How to explain PeriMenopause to Men

How to explain PeriMenopause to Men

A reader asked: What advice do you have for talking to men about (peri-) menopause? Husbands, bosses, docs? First I make sure they know all friction is from them and not me. The men in my life have suddenly all become annoying, obtuse and irritating, yet somehow they weren’t just a few years ago. Also, they are generating so much heat it is making me sweat. On top of that, my husband must be doing something different in his sleep, because I am suddenly awake all night – it must be his fault. What I can’t figure out is how this started happening. But if I think about your question, I suppose I could admit that lots of the changes are likely being generated by my own entry into the stage of peri-menopause. I would certainly put different levels of information in front of different guys in my sphere. What to tell a male Doctor: I wouldn’t assume he is going to put the pieces together all on his own. Maybe be prepared with a list of all the bits and concerns. I think we ladies are so used to carrying on and coping that we will eliminate things from the list so we don’t sound like whiners. Really, withholding some “symptoms” makes it harder for Doctor Feelgood to help. Also, if your doctor says “you are too young for early menopause symptoms” or in any way dismisses your concerns, get a new doctor. What to tell your husband: This is a tough one. If he is your primary longer term relationship, it is likely he fell in love with nubile flexible silky you. He now has bitchy, flaky, sweaty and droopy you to  contend with. The changes are jarring enough for we gals, so how do we verbalize to our love partners that we are transitioning into our mothers before their very eyes? Try to explain as best you can what is actually causing the changes. Use car allegories, that helps. If you are scared by what is happening, isolating him from your journey can drive a wedge that he won’t know how to overcome . He probably doesn’t need the details of some of it. However, he should understand if you are on day 6 of sleeplessness, night hot flashes resulting in the inability to remember complicated concepts like “pass me the sugar” he should stand clear. Not the time to be demanding or do something punishable by death like leave his socks on the floor. Teach him early how to support you. Men like simple rules so give him one or two acceptable coping mechanisms that he can use as his “go to” when you are menopausing all over the place...
Hugging strangers – why is it so wrong?

Hugging strangers – why is it so wrong?

Most of us go through life pretty oblivious to other people. We don’t usually see their happiness, and we are pretty good at ignoring even the most obvious pain.  I find watching people interesting, and if you really pay attention it is easy to tell what they have going on. I love watching people, but I have to admit to an ongoing impulse which I must constantly manage. I want to hug people. It isn’t appropriate, I know that. But  I just want to hug when I see: A young man walking down the street carrying flowers (even better if he looks nervous) A big man crying into his daughter’s hair when he greets her at the airport Anybody carrying a big wrapped gift trying not to smile out loud A woman crying in her car at a stop light A couple trying to play it cool when they are clearly into each other An uncomfortable teenage boy in a new suit complete with scratchy collar Anybody with a memorial name tattooed with their grief An elderly man holding the door open for me And yet it would seem odd to reach out, to touch these people and tell them I see them. I do see them, and think about them again and again. I keep them with me and smile when I think of their touch on my heart. So far I have managed not to hug anybody randomly. It could still happen. (Hey… did this post make you think? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment) Also find me on Blunt Moms and Huffington...
The difference between the strength of men and women

The difference between the strength of men and women

We all have a picture in our head of a side-show strongman. He looks like a hairless gorilla with huge pecs and arms. (Incidentally, the strongman in my head is also wearing a tight red wrestler onesie and has a huge package out front that says “Hello Baby” when I stare at it. That is a whole other article). We think of strong men lifting heavy things, carrying guns, working night shifts and breaking rock in the hot sun. Those are the traditional images of strength. Women’s strength is more familiarly rooted in the act of silent forbearance. The expected strength of bearing up under widowhood and often the tolerance of a bad situation makes people say “She is so strong”. I don’t know, but I think in all of human history that by now we could come up with something a little more reflective of what it really means to be strong.Finding the strength to get through life is so much more complex than carrying heavy things, working night shift or burying your husband and then keeping up with the rent. Some might say that true strength is making an appointment with the gynaecologist and showing up. Life calls upon us all to be strong through challenging times, tragedy or illness. It does so whether we are rich or poor, smart or stupid, male or female. There are differences however, by gender, in how we are viewed. A woman is called upon to have strength in dichotomous ways.  We are expected to be peaceful and supporting in the face of our obligations and burdens. We also have to stand up like big Mama bears on our back legs when our cubs are threatened. We juggle our lives, our relationships, our ambitions and the complex feelings about our decisions. Sometimes our kids are born with conditions that sideline our lives and put us on the periphery of society. Others of us are dealing with poverty, addiction, abuse and the long reaching and relentless aftershocks of rape. No matter what our burden, we aren’t expected to punch walls and get into bar fights. That would read that we are unstable. Men, for their part, have this punishing code of conduct that stifles the words for how they feel, and requires a show of brute force to establish their alpha male position. They must posture, have a high income and a huge dick to be considered in the running for top dog on the food chain. Modern society is slowly changing from this mythology, and the men that still follow that credo now have a name. We call them “douchebag”. When you really look at what makes men tick you find some interesting stuff right below the surface. For instance, I was surprised...
I just found out I am pregnant….

I just found out I am pregnant….

And I have to tell my boss I will be going on maternity leave. I am super nervous about it and I don’t know how he will react. Magnolia says: You should know that as soon as you open your mouth about being “with child” there will be one actual conversation going on out loud,  and a whole other one under the surface. This is how it might play out:  First thing he will do is glance at your torso. As a male, he is checking both to see if the titty fairy has come, and to see if he can ascertain how far along you might be. Then his mind will very quickly start running through what he thinks your job is,  and what he will have to get other people to do while you are gone. Even as he is congratulating you on your impending bundle of joy, he will be trying to get a bead on whether or not you will come back after your leave. He will quickly glance again at your chest, and then ask some inane questions about your health and baby naming. This could be a “buying time” mechanism, or it might be a fishing expedition to see if he can figure out your plans. While you are rattling on nervously about your morning sickness, the boss will be running through the employer/employee workplace policy in his head to see if it is ok to ask you when you are due and how long you plan to work. You see, it is this way pregger girl, everybody is about 1/100th as happy about your reproduction as you are. They probably genuinely like you, and if you aren’t a bottom feeder, they might even be supportive of your decision to reproduce. What they need to deal with is their feelings about you being gone for whatever maternity leave time there is, and potentially having to hold a job for you. They will be bitter about having to cover your work, or trying to break in and train a temp who knows nothing. If everybody is genuinely and truly excited for you, the chances are you work at Avon Head office, or you are not popular. A reaction of nbridled joy equals: “we are happy to see your waddly bum out the door”. If people are a little freaked, then take it as a compliment – you are valued. You can however lessen the impact to yourself and others, while paving the way to come back if you choose to. Here are some tips: If you aren’t busy barfing through your mid morning break, try to make a point to others about how you are going to...