Published on February 11th, 2013 | by Karin Jenkins0
Men – Oh, Pause!
I was thinking about the day my mother took me aside and gave me the mother/daughter talk. You know what talk I am referring to – THE talk.
I was very young and all I really took from that first woman to woman conversation was how totally unfair girls had it in comparison to boys. We had to wear a bra and boys didn’t? What? A training bra? To train what?
I was confused then and I am still confused now. Not about bras so much, but other man /woman issues through the years. In our forties and fifties we have a whole new chapter in our lives to gear up for.
Now it is the mid-life crisis vs. menopause stage. Men go through a mid-life crisis. Women go through menopause. I am not saying women can’t have a mid-life crisis and men don’t go through some changes, but the scale seems to weigh in heavy on the female side of unfairness.
I think men actually look forward to the mid-life crisis stage. It gives them a sort of “permission” to do, try, buy or wear anything they were afraid of before. As they age, their fine lines and wrinkles make them look more distinguished. Their graying hair is referred to as suave and sexy.
On the other hand, we get hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, depression, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, hair loss (except Bonus – it now grows on our face!), memory lapses, bloating, weight gain, headaches, sleep disorders, joint pain and digestive problems, just to mention a few symptoms! I know what you are thinking – WHERE CAN I SIGN UP?
Why can’t we share this time in our lives more evenly with men? I will go buy a new sports car and my husband can take on the hot flashes and night sweats. Or we can do it in shifts – I’ll take the hot flashes and he can take the night sweats. Give me a compromise!
In the past 31 years of marriage and a total of 40 years together as a couple, my husband David and I have shown each other how much we love each other over and over again, and in more ways than I can count.
We have a great marriage and we treasure each other and don’t take one moment of our precious time together for granted. However, David and I had no clue what this past summer would bring when my doctor took me off of my all-time favorite drug, Estrogen. My husband now refers to the summer of 2012 as the “Summer of Suck!”
For me, menopause was like “Pollyanna meets Sybil.” One minute I am as sweet as can be, deeply in love with my Prince Charming, and the next minute I am hysterical and packing my bags.
It’s like the invasion of the body snatchers. I could hear myself saying words, but had no control over what was falling out of my mouth or what kind of emotions were going through my head. I was on a major emotional roller coaster and my poor husband was just hanging on for the ride of his life.
I know my column is entitled “Finding Beauty,” but sometimes – beauty doesn’t always look pretty. True beauty comes from within. The beauty I found through this experience in my life came in many disguises.
I saw beauty in my husband’s eyes as he tried to make me happy or more comfortable; the way he would take his coat off or put it on without saying a word as I was “flashing” in the car or our home. The way he sleeps with his head under the covers every time I burst into flames and have every fan we own blowing on our bed during the night.
I saw beauty from other generations as I thought about my mom, my mother-in-law, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and other special women in my life go through this process.
I think I get it now. Maybe that’s my compromise. I now belong to a very special group of women. It’s a club that won’t let just anyone join. You have to earn your place with the test of time and you have to be a woman.
Yes, menopause is a very rough period in a woman’s life, but ladies, please try to give your husbands a little break, because it really is a hard time for them, too. It is a scary, insecure time for both partners. Believe me, when it is finally over or at least the dust begins to settle, and the house is still standing, you will be more in love with each other than you ever thought possible.
You will have a deeper appreciation for the man you married, realizing how kind, compassionate, patient and how truly in love with you he is even at your very craziest moments. He will thank God every day that “Menopause Woman” is temporary, and he will fall in love with you all over again.
This Valentine’s Day I feel compelled to wish my husband and every other couple out there an extra special Valentine’s Day if they have survived or are on the threshold of the dreaded menopause/mid-life crisis stage of their lives and relationships.
I am looking forward to my 40th Valentine’s Day this month with my sweetheart – my best friend. Happy Valentine’s Day, David Jenkins. I love you!