saves your sanity!
    All is normal and ease into it! I don’t have any self doubts about myself anymore, no worries about how I look, or what I want out of life! All of a sudden all is crystal clear! You don’t like me? Fine with me! I am me and I think I am pretty darn great!
    I am a woman! A strong, happy, self assured woman who knows who she is and likes who she is!
    I say share! Share! Share! Share!
    I learned to layer and peel off extra clothes, I walked miles and miles and got into the best shape! I did yoga that helped me relax and chill out! I swam everyday! For once in my life since I was 12 years old I felt empowered and strong!
    It can be a time to cherish life and embrace a new part of being a woman!
    For the first time in my life I say the cuss words that I always wanted to say and I don’t give a rat’s ass who thinks whatever!
    Ha! It is a good time if you know what to expect and you are not alone! Being in the dark is terrible.
    Goodness…you asked! 😀
    We are only afraid of the unknown…a good sister shares everything! 😉

  43. Thank you so much for doing this, I will absolutely purchase a copy! My mom passed away five years ago at the age of 82 after a 17 year battle with CLL (chronic lymphatic leukemia). She never once talked to me about menopause, but like so many others, had a hysterectomy (I’m stunned at how common this was!); her leukemia was diagnosed shortly thereafter. One thing I did learn from her was that night sweats were one of the symptoms that signaled when she was coming out of remission and would have to go back on chemo (she was on and off of various forms of chemotherapy for 16 years). I’m 47 and have been having night sweats and hot flashes for two years. When I asked my doctor if I was starting menopause, she rolled her eyes at me as if I were crazy (oh how I’d love to show that idiot doctor just how many woman my age have already commented!). That was the last straw. Thankfully, my two older sisters are trying to offer guidance (one is going thru it now and the other is done), but we seem to all be having different experiences and the oldest was flying blind, just like you. This has been such a confusing and difficult time for so many women, myself included, and since my doctor was so incredibly unhelpful, I am very much looking forward to reading all of the essays you collect. Thank you so much for doing this. I truly, truly appreciate it … (in tears as I type) I no longer feel alone!

  44. WOW! Outstanding idea! Count me in. My maternal grandmother, my mother, and myself all started this whole long process (turning into a mature woman) in our 30’s. Back then the medical field just threw birth control pills at me…my mother and grandmother suffered horribly. Here is an interesting thing…in my family hot flashes never go away. I remember seeing my poor mother in her late 60’s (she died at 70) sitting on the back step with sweat pouring off her face. For my lineage this crossing over is miserable. But honestly once over it is so much better…although, the hot flashes are still rather intense!

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

    P.S. I hope to get my computer back on Monday.

  45. I am in. How fast can we do it? I woke up this morning convinced that I have either lyme disease or a blood infection from a botched pedicure. It’s a relief to think that it might be menopause.

  46. YEs, I am in, I agree, no more silence, we need to speak up so the younger ones have the knowledge we did not have !! I am excited to be part of this wonderful project !!!! My mom passed before I needed to know so I had to wing it all on my own !! I will buy for my three girls for sure !!!

  47. I have a question for the group – how come so many people feel they can be ‘more themselves’ once they come through menopause? It is really related to the hormonal changes … and to the physical changes … or is it that many of us are at the time of our lives when we are retired, or semi-retired – our kids have flown the coop – and our time is more our own to fill?

    • excellent question, we should also pose that when we start work on the actual essays.. thank you

      • I think a lot of it is down to what we believe is ‘expected’ from us. I know us Baby Boomers were still under the old laws of “a woman’ s place is n the home and having children” and that is what most of us did. We didn’t even pause to think about whether we actually wanted children! We got married, had kids and lived happily ever after – well at least that is what the story books said! Then some us said “Hold on a minute, what if I don’t want to be known only as Barry’s wife, David’s mum?” “What if I would like people to know me by my name and what if I want to do things outside of this marital bliss?” That’s when a lot of us became those silly things that burned our bras and shouted from the roof tops that we were more than baby machines and cook and bottle washers! I am not saying the younger generation has it any easier than we did, just different problems around the same old what is expected from the female gender. The freedom that menopause does give you is the fact that those expectations lesson and suddenly you become a person in your own right again, and when you state your mind and give your opinions people just take it as that time of your life you are going through LOL And let you get away with so much more, but also you cease to care what people think about you and there is certainly less expectations!

    • I never felt that way. Yes, I can have kids, but I have the maternal instincts of a rock. I cried when I got my first period, and I’ve done all I can short of paying someone to give me a hysterectomy to keep from having periods since then. Currently 42 and have a coil in, it’s working pretty well. I can’t wait until those bits no longer work as advertised…

  48. My mother went through menopause in my pre-teen years. She had a rough time, and looking back, I realize she felt alone, lost and ANGRY. I wasn’t a dramatically rebellious child, but will never forget the day she told my father through clenched teeth, “Today, I had the urge to kill!”
    My own experience was different. I would love to reflect on it and share!

  49. I am in too! My mother never discussed menopause with me, possibly because she had minimal to no symptoms (I’m not sure but this was the woman who raised me to believe that almost no one had menstrual cramps. ).

  50. Excellent idea! I don’t think it’s a taboo subject at all. We relish all sorts of antics from your animals and know their cycles and eccentricities. It anyone can capture the fun and bittersweet in the topic of menopause, it would be you, Cecilia! I would love to contribute. You are such a compassionate heart to be thinking of your sister this way. I know the book will be a wonderful treasure to her, and to all us girls who muddled through without much advice.

  51. I dealt with menopause by eating soya, and supplementing it with high dose capsules. I grew sage for tea, and took black cohash. I used ice cubes on pulse points to cool flushes, dressed in layers that were easily and quickly removable, had a paper folding fan by the bed which had wooden ribs from sandalwood, avoided spicy food, never had hot drinks in the summer, kept well hydrated, reduced my sugar intake … And few other things. But the menopause doesnt stop when your flushes stop. The next thing is bladder control, thinning tissues that cause UTIs, thinning hair, brittle nails, aching joints … I use dandelion and cranberry extract for bladder issues. Perhaps I should put some of this into a doc or PDF file?

  52. Yes! Yes! I’ve written about it on my blog once or twice during the long perimenopausal stage but now that I am officially menopausal, I have some different views. My mother had a hysterectomy when I was in middle school and died before I hit the peri- stage so I too have made my own map at the (for me) surprisingly young age off 51. I would love to contribute. Seasweetie@gmail.com

  53. Excellent project. I’m in, and will contribute something if I can and am a definite buyer for a copy of the book, as I too have no mother or grandmothers to look to for experience. When I was in my late 30’s my aunt gave me a very sad looking ‘what to expect’ book and I said no thanks – so something, anything than that is better to shed light and wisdom on menopause. My issue has been dissuading bloody doctors since I turned 40 that everything is about peri-menopause and to just suck it up… I’ll gather my thoughts and email you the rest.

  54. hi celi! i never knew menopause was a taboo word! my mom died when i was 9 so there is lots of stuff i never knew. i didn’t even know my correct shoe size until i worked in a shoe store in my early 20’s. i went through menopause and never saw a doctor. i would love to join in!

  55. This would of been great for me when I was going through the menopause, the advice for fans by the bed and herbal supplements would of been really helpful, so it’s great to think this can help others. What a great idea. x

  56. I now pass that stage, i had it easy-just a few weeks of he-be-ge-be’s and it was over, no more monthlies. Now my sister has threatened to kill me because she has gone through over a year of hot flashes and everything else.
    (still trying to type one handed–3 more weeks with broken arm in cast)
    Sandra Coffman

  57. What a wonderful Idea! I’m more than happy to share. Menopause started for me at 46 and hasn’t been too bad a few power surges but the most change was I’d burst into tears (not like me at all) and have to say oh don’t’ worry about me it’s just menopause it is the most weirdest thing ever to feel a little sad (not down or depressed) or even feeling over joyed the jolly tears flow. It’s wonderful not having a period each month and after 11 months of no period wham hello “I’m back” for one month and none again. I highly recommend the book Menopausal Years The Wise Woman Way by Susun Weed. LOVE her approach and I’ve chosen to just go with the flow of the weird hormone changes. Take days off to just be if needed (usually in the garden) and not fight the power surges or weepy times. I can honestly say I’ve actually enjoyed going through the change – for me its been like a new awakening, a new journey – finding my inner mojo – by being quite and taking time for me (which as a mum when younger we can’t all do that) its set me on a new path. One I never would of thought I’d do in my career corporate days of being a bank manager. I’m currently studying to be naturopath and loving the journey.

  58. When I was a teenager, my mother got weird. In those days, I did not even know about menopause, much less talk about it. It was the CHANGE….whispered and never really talked about. As an only child, I never even thought about it until it happened to me. I had just remarried when, at 51, I started getting a little weird, too. My poor husband thought he had married an angel only to be confronted with an unstable, growling beast after a few months. I had a doctor who told me to just suck it up since those hormone pills just gave me terrible side effects. (of course he was a man). Kill, Kill. Now, at 75 I am still a little weird, but have discovered the world of bio identicals. Sure, Celi….would love to join the discussion.

  59. i would love to be a part of this. i am a mother, daughter of a mother who has passed, sister to a sister that has passed, mother to 3 girls, and grandmother to 6. email me at ksbethk@gmail.com when you are ready. wonderful idea. ) beth

  60. I am 78 years old. Menopause could have cost me my life I am a breast cancer survivor. I remember the exact time and place I had my first menopausal symptom. Hot flashes and nausea. I thought I was getting the flu. My skin was so sensitive I could only wear the thinnest cotton or linen clothes (and that in minus thirty below zero weather.) I could not bear anyone to touch me. There wasn’t any real information about menopause available at that time. My gynecologist put me on hormone replacement therapy. It took more than a year to get the dosage right. During that time I was bleeding heavily and almost constantly. When the medication finally worked I was so grateful to have all the menopause symptoms end. I had no idea I would pay a terrible price because of the medication.

    Seven years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was fortunate that a mammogram caught it in the very early stage. I had a lumpectomy, and six weeks of radiation. I was put on Tamoxifen. I was on Tamoxifen for three years. The side effects were so horrific I had no quality of life. I had hot flashes every twenty minutes or so – 24 hours a day. Every hot flash made me feel deathly ill. I refused to take Tamoxifen any longer and was put on Letrazole. The side effects of this drug were extreme joint paint. It became so debilitating I couldn’t lift my arms and had problems walking. Eight months was enough so back to Tamoxifen to finish out the five years of treatment.

    When I started treatment I was told I had breast cancer because of the hormone replacement therapy. I felt guilty and angry – what felt what I was going through was my fault because I wasn’t strong enough to handle the symptoms of menopause. It was a bitter pill to swallow. Made doubly so because six months before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my daughter was diagnosed with cervical cancer. All I could think was how could I look after her and deal with my cancer at the same time. I survived by focusing completely on my daughter. I nursed her, never leaving her side until she passed away at home in my arms.

    So here am I. This year I will be 79 years old. I am experiencing all kinds of things that no one tells you about. Menopause is part of the aging process. Time passe and other things happen to your body. Bladder control and getting up several times in the night to urinate. The lining of your vagina becomes thin – like the backs of your hands. Because of this you are prone to urinary infections. Intercourse can be painful. Taking Replens helps all this. I speak very openly to my friends and find many who didn’t realize there was help for aging problems. Generally because they are too embarrassed to discuss this with their doctor or professional care giver. The internet is a wonderful source of information too. Most important I maintain a positive, cheerful attitude . I refuse to think of myself as old. Just older.

  61. The menopause has EVERYTHING to do with your blog! 🙂 Every day your farm journal is filled with tales about life and changes – big and small – and seasons. Just like menopause.
    Best wishes.

  62. I’m well and truly in Cronesville, and although there’s not a lot to tell, I’d love to be part of the conversation. I think too that a positive off shoot of it is the opportunity the Fellowship women will have to talk, even briefly, of how it is to be ‘motherless’, for whatever reasons, the removal of so many uteruses….uteri?….often unnecessarily….and the collective grief around these experiences, and to be supported and heard by others who know and understand.

  63. Oh please count me in also. For my mother menopause was living hell. For me the biggest ball . . . . probably the best years of my life . . . . long, long ago!! Yes, I too went thru’ breast cancer some 11 years ago, well after the menopause . . . . did not allow that to make any difference either [and I refused Tamoxiphen and put myself onto Chinese Traditional Medicine instead . . . well you must realize how obstinate I can be by now! ] . . . . OK, back to bed with a mug of coffee ~ we have just lost our Summer Daylight Saving and I do not like that one little bit 🙂 !

      • EllaDee ~ why do you think I was on the computer at 7 am – it was so cloudy here and dark and I could not figure out immediately whether my bedroom clocks were changed 🙂 !! Remembered the Change, too stupid to remember whether I had [Yes!!] !!!

        • > Celi ~ As you are going to be one more busy lady – how long roughly – page, two, less with all those who have promised to be ‘in’? ‘Humorous’ or ‘real’, just an episode or ‘story from my viewpoint’?

  64. I love this idea! I hope I can work on something to contribute. I want to share my experiences in case it helps some who come after.

  65. Oh, Celi. This is a book I wish I had in my hands right now. Wait! I do! I’ll spend some time this evening reading through the comments. I’ve read through your comments before and know there are many wise people visiting you on the farmy.

    This past December was one year since I had my last period. My periods were horrific for the last ten years because I had fibroids and the only option offered to me was a hysterectomy which I refused after doing a lot of research. (Would you belief one doctor told me they would turn cancerous? That’s a flat out lie. Recent studies show that women who have had hysterectomies have shorter lives by 5-10 years. Even after menopause, those reproductive organs serve a purpose.) There are better treatments for fibroids now, but they were not yet thought of or were experimental during the time period when I could have used them.

    My mother had a hysterectomy when she was in her 40’s. It was the done thing in those days. After having five children, the doc told she’d be better off yanking everything out. That way, he said, she wouldn’t have to worry about ovarian or uterine cancer as she aged. I never got the time or chance to ask her if she experienced any kind of menopausal symptoms. By the time I was starting to go through it, Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. I guess she could have kept her uterus and ovaries after all (although, after having five children and adhering to Catholic principles, it was probably a relief to her not to have to deal with the possibility of pregnancy again). My mother died in 2009, three years before I officially became menopausal, and the one time I did ask her about it, she shooed away the question and said she didn’t experience any problems at all.

    I’ve had hot flashes on and off for over ten years, but in December of 2012, after my last bleeding time, the hot flashes turned nuclear. I am positive that one day I will spontaneously combust. My husband will come home from work one day and find nothing remaining of me except soot on the ceiling and ashes on the floor. For a few weeks last year, the hot flashes were accompanied by waves of extreme anxiety. I worked hard to not resort to pharmaceuticals. I know too much about them from being married to a pharmacologist and from my years working in a pharmacy. (That said, I know that sometimes we all need a little help, and if I had to, if all else failed, I would get a prescription for something that would assist me through the worst of the anxiety. I also know that for some, medication is a godsend so I most certainly don’t judge or begrudge the use of drugs when necessary.) I got up early and established a morning routine of yoga, meditation, exercise (cardio to get those endorphins flowing), walks outside, reading (to learn, to be inspired, to distract myself from myself), and writing in my journal. I ate healthful, nourishing, nurturing foods. For me, that meant being mostly vegetarian. I do eat some soy, but only the fermented varieties (tofu, tempeh, miso). It worked. Then I failed to maintain it these past few months so I’m back around to having some anxiety with my hot flashes. That means I need to get back on track.

    Insomnia has become an almost-constant, partially because of the hot flashes. They are at their worst at night. Between 1:00 and 4:00 AM, I hot flash and can’t sleep. I have stopped worrying about it. Every third night or so, I’ll be exhausted enough to sleep well. I consider it a blessing. The nights I am awake have become useful in helping me catch up on my reading (books, magazines, nothing online).

    There is so much more, but this is already a lengthy comment. Thank you, Celi. I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend with some older female friends who were wonderfully supportive, and able to give me advice on what I’m experiencing. Better yet, they reassured me that this is normal. Just hearing that was reassuring.

  66. Another fantastic idea of yours, Miss C! I would love to contribute, so will think about it and email you something. I time my beginning of the menopause to my diagnosis of breast cancer, so for me it is all tied up with hormone therapy.
    BTW, I love your new little pig. She is such a cutie!

  67. Dear Celi, what a wonderful idea. I’ve lurked and loved your daily writings but never quite got up the courage to comment! My Mum died before I had my baby, who is now 12. I’m 50 and in menopause. It’s too late and I’m too tired to write more, other than count me in, please. x

  68. I most definitely will participate! I’m 61 and haven’t had a period for 15 yrs and it has not been kind to me. Like MMehaffey the libido faded away to nothing and while I feel sorry for my dear husband I’m too tired to care because menopause has destroyed my ability to get a full, restful night’s sleep. While not horrific it has not been easy and I still have periodic hot flashes and at least one night sweat every night. I tried to avoid pharmaceutical help for a long time but finally had to go to an antidepressant lest someone in this house ended up dead!. I will await your email instructions, sherryw@kmoraine.com.

  69. Looks like you’ve struck a chord with a lot of women Celia. When I had a hysterectomy at 45, the ‘treatment’ at the time was to take Premarin, a synthetic hormone made with mare’s urine. After reading about “The Women’s Health Initiative study” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Postmenopausal_hormones_Hormone_therapy.htm) that was cut short due to a 50% increase in heart attack and increase in breast cancer in women taking these synthetic drugs, I decided to stop the Premarin. Who knows why but it could be the synthetic drugs – about 87% of the components never leave your body. In any case, after stopping the prescription my body became a kiln with a faulty thermostat. I couldn’t concentrate on anything for more than 10 minutes although I don’t remember (or choose to forget) having any mood swings (my husband may disagree). I used to sleep with a pile of cotton T shirts beside me at night because the sheets would soak through if I slept naked.
    Many years later I ran across a doctor who had studied menopause and prescribed a bio-identical, specially compounded cream that you apply to the inside of your arms once a day. Since it’s natural and bio-identical 100% of the components are flushed from your body within 24 hours. It certainly took care of the blistering hot flashes. That said, I have many friends who breezed through menopause without a problem. I guess it’s a lot like pregnancy – some women spend 2 days in labor and others drop them in the car on the way to the hospital. Everyone’s different.
    Some men may be brave enough to deal with menopause but I’ve found that most in my generation are very embarrassed if the subject comes up. I have a friend who is extremely conservative, okay – he’s very uptight – ask me why I was driving around in the dead of winter with my windows down and the sunroof open in below zero weather. Not even thinking that it might make him uncomfortable, I told him “Two things: 1. I have a 120 lb. Bernese Mountain Dog in the back who’s farting up a storm and 2) I’ve got hot flashes from hell”. Now that I think of it, we usually just talk about the weather when I run into him.
    Diane

  70. I share your pain Celi – my sweet 45 yr. old Mom died when I was a 22 year old new mother. I am the little sister.
    Amazingly, Mom and I were just discussing menopause. But I’ve lived my adult life without Mom. I’m grateful to have 2 older Sisters who have been wonderful in answering any questions I had.
    I would be honoured to contribute to your ‘letters to Sis’…….

  71. No secrets too dark for the Fellowship! And certainly, in this day and age there should be no shyness about (let alone taboo against) talking about menopause, any more than we should fear discussing colon or prostate or breast cancer, mental illness, alcoholism, divorce, physical disability, or any other aspect of real life that affects so many of us on a constant basis. I’ll put up a post about Adventures in Menopause, yes indeedy. Soon, and I’ll give you the link as soon as I do. What a great idea and gift to your sweet sister. xoxo!
    Kath

  72. What a fantastic idea Celi
    I am looking forward to reading the final masterpiece, although the whole thing is a bit of a mystery to me so I cannot contribute. 😉

  73. Not sure I have anything to add, really, it went fairly easily for me without a lot of agony. But I don’t want to be left out…
    Actually, I’m feeling a lot of connection with all the others whose moms had a hysterectomy, and the ones whose moms have passed. That’s a tough aspect of the whole thing. My mom had “hot flashes til I thought I’d die” after her hysterectomy, which was when I was too young to know about it. And she was gone before I went through it.
    I got by with progesterone cream, evening primrose oil, and a lot of the other usual supplements (C, E, Fish oil, etc.etc.) I take a ton of supplements because of arthritis, the menopause thing even though I’m technically through it, and two brothers who have MS (I don’t have it). My chiro told me to use the progesterone cream for three weeks at a time and give it a week break, then start again, just like a cycle.
    But I admit I never had night sweats or flashes that were super-disruptive.
    None of my aunts on either side had a natural menopause, either.
    I’ll be glad to have something to give my daughters.

  74. Hey Celi .. I’m more than happy to share my experiences – I would be delighted. I only wish I had known a ‘wee’ bit more about it before it arrived unannounced! what a journey it has been. 🙂

  75. Came in very late on this… I am 57 and 7 years down the line. My mother entered menopause about the same time as I hit puberty, I drew the short straw and was sent off to a convent boarding school. My full biology and sex education was handled by the nuns from thereon. My mother died when I was 30 from Altzheimers, so the subject of menopause never came up. I married at 38 and was divorced just after 40, so never had children. I had my last period just after my 50th and was totally relieved and liberated. I had a very busy career, stressful at times, so it was easy to blame headaches, mood swings and hot flushes on the current stress level related to work. Insomnia didn’t really hassle me either, I would just get up and read or do something else. It was at this stage that I stopped eating meat and lived mostly on raw fruit and vegetables, but my craving for bread increased dramatically. I developed psoriasis which was very difficult to control, but once I stopped work at 55 and readjusted my diet has mostly cleared up. I never took any hrt or even natural therapies. Now to find a way to get rid of this extra tummy flab that just won’t move. Laura

  76. Wonderful idea – am only jsut getting there myself and my mother and grandmother both had hysterectomies very young and don’t have any strong memories other than of just having to “get on with it” so I shall read with great interest!

  77. I’d love to contribute. I see people telling their stories here in the comments. Is that what you want? Or are we doing this off-line? Just want to give you what you want.

    • I will send you an email, with the details and you can send me something back when you are ready. We can take our time that way..Thank you! c

  78. My mother had cancer when she was 40 and I was 10. The chemotherapy and radiation treatments sent her into a chemically-induced early menopause. At her age it never wore back off as it sometimes will with younger cancer patients. She had hot flashes, headaches, and spent a lot of time in bed with cold compresses. She was very clear on sharing what was happening to her. My mother had no shame, kept nothing hidden when it came to the workings of her body. It was not something she ever wanted us to be afraid of. Hormone replacement was not common back then so she never had anything to really ease her symptoms. It took her five years to go through it, but once she was, she found life after to be such a relief.

    My own experience was quite different. I had a hysterectomy at age 33 after suffering for more than 15 years with endometriosis and multiple miscarriages and periods that could last up to 8 weeks with heavy bleeding and clots. I went into immediate menopause. With the hormone therapy I went on, I didn’t exhibit symptoms for the first two years. What I experienced was freedom. Freedom from fear of accidentally getting pregnant and suffering another miscarriage, freedom to pack for a vacation and not have to worry about packing supplies because my periods always came randomly, freedom to wear white whenever the heck I wanted and to never have to take birth control pills again to try to keep my system on track. I did not have to plan my life around it anymore. It was a glorious feeling. It still is 12 years later.

    After I was weaned off the hormone therapy, I did have the occasional hot flash that would last for several hours and some irritable moments, but mine were not too bad compared to what I’d seen with my mother. It was a gradual tapering process and it lead to a rather easy change. I’ve been symptom free of menopause for many years now and my life is so much easier now than when I was a slave to my periods.

    My daughter was almost 7 when this began and I was always open with her about the process. We have talked about it a lot as she has grown up and gone through puberty. She knows that one day she will have menopause and I have explained to her it probably will be different from mine and different from my mother’s experience, since neither came naturally, but that there are books to read now on the subject. Like with everything else, information is at her fingertips at the library and online. She was taught how to avail herself of this information at a young age. The one thing I have always wanted for my children is that they never are in the dark about anything their bodies do and they can always ask me or their father about anything. I will tell them what I know and point them in the right direction of finding out more. Knowledge is the only way our children can arm themselves, even if it is for something that may not happen to them for many years to come.

    Menopause should come out of the dark for everyone.

  79. I’ll tell you here, in your comments section, because it’s simple for me. Perhaps because I haven’t hit menopause myself yet I’m still a bit naive, but I’ve watched my mother and sister go through it. For my mother, menopause cured the monthly migraines I watched her suffer during her periods for my whole life, and for my sister it saved her life. She had uterine cancer, and a full hysterectomy was the first step in what was a long and difficult battle. Yes, she had hot flashes, and got moody sometimes… But it was a tiny price to pay. I don’t see menopause as a thing to hush up, or dread. It’s a change from one phase of life to another, just like when we all first got our periods as early teens.
    In some ways I see menopause as freedom. I’ve had my children, I’m finished with all that junk in my trunk. It’s only use now is to torture me with monthly bleeding and the omnipresent fear of the uterine cancer that plagued my sister. Frankly, I can’t wait for menopause to take all of that away.
    The fear, dread, or shame that some menopausal women feel, I think (of course I’m no expert…), is a hold over from a time when menopause meant not just that you are no longer fertile, but that you had nothing left to give to society, and therefore nothing to do but wait to die. This is not today. We are women, we are strong, we outlive our male counterparts, and at some point we stop having periods.
    And that’s all there is to that.

  80. I think its a great idea and I would love to contribute to your “letter to my sister”. I went through menopause over ten years ago, (now in my late 60’s) with headaches being the only thing I suffered from. I knew very little about it as my mother was killed in a road accident when I was 2 and my very Victorian grandmother brought me up until I was eleven and even when my periods first started she could not talk about it. Back in those days, in the 50’s, the internet would have been such a blessing. I was an only child and my dear old Dad would not have known about such things. Joy Email me at joyevelynwagner@gmail.com

  81. P.S. Daylight saving has finished – YAY (sorry Eha and Ella Dee) 🙂

  82. My mother died at 57, when I was 27. But she had had a full hysterectomy when I was about 2. I can talk about how her doctors failed her in dealing with a lack of hormones at such a young age, but talking about ‘the change’ wasn’t an option. My only sister is three years older, but our anatomy isn’t similar so I don’t know if she’ll be of help. I want to know what everyone else has experienced, too.

  83. Only recently discovered your exquisite heartfelt words and images, Celi. Love to contribute and weigh in on both the darkness and the light that marks the journey to cronehood.

  84. Hi Celi, This is a brilliant idea. I wrote a book about this back in 2000 and early did collaborative art projects and a small book called Croneologies about women going through menopause. It’s a powerful theme. I’d be happy to contribute when I come into some clear space – very busy right now with a big project!

  85. OK. Here I am late to the party again. What a good idea. Will think and email later. My mom rarely said anything to me. (She had long long heavy last period and finally no choice but a hysterectomy)
    But I will say, menopause , while annoying and irritating( and stupid gaining weight if you even look at food) , wasn’t such a big deal. (Women should have their thyroid levels checked during this time – problems there will make everything worse.) Exercise, veggies, sunlight and fresh air are critical.
    It’s kinda like a big cliff everyone shivers and warns about – and you fretting while standing on the edge – worrying constantly when it’s going to fall out from under you – how terrible it’s going to be – until one day you realize you stepped off that cliff long time ago and have been happily soaring in clear blue.
    Will ponder this further, but like I say, I can’t add much..except cotton and natural fibers!

  86. Count me in, anything that helps people understand what we women have to go through is a good thing. I have just started down the menopause road and whilst some of the symptoms are far from pleasant I for one am happy to be able to experience them as this may not have been the case,
    Love the little pig. I want one!!!!

  87. I’m past menopause and had few symptoms , having had a hysterectomy at 34. The fifties was a great decade for me. I have a story and will share. This is a wonderful idea.

  88. I’m amazed how many people went through the same experience I did. I.e., a mom who had a hysterectomy around 40. Seems they were handing them out like candy back then. My account is “in the e-mail”…What a GREAT collection of anecdotes. Great great great!!!

    • Yes, already we can see some parallels that deserve a closer look.. this is going to be a priceless collection.. c

  89. I kind-of lack the equipment or experience to do any of the writing, but I think the result would be of considerable value to men as well. They don’t really know all that much about it.
    Oh, and if you need an editing/layout consultant …

  90. As always C, you are full of brilliant ideas!
    My mom and her sister have both been through menopause, my mom at 50 and my aunt at about 55. My mom breezed through it and never had a moments problems with it – here’s hoping I can follow in mom’s footsteps, although I do have the complication of having a bicornuate unicollis uteris – in English, I don’t have a uterus I have two and sadly not having had any children, I am not sure what to expect with the upside hormones. My aunt took a bit longer to get through her menopause but also didn’t battle terribly with anything either. I don’t remember mom or my aunt ever mentioning anything, not even a night sweat. Both mom and aunt never took any hormones or the like either, except for a homoeopathic cream of sorts. I will chat with mom and get back to you with more information.
    Have a beautiful day C.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  91. Just found your blog about a month ago and am in love with it. Your writing and photography can sometimes take my breath away.

    Would also love to contribute! I will be turning 55 in August and since December 2013, have now gone a full year without my period. Hurray!!! Am single, never had children, never really felt the need, so the whole “I’m no longer a woman” feeling has never been felt by me. I feel free! Oh, and everyone gets so worked up worrying about the symptoms (hot flashes, irritability, insomnia, etc), but fail to realize that (I believe) only 50% of women even experience ANY menopausal symptoms and of that 50%, many are minor. Myself, my face would flush every once in a while (maybe once every couple of months) and was hot to the touch and would last a half hour to an hour. While uncomfortable, it really was no big deal. I’m certainly not diminishing others’ symptoms as I know a few friends that between hot flashes and insomnia, felt pretty miserable. Just saying it may not ever happen to you so why worry beforehand!

  92. Pingback: menopause memories - zazamataz.com

  93. I am almost 49 and in the midst of all the aging fun. Tell your sister there is more to it than hot flashes and night sweats. There is insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations and so much more. But…it really is no big deal. This too shall pass and in the meantime there are fewer cramps, less PMS and less money spent on tampons. It all evens out and really, we can’t avoid it so just go with the flow, or away from the flow. Ha!

  94. Count me in, hon:) I sent you my thoughts by email last night, let me know if you’ve got them.. sorry for the length, I do ramble on sometimes:) Feel free to “cut and paste” what you need.. if you need.. This is a great idea!
    xx

  95. It has everything to do with the farmy; it’s all part and parcel of the cycles of life. Thank you to all the brave and generous voices who share their experiences. I’m thinking of Eve Ensler’s work too. 🙂

  96. I am seriously behind in my reading, Celi, but I want to say that menopause was easy for me. The only tip I got from a doctor or nurse practitioner was that estrogen is stored in fat so menopause can be easier on women who weigh a little more than the very thin women our culture admires. She said if I weighed ten pounds extra I would have an easier time. She was right. I didn’t actually have to gain weight because I tend to be a little plump. I had a few night sweats, often brought on by eating chocolate or drinking coffee, but I never had a hot flash, mood swings, or any of the other things they like to terrify you with. I don’t miss washing out my underwear or having to change the sheets all of the time or having to shell out money for supplies. I was a little worried that sex would feel odd after menopause, but when I got around to meeting Johnny everything was fine. My some total of experience: no big deal, nothing to worry about (but it is not the same for other women necessarily — my thin Mom had it rough). I also never took artificial hormones aka birth control pills — that may have helped — not taking them, I mean.

  97. Hi Celi, I would love to be a part of this conversation.
    Warmly,
    Diane

  98. Pingback: Going Through ‘The Change’–May 20, 2014 | Life on a Colorado Farm

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