Perimenopause and Menopause – Ladies Night

Yes, today’s books are about women … but men, please don’t go! (I say this because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that menopause vies with tampons to top the list of “Ten Things Men Will Avoid at All Costs.” Am I right, or am I right? I know, right?)

Did you ever see the YouTube video of men seeing tampons in unexpected places? It’s totally scripted, silly and also a riot. Obviously, men don’t actually squeal and jump on chairs to get away from a tampon. But I think many are perplexed and embarrassed to admit they just don’t get how women work. Videos like this one are amusing and for the most part, benign… but… I might as well accept that men won’t read this post. I guess it’s Ladies Night.

Reminds me of a story, of course (doesn’t everything?) about my late ex-husband and the therapist we visited while trying to sort out our marriage. While in the office, we talked about VERY important topics, including a severe lack of communication and infidelity, and yet, he pops up with this:

Him: “Once a month, I have to look at that box of her personal items. Why can’t she keep it all hidden away?”

Me: “You mean, like in the cupboard across the room? It’s much easier for me to have it next to the toilet. Please don’t make me explain why.”

There was silence before the therapist said: “Well, it bothers him, so why don’t you do this favor and keep that stuff in a place where he can’t see it. Okay?”

Me, thinking to myself but not saying out loud: “You mean like inside my body, where it ultimately goes anyway? Why don’t I just do that? By the way, I feel kinda ganged up on, but I digress.” Note: See, I even digress in my head!

Actually me: “I don’t understand. It’s a natural function of my body and life, as it is with all women. We share a bathroom where he keeps his disgusting toothbrush that he never replaces and a hairbrush full of gunky gel that I don’t want to see. Seriously? This is your hill to die on?”

They both looked at me like I had two heads. From there on out, I kept my “private items” hidden away. You know, to save my marriage. Note: We divorced.

Ahem.

Maybe if we treated periods, perimenopause and menopause like farting, which most men find completely natural (if not hilarious) we’d have a chance of normalizing the whole thing. Ugh.

So, that’s why I say… men, hang around. Do you want to know what the women in your life are going through? Then these books are enough to get the job done.

And women, these books are simply fabulous!

Before the Change by Ann Louise Gittleman is the best book I’ve ever read on the subject. I’ve had it for years, recommended it to at least a dozen women and it became a Perimenopause Bible for me. Heck, I’d never even heard of perimenopause before I found the book. PS: So, what is perimenopause? It’s the change before the change.

The Wisdom of Menopause by Dr. Christine Northrup is what I consider to be the best-ever book about menopause, which is why I’ve paired it with Before the Change. Not that there aren’t plenty of other excellent books (anything by Gail Sheehy comes to mind) but I think Northrup is the top of the heap.

As someone who has made it to the other side, I can only say that books like these two kept me from pulling my hair out – what was left of it, anyway (see page 45 in Before the Change and page 360 in The Wisdom of Menopause. Yep, thinning hair is a thing.).

While I’ve handled this topic somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it really is serious and life-changing. These books will be invaluable. They are the best of the best. Get them before you need them… read them… you will be glad you did!

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