This is a guest blog by Holly Osterman of menopausechitchat.com
At one point in Gone with the Wind, Scarlett O’Hara proclaimed, “Death, taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them.” Scarlett obviously hadn’t experienced her first hot flash yet. Or gained so much weight that she burst out of her corset.
There’s never a convenient time for menopause. You just can’t be sure when or where it’s going to strike. But when it does, you may find yourself stuck in some awkward—and embarrassing—moments.
My first embarrassing menopause moment occurred a handful of years ago during a visit with my gynecologist. I’d spent way too much time “self-diagnosing” my symptoms and was convinced that something was terribly wrong. I demanded tests. Lots of them. My doctor finally sat me down, looked me in the eyes and said “Holly, it’s perimenopause. And no, it’s not fatal.”
I was relieved, but a little confused. I was in my late thirties and menopause wasn’t even on my radar. Why didn’t my older friends pull me aside and tell me about the anxiety and mood swings? They were in on the big secret, right? Well, they didn’t. Implying a woman is in menopause can be about as popular as mistaking them for being pregnant. It’s never a good idea.
My husband even gets to share in many of my moments. I can see the look on his face when I’m about to explode into a crying, ranting, blubbering mess. He never knows what’s going to set me off. He avoids eye contact and tries to leave the room with as little movement as possible. I know he understands somewhere deep down, but it’s still embarrassing. Even I don’t recognize myself sometimes.
But my best moments are usually on public display. Crying in the grocery store because they no longer carry my favorite ice cream. Or asking my bank to count the money in the ATM because I insisted the cash machine forgot to give me a twenty. All along it was in my wallet. I actually thought about switching banks. At least my picture’s not up in the lobby.
For the most part though, I’m relatively harmless. The embarrassing moments are fewer and farther between. Or maybe I just don’t remember.
Holly Osterman is the founder of Menopause ChitChat and blogs regularly about the journey through menopause. She also hosts a menopause forum, where women can share their stories, ask questions, and connect with other women.